Magazine article U.S. Catholic

The Root of War Is Fear

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

The Root of War Is Fear

Article excerpt

THE ROOT OF WAR IS FEAR

By Jim Forest (Orbis Books, 2016)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

For Thomas Merton, being a monk was about more than wearing special garments or attending Mass and praying for humanity. According to Jim Forest in his newest book, The Root of War Is Fear, Merton saw his vocation as bearing witness and working to bring about the peaceable kingdom of God.

The book draws on Merton's letters and writings--many of them addressed to Forest himself--to draw out the thread of peace and nonviolence that runs through Merton's life. The result is a book that is not quite a biography and not quite a memoir, but something in between. It touches on significant events in Merton's life, but it is also interspersed with Forest's own encounters with Thomas Merton. Such as the first time they met, when Forest and a friend from the Catholic Worker community hitchhiked from New York City to the Abbey of Gethsemane in Kentucky. Forest's first introduction to Merton was when he walked in to his friend's room to find Merton rolling on the floor with laughter at how badly they smelled after their three-day journey. …

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