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The Silent Life [Paperback]

By Thomas Merton (Author)
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Item description for The Silent Life by Thomas Merton...

Thomas Merton wrote "The Silent Life" a decade after he took orders. In his Prologue, Merton describes the book as "a meditation on the monastic life by one who, without any merit of his own, is privileged to know that life on the inside . . . who seeks only to speak as the mouthpiece of a tradition centuries old." It is a remarkable work-one that combines a lucid and informative description of the nature and forms of monasticism, communal and solitary, with a passionate defense of the contemplative's quest for God. The intense beauty of Merton's meditation, radiating from beneath its surface calm, makes "The Silent Life" a classic of its kind.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Pages   192
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.4" Width: 5.5" Height: 0.7"
Weight:   0.5 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 3, 1999
Publisher   Farrar, Straus and Giroux
ISBN  0374512817  
ISBN13  9780374512811  

Availability  52 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 20, 2017 12:38.
Usually ships within one to two business days from La Vergne, TN.
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More About Thomas Merton

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.

Thomas Merton has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Harvest/HBJ Book
  2. Image Classic
  3. Journals of Thomas Merton
  4. Modern Library Classics (Paperback)

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Authors, A-Z > ( M ) > Merton, Thomas > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Authors, A-Z > ( M ) > Merton, Thomas > Paperback
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > Church History
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Spirituality > General
6Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Spirituality

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Reviews - What do customers think about The Silent Life?

Beautiful  Jun 5, 2005
I first read this book at the age of 15 and was swept away by the lovely, intense prose, along with the photos that seemed so pure and perfect. This book led to a lifetime of reading (and, I hope, practice)that has always appreciated prayer and solitude. But really, this is an interesting book for anyone who wants a good description of what a monk is, why a monk is, and who a monk seeks, along with a description of different types of monks -- both those who live in community and those who stress solitude. Is the book dated? Probably in some ways -- but because Merton gets at root causes and motives, I think it still stands well today. I recommend this lovely book to anyone interested, or intrigued, by the subject.
intense merton..  Nov 7, 2002
Merton is among those writers who profoundly affirm Wallace Stevens' fixation on 'the determining presence of the personality of the artist', speaking of the component values of any literary work. Published in 1956, 'The Silent Life' discloses a still undistracted Merton, brilliant and pure like a god. His unseen life as priest and religious, and a personal and abiding inclination for an intense eremitic life (his ever seeking the hermitage was a desire never really requited for him), color the emotion of his discourse here. It burns like the prose of 'Sign of Jonas' and 'Waters of Siloe'. It's a later, wiser Merton opened and deepened that arrests and shows us ourselves, it really is; but reading this book you're made to wonder if Thomas Merton was ever again so ecstatically fastened to the Ideal of his fantastically converted heart. Such a language of love to serve the most clement scholarship! & best thing, it sings with all his determining love and confidence. Merton always expressed a particular affection for the pure hermits of Camaldoli, and the time he spends lovingly tracing their importance is one of the best parts of this book. Thomas Merton changed monasticism both by his devotion and his disaffection. This book's a good example of his already profound literary gifts, and an even better example of a man's purposeful race toward the God within.
St. Martha Bulletin Book Club January 2002 Selection  Jan 28, 2002
Following Epiphany, The Church (ekklaesia) returns to Ordinary Time. It is welcome for many of us after Advent preparations and the holy Octave Celebration of Christmas. As we consider the meaning of Christ born in us, we might enter into a solitude that is an impregnable fortress, the quiet world of the monk.

One of the Roman Catholic Church's most prolific monastics of the twentieth century, Trappist Thomas Merton, died in Thailand in 1968. Although books including his autobiography of faith, The Seven Storey Mountain, have been presented as his greatest, The Silent Life is a clear presentation of monasticism. It offers insight into Merton's reasons for leaving "everything else in order to seek God." (p 1) Despite travels due to the fame his writings inspiried and his Abbot approved, Merton kept his monastic commitment with the Abbey of Gethsemani, Kentucky.

From Anchorites to Wrentham (the Cistercian convent),Merton presents in a very readable way a complete definition of monk. This rare excursion into Monastic Peace, the Cenobitic Life [those who follow the Rule of St. Benedict, the Benedictines, and Cistercians], and The Hermit Life [of the Carthusians and Camaldolese] brings the contentment and joy of Christ's Peace and Love to all seekers.

Monks, by definition, do not seek the world or its understanding. If you've never quite understood the differences among monastics or the purpose of monasticism, this clear outline explanation is for you.

This peek into the monastic life is unique to Merton who describes this book as "a meditation on the monastic life by one who, without any merit of his own, is privileged to know that life from the inside...who seeks only to speak as the mouthpiece of a tradition centuries old." (Prologue)

Monastic Peace seeks Purity of Heart (Puritas Cordis), Truth (In Veritate), through Labor (In Laboribus Multis), in the Highest Tabernacle (In Tabernaculo Altissimi) in Unity (In Unitate). This Peace is available to all and its path examined by Merton for both those who live in the world and our cloistered brothers and sisters in Christ.

"How can I find Him Who is everywhere? If He is everywhere, He is indeed close to me, and with me, and in me: perhaps He will turn out to be, in some mysterious way, my own self. But then, again, if He and I are one, then is there an 'I' that can rejoice in having found Him?" (p 1)

St. Martha Bulletin Book Club meets only in our church bulletin. Please feel free to join and put it on your resume.

St. Martha Foundations in Adult Catholic Education, Fr. Jonathan Wehrle, Pastor, Edward Horski, Adult Education Director

My silent companion  Oct 24, 2001
Of all my books this is my favortie. I bought a first edition where there are pictures of Trappists monasteries from Europe and USA. In those days these where rare gems. The final chapter the "Hermits life" is one step below the Sermon on the Mount. The pinacle union with God in the core center of our being where only God dwells, he pulls me into his creation to share. His description of seeking God becomes vivid. The end result being transcedent peace, when we finally see him face to face in the resurection. Although he talks about the various religious lifes and orders the real theme is Monastic spirutality and Merton is the Modern day prophet on this topic.
The lfe and history of the monks of the Church  Oct 12, 1998
Though it has been many years since I read this book I am anxious to find another copy and read it again. It is mostly the history of the Benedictine, Cistercian, and Trappist orders, the Cistercian and Trappist orders being offsprings of the Benedictine Order. Written by Thomas Merton, himself a Trappist monk at Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky, it gives an indepth view of the reformations of the Benedictine order that led to the Cistercian and then the Trappist orders. A good read on the history of monastic life!

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