Who was Thomas Merton?

Loyola Productions has just released this video online, a segment from the DVD "Who Cares about the Saints?"  A brief introduction to the life and times of Fr. M. Louis Merton, OCSO.

Advertisement
Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
david power
6 years 11 months ago
Poor old Tom Merton.I am the only one who will offer a comment.
I have read three of his books and find him very florid and there is often an idealistic 
thread in what he is saying.
He surely struggled to find meaning in his life but I am not sure if he succeeded .
He seemed to be more in love with the external attributes of the Church rather than the Holy Spirit.
A Newt Gingrich of the 20th century if you will.
Fr Martin ,you have canonized a few people in your time.The one I am sure you are wrong on is Tom Merton.A good writer yes, a saint is a whole new ball game. Think Chesterton. Pedro Arrupe needs a lot more study.
Interestingly Archbishop Weakland considers Merton of little worth and Arrupe as the one sure saint he has met in his life.
I will give you Dorothy Day too and you have a Meat Loaf song.  
Vince Killoran
6 years 11 months ago
I didn't think Fr. Martin was cannonizing Merton but maybe I'm wrong.

In any case, a wonderful take by Fr. Martin on Merton's place in the history of twentieth century Catholicism. He was a complex, compelling figure.  I love the quote at the beginning of the video.
Beth Cioffoletti
6 years 11 months ago
All depends on how you define a saint, in my opinion.

I've spent my whole life reading and re-reading Merton.  If there's anything that he's written that I haven't read, I haven't found it yet.  For me, and for many others, he is the most prophetic and insightful spiritual writer of the 20th century.  From those who knew him personally, he was humble, funny and compassionate.  What more do you want?
Beth Cioffoletti
6 years 11 months ago
"He seemed to be more in love with the external attributes of the Church rather than the Holy Spirit."

This line alone shows that you haven't read Merton very well, David, and you haven't understood him at all.

I have kept a blog of sorts for the last 5 years about Merton (and contemplative awareness).  Look around.  Merton is beyond "sides" and people of all political persuasions have found his writings and the testimony of his life helpful as they search for meaning and God.

Click on my name to link to the blog, or http://fatherlouie.blogspot.com

david power
6 years 11 months ago
Beth,

You are right that I haven't read Merton very well.
I read the seven storey mountain about 10 years ago when I went through a phase of reading vaguely spiritual stuff.I even read Paulo Cuelho.
Then about seven years ago I read Thoughts in solitude which I liked at the time but now when I look at it it leaves me empty.The last book was the one I have the most experience with and it is a history of the North American Trappists.It has coloured my view of Merton perhaps to much.

Not everybody had a high opinion of him though, one fellow monk said that "he could ever have been in a hermitage if it had a neon sign outside that said "hermitage"
and of course Archbishop Weakland.

http://americamagazine.org/blog/entry.cfm?blog_id=2&id=10887538-3048-741E-7815983061846240

Our positions have not changed since then but I will give him another blast.If he helps others to Christ it is good.     
david power
6 years 11 months ago
Sorry the above quote should read "He could only have lived in a hermitage if it had a neon sign outside that said "Hermitage".
Beth Cioffoletti
6 years 11 months ago
Glad you're giving him another look, David.

My Contemplative Prayer group recently listened to a taped lecture by Suzanne Stabile who was exemplifying Merton as a "four" on the enneagram.  It not only shows how Merton's vulnerabilities (he was abandoned several times as a child) led him to a Four-type personality - one who goes to extemes - but it is shows an excellent understanding of Merton as a very human person.  That bit about needing a neon sign on his hermitage fits very well with the "four" personality.

HEre is the link to the Lecture by Suzanne Stabile:
http://lifeinthetrinityministry.com/store2browseproduct/10860?CID=1196

Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

 Pope Francis arrives in procession to celebrate Mass marking the feast of Pentecost in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican May 20. The pope at his "Regina Coeli" announced that he will create 14 new cardinals June 29. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Eleven of the new cardinals are under the age of 80 and so have the right to vote in the next conclave.
Gerard O’ConnellMay 20, 2018
Images: AP, Wikimedia Commons
Bishop Curry described Teilhard as “one of the great minds, great spirits of the 20th century.”
Angelo Jesus CantaMay 19, 2018
Both men were close to each other in life, and both are much revered by Pope Francis.
Gerard O’ConnellMay 19, 2018
The Gaza Nakba demonstrations this week have done nothing to advance the situation of Palestinian refugees, nor did they provide relief to the people of Gaza, who dwell in an open-air prison, hemmed in and oppressed at every turn.