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Turning Toward the World: The Pivotal Years…

Turning Toward the World: The Pivotal Years (The Journals of Thomas… (1996)

by Thomas Merton, Victor A. Kramer (Editor)

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Like the first three volumes of Merton's journals, this is a treasure, full of insight into the development of his work and the intellectual influences that contributed to it. Merton speaks of "the need for ripeness-for the slow finishing of the work of God in me." These journals offer remarkable insight into the ripening process and the personal struggle that accompanied it. They are also full of insight into a pivotal period in world history. Merton's comments on the Cold War, crises in Berlin and Cuba, the peace movement, and the direction of U.S. foreign policy are important as historical documents; but they often also exhibit a surprisingly contemporary relevance. As in Volume Three, Merton reflects relentlessly on what it means to be a monk. Part of the ripening that is evident in this volume is his maturing discernment of the relationship between his monasticism and his deep concern for the affairs of the world. There is no doubt that Merton is among the most influential thinkers of the twentieth century, particularly with regard to peace and interfaith dialogue. This volume of his journals, like the first three, is an indispensable aid to understanding and deepening the influence.
  stevenschroeder | Jul 30, 2006 |
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Thomas Mertonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Kramer, Victor A.Editormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060654813, Paperback)

The fourth volume of Thomas Merton's complete journals, one of his final literary legacies, springs from three hundred handwritten pages that capture - in candid, lively, deeply revealing passages -- the growing unrest of the 1960s, which Merton witnessed within himself as plainly as in the changing culture around him.

In these decisive years, 1960-1963, Merton, now in his late forties and frequently working in a new hermitage at the Abbey of Gethsemani, finds himself struggling between his longing for a private, spiritual life and the irresistible pull of social concerns. Precisely when he longs for more solitude, and convinces himself he could not cut back on his writing, Merton begins asking complex questions about the contemporary culture ("the 'world' with its funny pants, of which I do not know the name, its sandals and sunglasses"), war, and the churches role in society.

Thus despite his resistance, he is drawn into the world where his celebrity and growing concerns for social issues fuel his writings on civil rights, nonviolence, and pacifism and lead him into conflict with those who urge him to leave the moral issues to bishops and theologians.

This pivotal volume in the Merton journals reveals a man at the height of a brilliant writing career, marking the fourteenth anniversary of his priesthood but yearning still for the key to true happiness and grace. Here, in his most private diaries, Merton is as intellectually curious, critical, and insightful as in his best-known public writings while he documents his movement from the cloister toward the world, from Novice Master to hermit, from ironic critic to joyous witness to the mystery of God's plan.

Thomas Merton (1915-1968) was a Trappist monk, writer and peace activist. His spiritual classics include New Seeds of Contemplation, The Sign of Jonas, Mystics and Zen Masters and The Seven Story Mountain

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:17 -0400)

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