Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Thomas Merton: Essential Writings

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Thomas Merton: Essential Writings

Article excerpt

Thomas Merton: Essential Writings. Edited by Christine M. Bochen. Modern Spiritual Masters Series. Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 2000. 191 pp. $14.00 (paper).

In her preface to this fine anthology, the editor, Christine Bochen, acknowledges that three other anthologies of Thomas Merton's writings are currently available: Lawrence Cunningham, ed., Thomas Merton, Spiritual Master: The Essential Writings (Paulist Press, 1992); Thomas P. McDonnell, ed., The Thomas Merton Reader (Harcourt Brace, 1962; rev. ed., Doubleday, 1974); and William H. Shannon, ed., Passion and Peace: The Social Essays (Crossroad, 1995). (In addition, there is also an excellent selection from Merton's complete journals now available: Patrick Hart and Jonathan Montaldo, eds., The Intimate Merton: His Life from His Journals [HarperCollins, 1999]). With so many anthologies in print, the question naturally arises: Is there need for another? The answer in this case is "Yes."

At 191 pages the shortest of the anthologies, Thomas Merton: Essential Writings is divided into three sections that "explore three themes that are especially significant in Merton's spirituality: contemplation, compassion, and unity" (p. 18). Selections are short, most ranging from a paragraph to four or five pages, although there are some longer, complete pieces. Bohen supplies brief introductions to each section and to some of the selections, plus a good, relatively long general introduction. The organization of this volume proved a pleasant revelation to me. Merton went to the monastery to find contemplation, discovered compassion along with it and, more and more towards the end of his life, wrote and spoke about-and lived out-unity, the sacred communion of all persons in Christ. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.