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Shaped by the End You Live For

Thomas Merton's Monastic Spirituality
Bonnie B. Thurston; Foreword by Paul Quenon, OCSO

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ISBN: 9780814688076, 8807
Details: 184 pgs , 5 x 3/8 x 7
Publication Date: 03/30/2020

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To understand the life and thought of Thomas Merton, one must understand him as a monk. After introducing his vocation and entrance into the Trappist order, this book highlights some of his basic spiritual presuppositions. Relying primarily on Merton's writing, Bonnie B. Thurston surveys his thought on fundamental aspects of monastic formation and spirituality, particularly obedience, silence, solitude, and prayer. She also addresses some of the temptations and popular misunderstandings surrounding monastic life. Accessible and conversational in style, the book suggests how monastic spirituality is relevant, not only for all Christians, but also for serious spiritual seekers.

Bonnie B. Thurston, after years as a university and seminary professor, lives quietly in her home state of West Virginia. She is the author of many books on Scripture and theology, including Maverick Mark: The Untamed First Gospel, The Spiritual Landscape of Mark, and Philippians in the Sacra Pagina series, all published by Liturgical Press. Her poetry appears frequently in religious periodicals, and among her published collections is Belonging to Borders: A Sojourn in the Celtic Tradition. She is also a contributor to Give Us This Day (Liturgical Press).

"One of Bonnie Thurston's great gifts to us is her ability to write, when appropriate, about profound topics with a light touch—both accessible and illuminating. That gift is on full display in this wonderful distillation not only of Thomas Merton's core spiritual teachings but of her many years of study, reflection, and prayer on these teachings. She shows clearly and persuasively how Merton's monastic vocation and vision do not separate him from those outside the cloister, but are the ground for his compassionate, insightful identification with the hopes and needs of people in all walks of life, continuing to resonate and inspire in our day as it did in his."
Patrick O'Connell, Former president of the International Thomas Merton Society and editor of The Merton Seasonal

"Thurston argues that to understand Thomas Merton one must understand him as a monk. This careful study argues that point with deep insight based on her four decades of reading and writing about the Merton corpus. This book, extremely readable and unfailingly intelligent, is highly recommended."
Lawrence S. Cunningham, The University of Notre Dame

"This is not just a book about Thomas Merton. It is an invitation to encounter him and delve deeply into the monastic tradition that transformed his life, informed his spirituality, and opened him to the world. Whether they are meeting Merton for the first time or seeking to deepen their understanding of an already familiar friend, readers will enjoy Bonnie Thurston's conversational style and benefit from her singular insights into Merton and his wisdom. This is a book to savor and ponder!"
Christine M. Bochen, Professor Emerita of Religious Studies, Nazareth College, Rochester, New York, co-author of The Thomas Merton Encyclopedia

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