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.