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Contemplative Prayer

By Thomas Merton (Author) & Jonathan Montaldo (Read by)
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Item description for Contemplative Prayer by Thomas Merton & Jonathan Montaldo...

While writing first for those in monastic life, Merton reaches "beyond the refectory lectern to remind us of the importance-nay, relevance-of prayer for all Christians, contemplative or other." -America Select excerpts from Contemplative Prayer: "Contemplation is essentially a listening in silence, an expectancy." "Prayer does not blind us to the world, but it transforms our vision of the world, and makes us see it, all men, and all the history of mankind in the light of God." "Monastic prayer, especially meditation and contemplative prayer, is not so much a way to find God as a way of resting in him whom we have found, who loves us, who is near to us, who comes to us to draw us to himself." "Prayer...means yearning for the simple presence of God, for a personal understanding of his word, for knowledge of his will and for capacity to hear and obey him."

Publishers Description
While writing first for those in monastic life, Merton reaches "beyond the refectory lectern to remind us of the importance--nay, relevance--of prayer for all Christians, contemplative or other."--"America"
Select excerpts from "Contemplative Prayer"
"Contemplation is essentially a listening in silence, an expectancy."
"Prayer does not blind us to the world, but it transforms our vision of the world, and makes us see it, all men, and all the history of mankind in the light of God."
"Monastic prayer, especially meditation and contemplative prayer, is not so much a way to find God as a way of resting in him whom we have found, who loves us, who is near to us, who comes to us to draw us to himself."
"Prayer...means yearning for the simple presence of God, for a personal understanding of his word, for knowledge of his will and for capacity to hear and obey him."
"Only when we are able to 'let go' of everything within us, all desire to see, to know, to taste and to experience the presence of God, do we truly become able to experience that presence with the overwhelming conviction and reality that revolutionize our entire inner life."

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Saint Anthony Messenger Press
Running Time: 270.00 minutes
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 5.38" Width: 6.56" Height: 1.13"
Weight:   0.3 lbs.
Binding  CD
Release Date   Jul 1, 2007
ISBN  0867168269  
ISBN13  9780867168266  

Availability  0 units.

More About Thomas Merton & Jonathan Montaldo

Thomas Merton 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.

Thomas Merton was born in 1915 and died in 1968.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Authors, A-Z > ( M ) > Merton, Thomas > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism > General
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Spirituality > Devotionals

Christian Product Categories
Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > Roman Catholic

Reviews - What do customers think about Contemplative Prayer?

Having little to add not already covered better in oher reivews, I urge you read this book forever and ever  Mar 23, 2010
Here is one very helpful little book on prayer, with solid research in Patristics and brilliant presentation as only this skilled Novice Master and writer may.

Here is where to begin, and a broad, straight, smooth, flat path upon which to continue.

Here is hope for our noisome times, for our boisterous days.

Here is the road to peace.

From the Back Matter: 'Most important he shows how the peace contacted through meditation should not be sought in order to evade the problems of contemporary existence, but can instead be directed back out into the world to effect positive change.'

Many have reviewed this book from varying perspectives; please see those of all stars. Above all please believe and read this book.

Originally published by Cistercian Publications as Climate of Monastic Prayer: Cistercian Studies Series Number One (1), this book has an interesting exodus on its way to this accessible Image Book publication.

In October of 1968, a few months then before his untimely, tragic death under still suspicious circumstances, this book, here of about one hundred pages, received the Ecclesiastical Approval for publication from the Abbot General of the Cistercian Order Ignacio Gillet, and the Bishop of Worcester Bernard Flanagan. Merton's writings often had a difficult time in the office of Gillet, whose aide entrusted with reviewing English language texts was not very masterful in comprehending the English language, yet this met approval, and meets the approval here of so many reviews, and I urge yours as well.

Read this valuable, brief book, please. Bring peace to your heart and mind and eternal soul, and thus to our world.

Increasingly valuable is the humble introduction by the well known spiritual master Thich Nhat Hanh, author of among several other well-known works, Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life, writing this introduction in December 1995, a quarter century after Father Merton's death. This fortifying introduction begins - I first met Thomas Merton in 1966, and continues through a concise presentation of prayer among our Desert Fathers, including St. Macarius. We also find here a very strong nine step prayer, which we are urged to pray for ourself, for the person we like, for the person we love, for the person who is neutral to us, and finally for the person we suffer to think of. We are also urged to pray these for the group, people or nation we like, the one we love, the one neutral to us, and finally the one we suffer to think of. In this way we may finally come to realize what it truly is to follow the commandment of Jesus Christ to Love our enemy. This prayer alone is worth the slight price of this book. Reading Father Louis' presentation of contemplative prayer is the great cathedral we enter through the portal of this gentle introduction which concludes - It is a pleasure for me to write these lines to introduce his book.

Thich Nhat Hanh had shared with us the words Father Louis used upon the death of his teacher in Vietnam in that time of war: Brother, please know that your teacher is now utterly free.

We know now that Father Louis is utterly free, and Thich Nhat Hanh utterly compassionate in sharing this truth so subtly with us. Please read most thoughtfully, prayerfully this great if tiny fruit of his long life of arduous service as monk. Read this as lectio divina, this Holy Week.

Deo Gratias.
Spiritual Filth  Jan 4, 2009
My mother ordered this book for me in hopes that I could use it in my study on prayer. I was very thankful! After all, I'd heard the author's name many times, and I expected great things. After only a paragraph or so through the introduction I started to get a handle on the book.
For starters, anyone who is interested in prayer but also a firm believer in "sola scriptura" (only scripture)must consider this book carefully. The author gives a lot of quasi-spiritual mumbo jumbo and very little scripture on the subject. He's also very inclusive of the Eastern religions, so one can see a blending of this inner-light/meditation-consciousness business. It can be very confusing, and it's very VERY far from biblical.
Secondly, the author approaches seemingly every subject from the standpoint of "experience" and not truth (scripture). When trying to understand Christian prayer with the only Christian God, one must support his teaching with the Christian Bible.
I'm tired of reviewing, but let's just say I'll be using this book as an example of heresy existing in the church. I'm terribly sad to see it represented so highly by supposed Christians. Don't disappoint yourself with this purchase, unless you don't believe in the Bible. Stick with George Mueller or Hudson Taylor.
Contemplative Prayer is spiritual deception  Apr 28, 2008
If you want to learn about the spiritual deception of Contemplative Prayer, this book is good. Thomas Merton mentions his associations with Zen Buddhists and has written other books about Zen. Because I see this form of prayer creeping into the Christian church, I wanted to learn more about it, to warn others who may be deceived by Rick Warren and the Emerging Church movement that is changing the simplicity of the Gospel of Christ and recommending New Age techniques. Thomas Merton tells you how to empty your mind (meditate), but he also warns of the dangers of this and that some have had mental breakdowns while meditating. This is the last days apostasy that is mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 2:3.
Contemplative Prayer: Not a Gimmick But a Grace  Jan 3, 2008
Thomas Merton's thoughtful work on Contemplative Prayer is worthy of careful contemplation by Christians of all traditions. The chapters are brief as is the book but it contains many powerful ideas. Merton is careful to not separate contemplation from either corporate worship or service. He will have none of the false dichotomy of "spiritual" life and "earthly" life. He also avoids pointing to contemplation as a gimmick or a method for true spirituality. The highlight of the book for me came on page 112. There Merton writes, "Prayer does not blind us to the world, but it transforms our vision of the world, and makes us see it, all men and all the history of mankind, in the light of God."

I come from a different Christian tradition than Thomas Merton, but I value his insights as I seek to walk the sometimes fearful, sometimes exhilirating, sometimes inscrutable path of prayer.
Calling Unto Deep  Jul 26, 2006
Contemplative Prayer, the last book by the renowned Trappist monk Thomas Merton, is a treatise on the practice, benefits and dangers of contemplative prayer for modern day monks. Although it seems to have been written primarily for others that have devoted their lives to monastic living, the casual reader and spiritual seeker can still glean much from Merton's book. In its 19 chapters, Merton takes the reader from the desert, through the dark nights of contemplation, to the effects that such contemplation should have on the contemplative and, therefore, on the world.

Merton combines both personal insight and traditional Christian teachings on the practice of contemplative prayer; his sources include Scripture, the Desert Fathers, Patristic texts, as well as mystical writings from the Christian tradition, most notably those of St. John of the Cross. Perhaps reflecting the ecumenical spirit of the middle to late 60s that was present in the Roman Catholic Church - due in large part to Vatican II - Merton also uses various ascetic writings from the Eastern Orthodox Church, most notably excerpts from the Philokalia, which is sometimes referred to as "the Bible of Eastern Orthodox spirituality." Merton's use of sources and personal insight serve to convey a deep understanding of the practice of contemplative prayer; the reader is left feeling that (s)he is in the presence of a spiritual guide, a wise fellow seeker, and a friend.

There are two other sources that are worth pointing out although they are less obvious than the sources cited above. First, the existentialist theme that runs through the book is worth noting; Merton seems to desire to engage some of the intellectual trends of his time with his book. Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Gabriel Marcel are both alluded to and cited throughout the pages of this book; the idea of an "existentialist dread" of death and the darkness within the human self serve, at different times, as points of departure for Merton's teachings. Given the teachings of the urgency of the moment that both Existentialism and Christianity espouse and the unrest that was a part of life in both the United States and in the international community, such a coupling of Existentialism and Christian spirituality makes a lot of sense.

Secondly, Merton mentions at points the ground that the soul meets God on. Such an idea seems to recall the teaching of Meister Eckhart, the controversial Dominican monk and mystic of the 13th century . Merton never cites Eckhart and given the controversy surrounding the condemnation of Eckhart's, if Eckhart is a source for Merton's thought, Merton's apprehension of citing Eckhart makes sense. The parallels are worth noting, though. Yet, unlike Eckhart, Merton does not view union with God as an experience of the self dissolving into the Godhead. In fact, Merton does not at any point actually mention "union with God", but describes instead "the creative and healing work of the monk [by God]" as being "a participation in the saving death and resurrection of Christ" (26). Such language about "participation" certainly recalls the language used by the Greek Fathers when discussing union with God, a union where the Creator and the creature remain distinct but in a full, intimate communion.

Contemplative Prayer, although short, is not a light read. It calls one to look within before looking without; it is a call for self-confrontation. Each chapter - and even parts of chapters - could be read and meditated upon for days on end. This is a good thing, though, as it makes this book helpful guide for the spiritual journey.

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