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Merton on the Fathers

I haven’t read these books or heard the audio tapes they were based on, but I’ll bet they’re fascinating. Cistercian Publications has brought out multiple volumes of edited transcriptions of Thomas Merton’s conferences for Trappist novices. Several volumes deal exclusively or mostly with the Church Fathers: Cassian and the FathersAn Introduction to Christian Mysticism: (from the Apostolic Fathers to the Council of Trent), Pre-Benedictine Monasticism, and The Rule of Saint Benedict. Merton could be maddening and often controversial. He certainly sinned grievously against his vows. But he was brilliant and gifted with remarkable insight. I hope to peruse these conferences some day. The original audio sources are for sale here.

3 thoughts on “Merton on the Fathers

  1. Just wondering what you mean about Merton. His study of eastern religions was widely misunderstood by many, but I doubt you would misunderstand his intent there, so there must be something wider, or graver, or less commonly known, for which you say, that he “sinned grievously against his vows” (as a Cistercian). I am not aware of that and can’t find any discussion on that on the internet anywhere.


  2. Okay, nevermind. Wikipedia’s discussion page often contains the goods, even when the main article has been defaced, to remove something.

    I wasn’t aware of ‘M’, as she is referred to in the biographies.


  3. I wasn’t talking about Merton’s study of eastern religions. I’m not qualified to make any judgment there. A scholar of the field, though, has take the time to do so:
    Merton’s early works deeply influenced me as I was coming back to the Church. It shook me, back in the mid-1980s, when I read about his dalliance with M. Later, after reading his letters, I found it impossible to use his works for spiritual reading — too much static on the line.

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