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The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton
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The Seven Storey Mountain (1948)

by Thomas Merton

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A book of Thomas Merton's journey from being an agnostic to being a contemplative Trappist monk. Very deep philosophical passages, but well worth reading through. Almost makes you want to be a monk by the time you get to the end! ( )
  oldman | Apr 21, 2014 |
INDEX
  saintmarysaccden | Sep 5, 2013 |
I'm not a Catholic and knew nothing of Thomas Merton, but came across this book by following links of "customers who bought this, also bought..." and by reading Amazon reviews. I was not disappointed. Reading like a novel at times, this book is an autobiography of a faith. I was very impressed with the author's search for a faith, his many trials and searches in the wrong place, and his determination to find somthing "bigger than himself." This book written over 50 years ago is dated in ways by theology and politics that seem out of place now; however, the overall impact of Merton's search is well worth the effort to read. This book is for someone who is searching for a deep quiet faith -- one that is found through searching, reading, praying and worshiping quietly and individually.

This book is not in the same category of many popular Christian writings of this time. Thomas Merton's faith is one that was found in an ancient church and many ancient writings. It was a faith found through traditional liturgy and reading. I don't think Merton would have been comfortable in many of the modern churches (both Protestant or Catholic) that attempt to mold worship to meet cultural demands.

Thanks to all the reviewers who so aptly described this book and caused me to want to read it. I hope others will find it equally as inspiring. ( )
  maryreinert | Aug 17, 2013 |
This book is essentially Thomas Merton's autobiography of his early life through the time of his conversion to Catholicism and entry into a monastery. Aside from being an interesting story, there are a few additional insights to be gained from this book that make it extraordinary. For example, at the end of the book Merton talks about how vices can also be manifested in spiritual forms. It's through his own self reflection that he discovers how a person may display pride over spiritual accomplishments. While the spiritual versions of these sins are disguised as good, they're just as corrupting to the soul as the other forms. Insights like these make the book worth reading and throughout the book Merton also feels like someone worth knowing. ( )
  Neftzger | Aug 16, 2013 |
I was tremendously attracted by what is in this book, yet it is plain that Merton is a special character, with an innate bent to mysticism and his reactions have no objective validity for me. Yet seldom has a book stirred me so deeply, and, in fact, disturbed me. Unless something happens to me to make me very content, e.g., a girl, I have not finished my mental searchings. But I think it idle not to integrate psychology into Merton's story, and into all consideration of religious orders' differences. None I know of strike me as ideal. None strike the perfect balance between modernity and difficulty, between putting to best use their members and sanctifying them. I'd like to read psychoanalysis of the typical member of all the orders. Or I'd like to take a 'vocational' test to detrmine the one I was best suited for! Thus do I think, affected as I am by my reading. Reading has always affected me profoundly. On Feb 26, 1955. I finished the book and said: "An absorbing book, and really the story told is not an extraordinary one, but it fascinates all the same. I would like to read and understand St John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila, but I am sure an attempt to read them would leave me none the more enlightened. Merton was 26 when he became a Trappist, but he was reading the Breviary at the time, teaching at St. Bonaventure's, and long ago had tutored Latin, as well as knowing several other languages. Also it is plain to me that to be a Trappist requires a certain type mind and that the only thing about it that attracts me is the bizarre, the unueusal. Only fleeting pangs of enthusism for solitude, comparable to my thoughts about Ascension Island, could never sustain a life such as Trppist leads. Nothing as unusual as Cistercian life calls me, that's for sure. ( )
  Schmerguls | Jun 9, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Thomas Mertonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Evelyn WaughIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Giroux, RobertIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
"For I tell you that God is able of these stones to raise up children to Abraham."
CHRISTO
VERO
REGI


*****

English Translation:
"for Christ, the true king"

from phrase:
Ad te ergo nunc mihi sermo dirigitur, quisquis abrenuntians propriis voluntatibus, Domino Christo vero Regi militaturus oboedientiæ fortissima atque præclara arma sumis.

To thee, therefore, my speech is now directed, who, giving up thine own will, takest up the strong and most excellent arms of obedience, to do battle for Christ the Lord, the true King.
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On the last day of January 1915, under the sign of the Water Bearer, in a year of a great war, and down in the shadow of some French mountains on the borders of Spain, I came into the world.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0156010860, Paperback)

In 1941, a brilliant, good-looking young man decided to give up a promising literary career in New York to enter a monastery in Kentucky, from where he proceeded to become one of the most influential writers of this century. Talk about losing your life in order to find it. Thomas Merton's first book, The Seven Storey Mountain, describes his early doubts, his conversion to a Catholic faith of extreme certainty, and his decision to take life vows as a Trappist. Although his conversionary piety sometimes falls into sticky-sweet abstractions, Merton's autobiographical reflections are mostly wise, humble, and concrete. The best reason to read The Seven Storey Mountain, however, may be the one Merton provided in his introduction to its Japanese translation: "I seek to speak to you, in some way, as your own self. Who can tell what this may mean? I myself do not know, but if you listen, things will be said that are perhaps not written in this book. And this will be due not to me but to the One who lives and speaks in both." --Michael Joseph Gross

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:46:28 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

This unique spiritual autobiography is the account of the growing restlessness of a brilliant and passionate young man whose search for peace and faith eventually leads him, at the age of twenty-six, to take vows in one of the most demanding religious orders - the Trappists. At the monastery, and within the "four walls of my new freedom," Merton wrote this extraordinary testament - a document of a man who withdrew from the world only after he had fully immersed himself in it. For this Fiftieth Anniversary Edition, Robert Giroux has written a memoir of how he came to publish The Seven Storey Mountain, and Merton's distinguished biographer, William H. Shannon, has supplied a note for the reader.… (more)

» see all 4 descriptions

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