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Daily Readings from the Correspondence of Thomas Merton
Selected and edited by Fiona Gardner
Publisher:DLT (Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd)
Many will be familiar with the writings of Thomas Merton, I am not, so came to this almanac of a year’s daily cycle of readings with a fresh pair of eyes.
Thomas Merton (1915-1968) was a Trappist monk based in the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky. He wrote about his childhood, adolescence and early adulthood and on the publication of this, many people wrote to him. A conservative estimate is that he wrote over 10,000 letters to over 2,000 correspondents: the principal subject being spiritual guidance.
The route to finding and exploring true inner self for Merton is silence and contemplation – here is an acceptance that we cannot ‘know’ and must just faithfully ‘accept’, surrendering to something more than self.
These daily readings offer ‘an opening into something other’ – perhaps what Boris Pasternak meant when he wrote:- ‘Thomas Merton…whose precious thought and dear bottomless letters enrich me and make me happy.’ (Back cover)
This anthology will stimulate its readers to deeper silence and contemplation and, I suspect, open the eyes of many to the riches of Merton’s writing. No-one need be put off by thinking that his writings are beyond them. These excerpts are thoroughly accessible. I look forward to using them myself and thoroughly recommend them.
Reviewer: Nick Horton (03/01/12)