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The Unquiet Monk: Thomas Merton's Questing Faith

by Michael W. Higgins

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"For the 25th anniversary of Thomas Merton's birth, a fresh introduction to his life and work."Thomas Merton, the Trappist monk, poet, spiritual writer, and social critic, remains many years after his death in 1968, one of the most influential religious figures of our time. From a cloistered monastery in Kentucky he spoke to the spiritual and social concerns of the world, offering a voice of conscience, sanity, and compassion. One hundred years after his birth in 1915, his fascinating life and spiritual wisdom continue to find an audience. In this concise but original work, Michael Higgins offers a fresh interpretation of this endlessly fascinating, complex, and multivalent genius. Drawing in part on interviews with those who knew him, Michael Higgins explores the story of Merton's life, his work as a poet and writer, his prophetic response to war and social disorder, his contemplative response to the human condition, and his forays into interreligious dialogue.… (more)
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Good overview of Merton's life and work. After a biographical overview, the book is arranged around principal themes in Merton's writings. The book is partially inspired by a television documentary, and follows a similar format. There are long segments of interview and some quotations from Merton framed by narrative. Recommended. ( )
  Lirmac | Jul 28, 2020 |
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"For the 25th anniversary of Thomas Merton's birth, a fresh introduction to his life and work."Thomas Merton, the Trappist monk, poet, spiritual writer, and social critic, remains many years after his death in 1968, one of the most influential religious figures of our time. From a cloistered monastery in Kentucky he spoke to the spiritual and social concerns of the world, offering a voice of conscience, sanity, and compassion. One hundred years after his birth in 1915, his fascinating life and spiritual wisdom continue to find an audience. In this concise but original work, Michael Higgins offers a fresh interpretation of this endlessly fascinating, complex, and multivalent genius. Drawing in part on interviews with those who knew him, Michael Higgins explores the story of Merton's life, his work as a poet and writer, his prophetic response to war and social disorder, his contemplative response to the human condition, and his forays into interreligious dialogue.

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One of the events adding to the importance of 2015 will be the centenary of the birth of the famous mystic monk, Thomas Merton.

Merton was born on January 31, 1915, in France, near the borders with Spain. So though he lived most of his life in the United States and is known far and wide as an American, his legacy belongs to the world.

Merton was an intellectual, a restless seeker, an inveterate collector of friendships and prolific writer. It’s ironic, then, that he joined a Trappist monastery, one of the stricter cloistered communities of religious in the Catholic world. But he was a man of paradox, one who desperately needed the quiet and isolation of the monastery to feed his rich inner life.

The fruits of this inner life found expression in many books, essays, articles, poems and letters over the course of his life. His friendships were legion and included many of the most significant figures of Catholic life in the 20th century, including Dorothy Day and Jacques Maritain, among others. His life was made famous in the best-selling memoir, The Seven Storey Mountain, but his thought was spread far and wide through such other works as New Seeds of Contemplation.
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