Passion For Peace
This comprehensive volume contains Thomas Merton's principal writings on non-violence, war, and racism. Much of what he wrote between 1961 and 1968 is prophetic and speaks penetratingly to our time. Wars and rumors of war are still with us. Justice...
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This comprehensive volume contains Thomas Merton's principal writings on non-violence, war, and racism. Much of what he wrote between 1961 and 1968 is prophetic and speaks penetratingly to our time. Wars and rumors of war are still with us. Justice and love remain a dream. In most of these articles, it's as if Merton is actually writing in the 1990s. He is speaking to us - reminding us of the essential oneness that roots the equal dignity of all peoples. Merton's writings on social issues flowed from a deep contemplative vision. Editor William Shannon puts each essay in context and reveals how this vision developed. We see a side of Merton's character that does not come through in his other books: his passion for peace and the ardor with which he pleaded for it in a world where people so desperately yearn for it. Passion for Peace is a book of testament, vision, and hope.
Violence, war, and terrorism fill our televisions, newspapers, and websites. To meet the great need for nonviolent wisdom in the tradition of Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi, Crossroad presents this new and reedited version of Thomas Merton's "Passion for Peace," The book, never before available in an attractive trade edition, presents Merton's most important insights into themes such as the nature of violence, armed conflict, Christian responsibility, and the individual in the state.
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.