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The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton

The Seven Storey Mountain (original 1948; edition 1999)

by Thomas Merton

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A fiftieth-anniversary edition of the 1948 spiritual autobiography of Thomas Merton, a young man whose search for peace and faith led him to join the religious order of the Trappist monks.
Title:The Seven Storey Mountain
Authors:Thomas Merton
Info:Harcourt (1999), Edition: 50 Anniv, Paperback
Collections:Your library

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The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton (1948)


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This is a long spiritual journey from time before and after Merton is drawn to things Christian and from there to things Catholic. It is made longer still with a prospect of a vocation and to that of knowing his vocation and it being denied of which Merton was so convinced. The long journey reaches its culminating point with taking vows in a Trappist monastery - "the four walls of my new freedom." The delight to me of this book was Merton's description of the spiritual side of his journey, his interpretation of the world around him, his failings - but also his perspective of men and women pursuing a life full of meaning and purpose. ( )
  allenkeith | May 17, 2020 |
The Seven Storey Mountain tells of the growing restlessness of a brilliant and passionate young man, who at the age of twenty-six, takes vows in one of the most demanding Catholic orders—the Trappist monks. At the Abbey of Gethsemani, "the four walls of my new freedom," Thomas Merton struggles to withdraw from the world, but only after he has fully immersed himself in it. At the abbey, he wrote this extraordinary testament, a unique spiritual autobiography that has been recognized as one of the most influential religious works of our time. Translated into more than twenty languages, it has touched millions of lives.
  PSZC | Apr 23, 2020 |
Still to be reviewed
  WandsworthFriends | Nov 3, 2019 |
Well, I read this yonks ago, probably in my twenties, and I cannot tell you how differently I perceive it now. The essentials are still there; Merton's absolute commitment to self exploration,into trying to understand the consequences of the unbridled, unacknowleged dark side of "man"kind. Therein, in this usage of "man"kind, lies an unbridgeable abyss between us. Merton saw himself as a man among men and he never once enlarges the scope beyond "man"kind. It's all unconscious on his part and I think, until recently men could imagine that they were including everyone in the term, but they weren't, in my twenties I accepted that notion, but I don't now because I know I, as a woman, was not included. The exclusion is implicit with never a whisper of woman as equal, if in nothing else, in spiritual questioning and striving. This is made ever more so concrete by the fact that Merton uses almost exclusively, when discussing his spiritual journey, imagery of struggle and battle and war and conquest. That was, of course, the context of his life and has been of men (and women, as far as we know, not by choice) for thousands of generations. If it weren't for the exquisite reading of Sidney Lanier I'm not sure I could have continued. These days I'm back in the office of shrink and we work at reframing, which I find hard to do. Instead of saying "Sorry your cat died" I have to learn to say, "My condolences" or "I'm sorry for your loss" neither of which come easily to me as they appear to avoid the heart of what the person before me is suffering. My point? That seeing and describing spiritual searching as a battle, limits and cripples the search into a struggle of will and sin and endurance. If how you frame yourself in the world matters, then seeing it as a battle is going to make your problems worse, I suspect, not to mention exciting and dramatic. I came away this time, still full of admiration for Merton who now and then pops out a remark that is so profound you can barely keep your balance, while at the same time filled with a new compassion for him as well as a sense that his struggle is not mine. There is tangentially the fact that this was a brutal abridgement of a much longer book, so someone else decided what to focus on which could have something to do with my response. **** ( )
6 vote sibylline | Aug 31, 2019 |
Merton is most eloquent in describing his soul- searching and the contemplation of his faith. The writing of the events of his life, though very interesting, is choppier. In his Epilogue he is very eloquent. He doesn't call for following his choice of vocation in becoming a monk - he's not a "recruiter" and he is not doctrinaire. His message calls for everyone to seek his or her own relationship to God through both action and contemplation, thereby spreading the word of faith. ( )
1 vote steller0707 | Aug 25, 2019 |
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» Add other authors (8 possible)

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


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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A fiftieth-anniversary edition of the 1948 spiritual autobiography of Thomas Merton, a young man whose search for peace and faith led him to join the religious order of the Trappist monks.

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