Entering the Silence (#02 in Journals Of Thomas Merton Series)
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The second volume of Thomas Merton's "gusty, passionate journals" (Thomas Moore) chronicles Merton's advancements to priesthood and emergence as a bestselling author with the surprise success of his autobiography, "The Seven Storey Mountain." Spanning an eleven-year period, "Entering the Silence" reflects Merton's struggle to balance his vocation to solitude with the budding literary career that would soon established him as one of the most important spiritual writers of our century.
In the second volume of Thomas Merton's journals, he advances through the first monastic years to the priesthood, struggling to balance a vocation to solitude with a budding literary career. These journal entries of eleven years chronicle Merton's early relationships with his agent and editors who shaped the monk's writing career. Index.
Born in France, Thomas Merton was the son of an American artist and poet and her New Zealander husband, a painter. Merton lost both parents before he had finished high school, and his younger brother was killed in World War II. Something of the ephemeral character of human endeavor marked all his works, deepening the pathos of his writings and drawing him close to Eastern, especially Buddhist, forms of monasticism. After an initial education in the United States, France, and England, he entered Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky, where he remained until a short time before his death.
His working life was spent as a Trappist monk. At Gethsemani, he wrote his famous autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain (1948); there he labored and prayed through the days and years of a constant regimen that began with daily prayer at 2:00 a.m. As his contemplative life developed, he still maintained contact with the outside world, his many books and articles increasing steadily as the years went by. Reading them, it is hard to think of him as only a "guilty bystander," to use the title of one of his many collections of essays. He was vehement in his opposition to the Vietnam War, to the nuclear arms race, to racial oppression. Having received permission to leave his monastery, he went on a journey to confer with mystics of the Hindu and Buddhist traditions. He was accidentally electrocuted in a hotel in Bangkok, Thailand, on December 10, 1968.