Thomas Merton Series

The Merton Annual Volume 20 – Contemplative Prayer and the Spiritual Life


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“All the articles included in the section of commissioned essays about prayer stress the fact of humankind’s longing for union with God. Some of the scholars who have been asked to address this issue deal with aspects of this quest by using Merton’s life, meditations, poetry, and friendships to examine the fundamental reality of the continuing need for prayer of all persons–something which, especially in this complex “scientific age” of which we are part, can so easily be forgotten or, if not forgotten, can be processed into abstractions. … The three interviews included in this volume also may assist us to triangulate on the importance of Merton’s insights into the nature of living prayerfully.” From the Introduction by Victor A. Kramer.

The Merton Annual publishes articles about Thomas Merton and about related matters of major concern to his life and work. Its purpose is to enhance Merton’s reputation as a writer and monk, to continue to develop his message for our times, and to provide a regular outlet for substantial Merton-related scholarship. The Merton Annual includes as regular features, reviews, review-essays, a bibliographic survey, interviews, and first appearances of unpublished or obscurely published Merton materials, photographs and art.  Essays about related literary and spiritual matters are also considered.

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  • 2007
  • 9781891785141
  • 419

Product Description

The Merton Annual Volume 20 – Contemplative Prayer and the Spiritual Life
    • Grateful acknowledgement is expressed to the Merton Legacy Trust and the Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University for permission to reproduce the calligraphy of Thomas Merton for the cover artwork.


This focused gathering of scholarly essays, which conclude the two decades of my editing the Merton Annual, succeeds beautifully by bringing still more hidden aspects of Merton's life and talent, vocation and ministry to useful light. These many contributors--so many friends, colleagues, associates of years, decades--have outdone themselves with diverse contributions, analyses, interviews, and reviews, so as to demonstrate Merton's consistent work about focused prayer which remains with us as the twenty-first century unfolds.
Victor A. Kramer, Editor, The Merton Annual
Another rich cornucopia of primary source material, interviews, articles on various aspects of Merton's life and work, and reviews, the latest volume of The Merton Annual provides intellectual and spiritual nourishment both for those already familiar with Merton and for those encountering him for the first time.
Patrick F. O'Connell, Editor, The Merton Seasonal
A note on the cover illustration: In Spring 1964, Merton wrote to his friend Robert Lax, "What I study is Irish monks." He could have added that he was studying and practicing ink brushwork in the Zen tradition. Undated, though probably made in 1964, this image reflects his side-by-side studies. Darkened water splashed into a sacred sign, Merton's Celtic cross conveys both the traditional orderliness and the risk-taking spontaneity of his search in religion.
Roger Lipsey, author of Angelic Mistakes: The Art of Thomas Merton