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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Trade Paper
  • Copyright: 2002-10-08
  • Publisher: Shambhala
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Thomas Merton is often considered the most prominent Christian contemplative of the twentieth century, but he was also a political activist, social visionary, and literary figure whose writings combine the candor of Thoreau and the moral vision of Gandhi. Here is a remarkably accessible introduction to his work: a collection of a short, vivid excerpts arranged in four parts so as to parallel the journey of a seeking soul in the modern world. "Real and False Selves" distinguishes between our real selves, a deep religious mystery known entirely only to God, and the identities we take on in order to function in society. "The World We Live In" provides a spiritual context to modern life, moving from a stark rejection of its empty promises to a deep compassion for its tragic limitations. "Antidotes to Illusion" reflects on contemplative practices that can serve as the allies of our "real selves" in the battle against illusion: silence, solitude, meditation, prayer, charity, and faith. "Love in Action" explores the role of the contemplative in the modern age and the challenges and pitfalls of living a life of active love. Merton's startling critique of a society driven by technology and rampant acquisition, the politics of "good versus evil," and the self-deluding complacency of the spiritual "lifestyle" demonstrate beyond doubt that his writings are as urgent today as they were in his lifetime.

Author Biography

Thomas Merton (1915–1968) was a Trappist monk, spiritual director, political activist, social critic, and one of the most-read spiritual writers of the twentieth century. He is the author of many books, including The Seven Storey Mountain .

Table of Contents

Real and False Selvesp. 1
The World we Live inp. 25
Unquiet Cityp. 27
The Technological Imperativep. 43
Events and Pseudo-Eventsp. 49
Antidotes to Illusionp. 57
Truthp. 59
Silencep. 63
Solitudep. 65
Prayer, Meditation, Contemplationp. 75
Monasticismp. 92
Faithp. 98
Charityp. 104
Humilityp. 106
Vocationp. 113
Godp. 116
Love in Actionp. 127
Toward a Theology of Lovep. 129
Nonviolencep. 140
Sainthoodp. 152
Books and Tapes by and about Thomas Mertonp. 159
Sources and Abbreviationsp. 163
Acknowledgmentsp. 165
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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