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Contemplative Prayer by Thomas Merton
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Contemplative Prayer (1969)

by Thomas Merton

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Read from March 13 to April 03, 2014, read count: 1

There are concepts in this book that can be used by people in any tradition. It's not my favorite of the book of Thomas Merton which I've read, but I'm glad I read it. I'll probably re-read it later, after reading some of his earlier stuff. I think this is one of his latter works. ( )
  homericgeek | Apr 14, 2014 |
Merton is one godly man. I’ve read many books on prayer that have left a vague aftertaste of unlived academia. Contemplative Prayer, on the other hand, is a book of personal experience informed by a brilliant mind.

This is not a book for beginners. It would have been almost worthless to me back in Seminary when I was more interested in being correct than communicating with God. Even now, there were many times during Contemplative Prayer where I felt like I’m just beginning my journey with God in prayer. In God, there are always deeper places to journey.

One of the highlights of this book was his recurring use of St. John of the Cross’ Dark Night. Merton constantly reminds us that real contemplation is not focused on the effects of prayer. There are times in prayer when we feel no divine consolations. Many times contemplation is a journey through the desert.

If you’re serious about and committed to a life-long journey of contemplative prayer, Merton’s a wise and reliable spiritual adviser. ( )
  StephenBarkley | Jul 4, 2011 |
This little gem of a book, newly issued with a foreword from the great Vietnamese Zen teacher Thich Nhat Hanh (who knew Merton in the 1960s) beautifully distills Merton's own reading and long experience with contemplation. Written close to the end of Merton's life, this book is not so much a "how to" guide as it is a kind of contemplation of contemplation. Immersed in the "negative theology" of St. John of the Cross and others--and influenced by his deep reading in Zen--Merton here stresses that in meditation "we should not look for a 'method' or 'system,' but cultivate an 'attitude,' an 'outlook': faith, openness, attention, reverence, expectation, supplication, trust, joy." God is found in the desert of surrender: this means giving up any expectation for a particular message and "waiting on the Word of God in silence," knowing that any answer will be "his silence itself suddenly, inexplicably revealing itself to him as a word of great power, full of the voice of God." --Doug Thorpe ( )
1 vote LTW | Sep 1, 2006 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Thomas Mertonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Nhất Hạnh, ThíchIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
He who walks in darkness, to whom no light appears, let him trust in the name of Yahweh, let him rely upon his God. - Isaiah 50:10
I will give them a heart to understand that I am Yahweh, and they shall be my people and I will be their God when they return to me with all their heart. - Jeremiah 24:7
Dedication
First words
I first met Thomas Merton in 1966. It is hard to describe his face in words, to write down exactly what he was like. He was filled with human warmth. (From Intro by Thich Nhat Hanh, Duras, France, December, 1995)
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It is precisely the function of meditation, in the sense in which we speak of it here, to bring us to this attitude of awareness and receptivity. It also gives us strength and hope, along with a deep awareness of the value of interior silence in which the mystery of God's love is made clear to us.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385092199, Paperback)

This little gem of a book, newly issued with a foreword from the great Vietnamese Zen teacher Thich Nhat Hanh (who knew Merton in the 1960s) beautifully distills Merton's own reading and long experience with contemplation. Written close to the end of Merton's life, this book is not so much a "how to" guide as it is a kind of contemplation of contemplation. Immersed in the "negative theology" of St. John of the Cross and others--and influenced by his deep reading in Zen--Merton here stresses that in meditation "we should not look for a 'method' or 'system,' but cultivate an 'attitude,' an 'outlook': faith, openness, attention, reverence, expectation, supplication, trust, joy." God is found in the desert of surrender: this means giving up any expectation for a particular message and "waiting on the Word of God in silence," knowing that any answer will be "his silence itself suddenly, inexplicably revealing itself to him as a word of great power, full of the voice of God." --Doug Thorpe

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:52:44 -0400)

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