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The Rule of Saint Benedict

"Initiation into the Monastic Tradition, 4"

Thomas Merton; Edited by Patrick F. O'Connell

In his novitiate conferences on the Rule of Saint Benedict, Thomas Merton introduces young men embarking on monastic life to the guiding document of that life. He emphasizes the importance of considering the Rule from a perspective that is neither narrowly legalistic nor overly intellectualized, but marked rather by commitment to the goal of Benedictine monasticism, which is not just to obey the Rule but to love and serve God. The Benedictine life, according to Merton, is "simply living the Gospel without fanfare. . . . The mainspring of everything in St. Benedict is the love of Christ—in Himself, in the poor, in the monastic community, in the individual brethren. . . . This is the key to the monastic life and spirit." Merton gives particular attention to the prologue, in which he finds "the theological foundation of the whole spiritual doctrine of St. Benedict"; key chapters on the abbot and the monastic community, including consideration of monastic work, spiritual reading, and poverty; and especially chapter 7, on the degrees of humility, which he considers the heart of the entire Rule. In these conferences, Merton presents a spiritual commentary on the Rule that provides insight both on his role as a director of prospective young monks and on the foundation of his own commitment to monastic and contemplative life. Patrick F. O'Connell is associate professor in the departments of English and theology at Gannon University, Erie, Pennsylvania. A founding member of and former president of the International Thomas Merton Society, he edits The Merton Seasonal and is coauthor (with William H. Shannon and Christine M. Bochen) of The Thomas Merton Encyclopedia. He has edited three previous volumes of Thomas Merton’s monastic conferences for the Monastic Wisdom series: Cassian and the Fathers; Pre-Benedictine Monasticism; and An Introduction to Christian Mysticism.

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Cassian and the Fathers

Initiation into the Monastic Tradition

Thomas MertonEdited by Patrick F. O'Connell

Cassian and the Fathers is the initial volume in the series of Novitiate Conferences of Thomas Merton, the classes he presented to young men beginning their monastic life at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky. They contain Merton's insights on important Patristic and monastic figures preceding the time of St. Benedict, above all John Cassian, the most significant bridge between the early desert fathers and the development of monastic life in the West, and they reveal the continuing relevance of their teachings for contemporary monastics and other Christians. Much of the value and interest of Cassian and the Fathers, as of the novitiate conferences in general, lies in the light it casts on Merton himself as teacher, novice master and monk. These notes provide a privileged standpoint for observing Merton functioning as an integral and important member of his monastic community. The 'public' Merton has long been visible in his works written for publication, and has more recently been complemented by the 'interpersonal' Merton disclosed in his correspondence and the 'intimate' Merton revealed in his complete journals. While the novitiate conferences may not equal in significance these other sources, they do allow access to yet another stratum of Merton's wide-ranging and immensely productive engagement with his world from the distinctive standpoint he had chosen within a tradition dating back more than sixteen centuries. While these lectures need to be used critically and carefully in evaluating Merton's own perspectives and commitments, nevertheless they do need to be used. The dialectical relationship between Merton's private and more public statements, including those made to his novice classes, makes possible a more complex and thus a richer picture of his monastic identity and so of his personal identity. In learning about Cassian and the Fathers from Merton, one learns as well about Merton as monk, as heir to the great monastic teachers, and as teacher of a new generation of monks, an easily overlooked and undervalued, yet integral, even central component of his vocation for more than half his monastic life. Thus the publication of the novitiate conferences will fill a significant lacuna in Merton studies and contribute to a balanced, holistic comprehension and appreciation of Thomas Merton's life and work. This edition includes an extensive introduction situating these conferences and Merton's years as novice master in the context of his broader life as monk and writer, an extensively annotated edition of the text of the conferences based on Merton's own typescript, and helpful appendices indicating changes Merton made to his text, correlating the written text with taped versions of the actual classes, and providing suggestions for further reading both in Merton's other works and in more recent studies of the figures he discusses here.

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The Life of the Vows

"Initiation into the Monastic Tradition, 6"

Thomas Merton; Edited by Patrick F. O'Connell

As novice master of the Cistercian Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani in Kentucky, Thomas Merton presented weekly conferences to familiarize his charges with the meaning and purpose of the vows they aspired to undertake. In this setting, he offered a thorough exposition of the theological, canonical, and above all spiritual dimensions of the vows. Merton set the vows firmly in the context of the anthropological, moral, soteriological, and ecclesial dimensions of human, Christian, and monastic life. He addressed such classical themes of Christian morality as the nature of the human person and his acts; the importance of justice in relation to the Passion of Christ, to friendship and to love; and self-surrender as the key to grace, prayer and the vowed life. Merton's words on these topics clearly spring from a committed heart and often flow with the soaring intensity of style that we have come to expect in his more enthusiastic prose. The texts of these conferences represent the longest and most systematically organized of any of numerous series of conferences that Merton presented during the decade of his mastership. They may be the most directly pastoral work Merton ever wrote. Thomas Merton (1915—1968) was a monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani, Kentucky. He was a renowned writer, theologian, poet, and social activist. Patrick F. O'Connell is associate professor in the departments of English and theology at Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania. He is a founding member and former president of the International Thomas Merton Society.

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Pre-Benedictine Monasticism

"Initiation into the Monastic Tradition, 2"

Thomas Merton; Edited by Patrick F. O'Connell

Charged with training young monks at Gethsemani Abbey, Thomas Merton combined his literary genius and his love of the monastic tradition to produce Monastic Orientation Notes as the bases of his classes. In this volume, he treats the many and varied forms of monastic life which preceded, and helped to form, the Rule of Saint Benedict.

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Monastic Observances

"Initiation into the Monastic Tradition, 5"

Thomas Merton; Edited by Patrick F. O'Connell

In this set of novitiate conferences from the late 1950s, Thomas Merton provides a vivid and detailed introduction to the traditional pattern and practices of the monastic day during the period immediately preceding the momentous changes that would be introduced in the wake of the Second Vatican Council. Combining practical instruction with spiritual and theological reflection, this fifth volume of Merton's teaching notes brings the reader into the choir and chapter room, scriptorium and cloisters of the Abbey of Gethsemani, and provides insight into the ecclesial, contemplative, paschal, and Trinitarian dimensions of Cistercian life. Patrick F. O'Connell is professor in the departments of English and theology at Gannon University, Erie, Pennsylvania. A founding member and former president of the International Thomas Merton Society, he edits The Merton Seasonal and is coauthor (with William H. Shannon and Christine M. Bochen) of The Thomas Merton Encyclopedia. He has edited four previous volumes of Thomas Merton's monastic conferences for the Monastic Wisdom series: Cassian and the Fathers; Pre-Benedictine Monasticism; An Introduction to Christian Mysticism; and The Rule of Saint Benedict.

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Monastic Observances

"Initiation into the Monastic Tradition, 5"

Thomas Merton; Edited by Patrick F. O'Connell

In this set of novitiate conferences from the late 1950s, Thomas Merton provides a vivid and detailed introduction to the traditional pattern and practices of the monastic day during the period immediately preceding the momentous changes that would be introduced in the wake of the Second Vatican Council. Combining practical instruction with spiritual and theological reflection, this fifth volume of Merton's teaching notes brings the reader into the choir and chapter room, scriptorium and cloisters of the Abbey of Gethsemani, and provides insight into the ecclesial, contemplative, paschal, and Trinitarian dimensions of Cistercian life. Patrick F. O'Connell is professor in the departments of English and theology at Gannon University, Erie, Pennsylvania. A founding member and former president of the International Thomas Merton Society, he edits The Merton Seasonal and is coauthor (with William H. Shannon and Christine M. Bochen) of The Thomas Merton Encyclopedia. He has edited four previous volumes of Thomas Merton's monastic conferences for the Monastic Wisdom series: Cassian and the Fathers; Pre-Benedictine Monasticism; An Introduction to Christian Mysticism; and The Rule of Saint Benedict.

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"Charter, Customs, and Constitutions of the Cistercians"

"Charter, Customs, and Constitutions of the Cistercians"

Initiation into the Monastic Tradition 7

Thomas Merton; Edited by Patrick F. O'Connell; Preface by John Eudes Bamberger, OCSO

As master of novices for ten years (1955–1965) at the Cistercian Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani in Kentucky, Thomas Merton was responsible for the spiritual formation of young men preparing for monastic profession. In this volume, three related sets of Merton's conferences on ancient and contemporary documents governing the lives of the monks are published for the first time:on the Carta Caritatis, or Charter of Charity, the foundational document of the Order of Cîteaux on the Consuetudines, the twelfth-century collection of customs and regulations of the Orderon the twentieth-century Constitutions of the Order, the basic rules by which Merton and his students actually lived at the timeThese conferences form an essential part of the overall picture of Cistercian monastic life that Merton provided as part of his project of "initiation into the monastic tradition" that is evident in the broad variety of courses that he put together and taught over the period of his mastership.As Abbot John Eudes Bamberger, ocso, himself a former student of Merton, notes in his preface to this volume, "The texts presented in this present book eventually gave rise to the Cistercian way of spiritual living that continues to contribute to the Church's witness in this new millennium. This publication is a witness to the process of transformation that ensures the continuity of the Catholic monastic tradition that witnesses to the God who, as Saint Augustine observed is, 'ever old and ever new.'"Thomas Merton (1915–1968), Catholic convert, Cistercian monk and hermit, poet, contemplative, social critic, and pioneer of interreligious dialogue, was a seminal figure of twentieth-century American Christianity.Patrick F. O'Connell is professor of English and theology at Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania. A founding member and former president of the International Thomas Merton Society, he edits The Merton Seasonal and is coauthor of The Thomas Merton Encyclopedia. He has edited six previous volumes of Thomas Merton's monastic conferences for the Monastic Wisdom Series, most recently, The Life of the Vows (2012), and is also editor of Thomas Merton: Early Essays, 1947–1952 (2015).

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"Charter, Customs, and Constitutions of the Cistercians"

Initiation into the Monastic Tradition 7

Thomas Merton; Edited by Patrick F. O'Connell; Preface by John Eudes Bamberger, OCSO

As master of novices for ten years (1955–1965) at the Cistercian Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani in Kentucky, Thomas Merton was responsible for the spiritual formation of young men preparing for monastic profession. In this volume, three related sets of Merton's conferences on ancient and contemporary documents governing the lives of the monks are published for the first time:on the Carta Caritatis, or Charter of Charity, the foundational document of the Order of Cîteaux on the Consuetudines, the twelfth-century collection of customs and regulations of the Orderon the twentieth-century Constitutions of the Order, the basic rules by which Merton and his students actually lived at the timeThese conferences form an essential part of the overall picture of Cistercian monastic life that Merton provided as part of his project of "initiation into the monastic tradition" that is evident in the broad variety of courses that he put together and taught over the period of his mastership.As Abbot John Eudes Bamberger, ocso, himself a former student of Merton, notes in his preface to this volume, "The texts presented in this present book eventually gave rise to the Cistercian way of spiritual living that continues to contribute to the Church's witness in this new millennium. This publication is a witness to the process of transformation that ensures the continuity of the Catholic monastic tradition that witnesses to the God who, as Saint Augustine observed is, 'ever old and ever new.'"Thomas Merton (1915–1968), Catholic convert, Cistercian monk and hermit, poet, contemplative, social critic, and pioneer of interreligious dialogue, was a seminal figure of twentieth-century American Christianity.Patrick F. O'Connell is professor of English and theology at Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania. A founding member and former president of the International Thomas Merton Society, he edits The Merton Seasonal and is coauthor of The Thomas Merton Encyclopedia. He has edited six previous volumes of Thomas Merton's monastic conferences for the Monastic Wisdom Series, most recently, The Life of the Vows (2012), and is also editor of Thomas Merton: Early Essays, 1947–1952 (2015).

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"Charter, Customs, and Constitutions of the Cistercians"

Initiation into the Monastic Tradition 7

Thomas Merton; Edited by Patrick F. O'Connell; Preface by John Eudes Bamberger, OCSO

As master of novices for ten years (1955–1965) at the Cistercian Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani in Kentucky, Thomas Merton was responsible for the spiritual formation of young men preparing for monastic profession. In this volume, three related sets of Merton's conferences on ancient and contemporary documents governing the lives of the monks are published for the first time:on the Carta Caritatis, or Charter of Charity, the foundational document of the Order of Cîteaux on the Consuetudines, the twelfth-century collection of customs and regulations of the Orderon the twentieth-century Constitutions of the Order, the basic rules by which Merton and his students actually lived at the timeThese conferences form an essential part of the overall picture of Cistercian monastic life that Merton provided as part of his project of "initiation into the monastic tradition" that is evident in the broad variety of courses that he put together and taught over the period of his mastership.As Abbot John Eudes Bamberger, ocso, himself a former student of Merton, notes in his preface to this volume, "The texts presented in this present book eventually gave rise to the Cistercian way of spiritual living that continues to contribute to the Church's witness in this new millennium. This publication is a witness to the process of transformation that ensures the continuity of the Catholic monastic tradition that witnesses to the God who, as Saint Augustine observed is, 'ever old and ever new.'"Thomas Merton (1915–1968), Catholic convert, Cistercian monk and hermit, poet, contemplative, social critic, and pioneer of interreligious dialogue, was a seminal figure of twentieth-century American Christianity.Patrick F. O'Connell is professor of English and theology at Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania. A founding member and former president of the International Thomas Merton Society, he edits The Merton Seasonal and is coauthor of The Thomas Merton Encyclopedia. He has edited six previous volumes of Thomas Merton's monastic conferences for the Monastic Wisdom Series, most recently, The Life of the Vows (2012), and is also editor of Thomas Merton: Early Essays, 1947–1952 (2015).

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An Introduction to Christian Mysticism

"Initiation into the Monastic Tradition, 3"

Thomas Merton; Edited by Patrick F. O'Connell

In these conferences dating to 1961, Thomas Merton provides for his audience of young monks an overview of major themes and figures in the Christian mystical tradition as an integral part of their religious inheritance and a crucial part of their spiritual formation. From Fathers of the Church such as St Athanasius and St Gregory of Nyssa, through such important medieval theologians as St Bonaventure, Hadewijch and Meister Eckhart, to the great Spanish Carmelites St Teresa of Avila and St John of the Cross, Merton traces such key topics as the integration of theology and spirituality; the importance of "natural contemplation"—recognizing the divine presence in creation; the centrality of apophatic or "dark" contemplation; and the role of spiritual direction in forming mature and balanced contemplatives.

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The Life of the Vows

"Initiation into the Monastic Tradition, 6"

Thomas Merton; Edited by Patrick F. O'Connell

As novice master of the Cistercian Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani in Kentucky, Thomas Merton presented weekly conferences to familiarize his charges with the meaning and purpose of the vows they aspired to undertake. In this setting, he offered a thorough exposition of the theological, canonical, and above all spiritual dimensions of the vows. Merton set the vows firmly in the context of the anthropological, moral, soteriological, and ecclesial dimensions of human, Christian, and monastic life. He addressed such classical themes of Christian morality as the nature of the human person and his acts; the importance of justice in relation to the Passion of Christ, to friendship and to love; and self-surrender as the key to grace, prayer and the vowed life. Merton's words on these topics clearly spring from a committed heart and often flow with the soaring intensity of style that we have come to expect in his more enthusiastic prose. The texts of these conferences represent the longest and most systematically organized of any of numerous series of conferences that Merton presented during the decade of his mastership. They may be the most directly pastoral work Merton ever wrote. Thomas Merton (1915—1968) was a monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani, Kentucky. He was a renowned writer, theologian, poet, and social activist. Patrick F. O'Connell is associate professor in the departments of English and theology at Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania. He is a founding member and former president of the International Thomas Merton Society.

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Price: $44.95

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