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Friday, March 31, 2017

Thomas Merton on Living For the Moment...

“You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.” 

-- Thomas Merton (1915-1968), priest, monk, writer, theologian and social activist, is considered among the most influential Catholic authors of the twentieth century.  He was admittedly agnostic, at best, during his youth, living in Bermuda, France and England with his artist father, after his mother died when he was about 6.  His father died ten years later.  He had a zeal for life, jazz and writing and entered Cambridge University in England, where he lived a life of debauchery, and is said to have fathered a child during one of his encounters.  He left England and enrolled at Columbia University in 1935, where he became editor of the school paper.  It was there that, in his quest for truth and meaning, that he was introduced to Catholic books.  After years of reading and internal struggle, he entered the Catholic Church in 1938. Shortly, thereafter, he started to feel a calling to the priesthood and more specifically to live a life of monasticism as a Trappist monk.  After an initial rejection, he entered the Abbey of Gethsemane in Kentucky in 1941, where he spent the rest of his life until his accidental death in 1968, while at a East-West monastic conference, which included the Dalai Lama.  He was 53.  During his life, he wrote over 70 books, including his autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain, which is one of the most profound books I have ever read, sold millions of copies and been translated in at least 15 languages.     

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