Review of ‘Thomas Merton on Contemplation’ by Thomas Merton, Christian mystic

I came to the work of Thomas Merton via contemporary mystics, Fr. Richard Rohr and Episcopalian Minister, Cynthia Bourgeault. Thomas Merton was an American Trappist monk, writer, theologian, mystic, poet, social activist, and scholar of comparative religion and this is a series of recordings of classes that Merton (aka Fr. Louis) gave to young monks in the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky during the 1960s. Merton uses the Socratic method of asking questions of the young monks as a way of signposting the key issues inherent in Christian contemplation. He has a droll sense of humour and uses this to enliven what at times is a deep dive into the practices of contemplation. His main focus is on the contemplative practices of monks. Anyone looking for a general guide to contemplative practice in ‘ordinary’ life will not find it here, but nevertheless the recordings are a rich treasure of knowledge on experiencing God, Christ and the Holy Spirit.

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