Life and Holiness
- Publisher In this brief and readily accessible work, Merton offers his thoughts on what it means to be holy in the face of the anxieties of the modern world.
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About "Life and Holiness"
Thomas Merton (1915-68), Trappist monk, author, and peace activist, came to international prominence at a young age with his classic autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain. Over the rest of his life he wrote prolifically on a vast range of topics, including prayer, interior growth, social responsibility, violence, and war. Toward the end of his life he played a significant role in introducing Eastern religions to the West. He is today regarded as a spiritual master, a brilliant religious writer, and a man who embodied the quest for God and human solidarity in the modern world
In this brief and readily accessible work, Merton offers his thoughts on what it means to be holy in the face of the anxieties of the modern world.
Meet the Author
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.