Beneath the Mask of Holiness: Thomas Merton and the Forbidden Love Affair That Set Him Free

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Overview

Thomas Merton is the most influential American Catholic author of the twentieth century, called the “most important spiritual writer of the twentieth century.” To his legion of followers, he appeared to be a peaceful, contented monk advocating the contemplative life, but in 1966 he was a troubled, lonely monk—sad, demoralized, guilt-stricken, and depressed over past sins. Despite being promoted by the Catholic Church as its great teacher and philosopher, Merton struggled with his irreverent behavior toward women ...

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Beneath the Mask of Holiness: Thomas Merton and the Forbidden Love Affair that Set Him Free

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Overview

Thomas Merton is the most influential American Catholic author of the twentieth century, called the “most important spiritual writer of the twentieth century.” To his legion of followers, he appeared to be a peaceful, contented monk advocating the contemplative life, but in 1966 he was a troubled, lonely monk—sad, demoralized, guilt-stricken, and depressed over past sins. Despite being promoted by the Catholic Church as its great teacher and philosopher, Merton struggled with his irreverent behavior toward women and never having learned how to love, and be loved.

Only when the suffering Merton fell madly in love with a student nurse, a forbidden, erotic affair condemned by the Catholic Church, would he discover whether his devotion to God was stronger than his dedication to the woman he called "a miracle in my life." Truly an inspirational story based on Merton's personal journals, new information and sources such as fellow monks, Beneath the Mask of Holiness presents a unique portrayal of the famous man, one never revealed in its entirety before.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[This book] can only deepen and add weight to our respect for this scrupulous, devoted, and tormented man." —Ron Carlson, author of Five Skies

 

"An accurate portrayal of Thomas Merton. He had a great need for love." —Dr. Rudy Bernard, Merton's fellow monk at Gethsemani

 

"This book will provide people with a new view of the deeply human, but transcendent, love story of Thomas Merton—loving God and loving a woman. [It will be] a great contribution to the spiritual journey of thousands of people." —Dr. Lewis Rambo, Professor of Pastoral Psychology at San

Francisco Theological Seminary, and conversion expert

 

"This book permits us to find what is inspirational about Merton—his strength and determination to overcome, and at times accept, his human frailness and vulnerability all while battling for self-discovery and solace." —Patrick Hasburgh, author of Aspen Pulp

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780230616530
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 11/10/2009
  • Pages: 246
  • Sales rank: 1,456,194
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark Shaw is the author of fifteen books. He holds a Masters degree in theological studies and is a member of the International Thomas Merton Society. A former defense attorney and columnist for the Aspen Daily News, he has been a television legal analyst for ABC, CBS, and ESPN. He lives in East Lansing, Michigan.

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Table of Contents

Prologue

• Book I

• Chapter One: “Perfect Freedom Equals Perfect Love”

• Chapter Two: Margie

* Book II

• Chapter Three: The Orphan

• Chapter Four: Visions of my Father

• Chapter Five: Franciscan Denial

• Chapter Six: Searching for the True Merton

• Chapter Seven: Freedom Seeker

* Chapter Eight: People Think I Am Happy

• Chapter Nine: Dancing in the Waters of Life

• Book III

• Chapter Ten: The Other Side of the Story

• Chapter Eleven: Calamity at Cambridge

• Chapter Twelve: The Columbia Days

• Chapter Thirteen: Tears of Rage

• Book IV

• Chapter Fourteen: Questions and Answers

• Chapter Fifteen: Merton the Christian

• Chapter Sixteen: Substitute Mothers and Lovers

• Book V

• Chapter Seventeen: We Are Terribly In Love

• Chapter Eighteen: Margie Loves You and Will Always Love You

• Chapter Nineteen: Margie or God

• Chapter Twenty: Broken Vows

• Chapter Twenty-One: The New Merton

• Chapter Twenty-Two: Merton’s Legacy

• Acknowledgments

• Bibliography

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Customer Reviews

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( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 7 of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Horrendous

    Mr Shaw wrote a flippant book that completely misses the heart and integrity of Thomas Merton. This book is a cheap exploitation of a story, taken out of context, with many details conveniently left out for Mr. Shaw to make a quick profit. Perhaps Mr Shaw should consider writing for the tabloids that live at the supermarket checkout stands. Anyone who has a slight appreciation for Thomas Merton is well aware of the love relationship he had late in life. The funny thing is, you can read every detail of this affair directly from Merton's journals. There is a 367 page journal, published by Harper Collins entitled "Learning to Love". This volume discloses every event, thought, and action surrounding this affair, straight from the horse's mouth. Also, I strongly recommend the most definitive biography on Merton's life called "The Seven Mountains of Thomas Merton", by Michael Mott. If you care to hear the straight truth, read it from sources who are committed to upholding and preserving the integrity of who Thomas Merton was. Merton's writing is important for those who dare to recognize their humanness and have a heart to grapple with the motives behind their motives, hoping to discover their true selves along the way. Merton boldly lived out loud for us to peak into his inner life and let us see that he was a human being (like the rest of us) struggling into his faith. Shaw's poor attempt at a literary accomplishment struck me as an act of cowardice. Even if Shaw's book was factually true, his writing style and prose is an absolute train wreck.
    This book will never find a home in the personal libraries of anyone who has been bitten by the "Merton Bug"
    Don't waste your time.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 11, 2010

    I liked this book very much

    It's been more than 40 years since I first encountered the prolific writings of Thomas Merton. Since his death, I have also read numerous biographies, biographical sketches and commentaries about him. Most recently, I read several volumes of Merton's personal journals which were published in the mid- to late-90's, 25 years after his untimely death in 1968. Things have been relatively quiet on the Merton front for the past ten years or so. I was delighted to happen upon Shaw's book recently while browsing in a local bookstore. Overall, I liked this book very much. While it certainly doesn't replace the original source material, I found it to be a fair minded and nostalgic review of Merton's life and human struggles with monastic life, fame and forbidden love. This should probably not be the only book that one reads about Merton; his story is much richer and complicated than any one book could depict. But as a reminder of the internal conflicts Merton experienced late in his remarkable life, this book is a welcome addition to my library.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

    Beneath the Mask of Holiness

    To be able to read the thoughts behind "The Seven Storey Mountain"
    from Thomas Merton's personal journal and appreciate how much his
    faith gave to The Catholic Church for future generations to have and
    remember. You could consider his love for Margie his struggle as he
    so clearly points out in his journal.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 7 of 6 Customer Reviews

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