Learning To Love: Exploring Solitude and Freedom

Learning To Love: Exploring Solitude and Freedom

by Thomas Merton
     
 

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Having embraced a life of solitude in his own hermitage, Thomas Merton finds his faith tested beyond his imagination when a visit to the hospital leads to a clandestine affair of the heart. Jolted out of his comfortable routine, Merton is forced to reassess his need for love and his commitment to celibacy and the monastic vocation. This astonishing volume traces

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Overview

Having embraced a life of solitude in his own hermitage, Thomas Merton finds his faith tested beyond his imagination when a visit to the hospital leads to a clandestine affair of the heart. Jolted out of his comfortable routine, Merton is forced to reassess his need for love and his commitment to celibacy and the monastic vocation. This astonishing volume traces Merton's struggle to reconcile his unexpected love with his sacred vows while continuing to grapple with the burning social issues of the day—including racial conflicts, the war in Vietnam, and the Arab-Israeli conflict—visiting and corresponding with high-profile friends like Thich Nhat Hanh and Joan Baez, and further developing his writing career. Revealing Merton to be 'very human' in his chronicles of the ecstasy and torment of being in love, Learning to Love comes full circle as Merton recommits himself completely and more deeply to his vocation even as he recognizes 'my need for love, my loneliness, my inner division, the struggle in which solitude is at once a problem and a 'solution'. And perhaps not a perfect solution either' (11 May, 1967).

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Editorial Reviews

New York Times Book Review
Delightful . . . brilliant social, political and personal commentaries.
Booknews
During the period these entries were written, Merton (Trappist monk, peace activist, and author of , , , and other spiritual works) carried on an affair with a young nurse and grew outraged at the fighting in Vietnam and racism in the United States. This sixth volume of his journals reflect these concerns as well as other wide ranging interests from Zen Buddhism and Vatican II to the works of Albert Camus. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062016669
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
10/19/2010
Series:
Journals of Thomas Merton , #6
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
416
Sales rank:
399,731
File size:
1 MB

Read an Excerpt

January 2, 1966. Feast of Holy Name of Jesus

It has been raining steadily for almost 36 hours. This morning toward the end of my meditation the rain was pouring down on the roof of the hermitage with great force and the woods resounded with tons of water falling out of the sky. It was great! A good beginning for a New Year. Yesterday in a lull I was looking across the valley at black wet hills, sharply outlined against the woods, and white patches of water everywhere in the bottoms: a landscape well etched by serious weather.

Working on an essay for Hildegard Goss-Mayr ([for] Der Christ in der Welt). Reading E.A. Burtt's book, sent by him from Cornell -- and galleys of a good book on the Church trans[lated] from Dutch [The Grave of God: Has the Church a Future? New York, 1967]. The author is an Augustinian, R. Adolfs. Still have Endo Mason's excellent book on [Rainer Maria] Rilke and England. Reading Romans in lectio and finding it difficult (chs. 5-6). Finished a curious journalistic book on the liberation of Paris -- a symbolic event! Hitler was set on annihilating the city and his military evaded the order. De Gaulle and the communists, etc. One cannot help admiring de Gaulle, even though he is a stubborn ass. There is something providential about his character. He was just reelected President of France in December. I like him better than Churchill, anyway!

Learning to Love. Copyright © by Thomas Merton. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

What People are saying about this

Catholic News Service
"When all the journals are published, it is likely that they will take a place with the famous journals of Henry David Thoreau, G. M. Hopkins, Edmund Wilson, and perhaps be seen as an American version of St. Augustine's Confessions."
Lexington Herald-Leader
"It has often been said that the world-renowned Trappist monk and author Thomas Merton was a man of paradox. . . . Now, [this] volume of Merton's journals adds greater detail to another, and perhaps his most surprising, paradox: that this monk and Roman Catholic priest had what he called an 'affair' with a student nurse in Louisville over six months in 1966."
Anna J. Brown
"It is said that when Emily Dickinson sent her first submission of poems to the essayist Thomas Wentworth Higginson, she included a question for Higginson: "Do these verses breathe?" Higginson's response was presumably affirmative. I imagine a similar question posed by Merton: "Does my journal breathe?" To which I heartily respond, "Yes."

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