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Learning to Love: Exploring Solitude and…
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Learning to Love: Exploring Solitude and Freedom (Merton, Thomas//Journal… (original 1997; edition 1997)

by Thomas Merton

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Having embraced a life of solitude in his own hermitage, Thomas Merton finds his faith tested beyond his imagination when a visit to the hospital leads to a clandestine affair of the heart. Jolted out of his comfortable routine, Merton is forced to reassess his need for love and his commitment to celibacy and the monastic vocation.This astonishing volume traces Merton's struggle to reconcile his unexpected love with his sacred vows while continuing to grapple with the burning social issues of the day - including racial conflicts, the war in Vietnam, and the Arab-Israeli conflict - visiting and corresponding with high-profile friends like Thich Nhat Hanh and Joan Baez, and further developing his writing career. Revealing Merton to be 'very human' in his chronicles of the ecstasy and torment of being in love, Learning to Love comes full circle as Merton recommits himself completely and more deeply to his vocation even as he recognizes 'my need for love, my loneliness, my inner division, the struggle in which solitude is at once a problem and a 'solution'. And perhaps not a perfect solution either' (11 May, 1967).… (more)
Member:an_eternalstudent
Title:Learning to Love: Exploring Solitude and Freedom (Merton, Thomas//Journal of Thomas Merton)
Authors:Thomas Merton
Info:Harper San Francisco (1997), Hardcover, 382 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:monasticism, monks, trappists

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Learning to Love: Exploring Solitude and Freedom (Merton, Thomas//Journal of Thomas Merton) by Thomas Merton (1997)

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The volume of Merton's diaries that dealt with his "love affair" with a young nurse, Margie Smith. By this point in the diaries, Merton has become a full time hermit. Moving further away from the obdient young novice of volume 2, Merton as always in full tonged battles with his Abbot James Fox,has been exploring eastern religions,trying to find the center which unites all. Then, he goes to a Louisville hospital to have back surgery,and falls deeply in love with a young nurse. Always honest with himself,Merton knows where this is heading, and knows, even in his early entries, that this will not end well for her. There is a sweet episode when Joan Baez arrives,and after Merton tells her about his new love, insists that they drive straight away to Loiuisville to go to her{they do not.}There is nothing salacious here,and Merton comes to grips with his poor treatment of woman in his early life{he had fathered a child in London, and mother and son had died during the blitz in WWII},and finds another side in himself. Interspersed within this is the usual Merton gold, the ability to see through modern problems for what they are{fleeting}, and come up with crystalline insights{his commenst on his prayer life while he is essentialy leading ,for him, a compromised life, are very interestin.] This is top flight Merton, now on the top step, cleansed and looking east,where on the horizon, is the next and last volume, and the Asian journey. Essential,non-sensational,always edifying. ( )
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Thomas Mertonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bochen, Christine M.Editormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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