Thomas Merton: An Introduction to His Life, Teachings, and Practices by Jon M. Sweeney
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
About a week and a half ago, I was thinking that I'd like to read a biography of Thomas Merton. As my followers will have noticed, I've been reading a fair bit of Merton in the last two or three years and I'm currently reading (slowly! as one should) New Seeds of Contemplation. And, of course, I'm reasonably familiar with Merton's life. But I thought a decent biography might be interested and this is the first one I decided to read- available through my local library app.
This is a sound biography. It uses the various sources-Merton's writings, journals, other perspectives- quite effectively to build a picture of the man. It also, interestingly, reflects on the ambivalence some Catholics feel towards Merton, who was and is popular as a spiritual writer, but who also wrote on issues of the day (many of which are surprisingly current today) quite critically. That is, of course, one of the reasons I like him so much, as a spiritual writer who is grounded in the issues of justice and peace.
Not much new and startling comes out of this book, but it is a good start in trying to understand the complex man that Merton was. So, well worth the read.
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