Liturgical Press has just released a new Thomas Merton book, A Course in Christian Mysticism, edited by Jon M. Sweeney, with an introduction by me. Here’s a description from the book’s Amazon page:
“Thomas Merton’s lectures to the young monastics at the Abbey of Gethsemani provide a good look at Merton the scholar. A Course in Christian Mysticism gathers together, for the first time, the best of these talks into a spiritual, historical, and theological survey of Christian mysticism—from St. John’s gospel to St. John of the Cross. Sixteen centuries are covered over thirteen lectures. A general introduction sets the scene for when and how the talks were prepared and for the perennial themes one finds in them, making them relevant for spiritual seekers today. This compact volume allows anyone to learn from one of the twentieth century’s greatest Catholic spiritual teachers. The study materials at the back of the book, including additional primary source readings and thoughtful questions for reflection and discussion, make this an essential text for any student of Christian mysticism.”
If you’re interested in learning more about the history of Christian mysticism or want to go deeper in your own contemplative experience, this book is for you. Here’s a quote from my introduction:
“Although these lessons are heavy with intellectual content, with history and reasoning, what they are leading to is simple. Therein lies the dichotomy at the heart of the Christian mystical tradition: training leads only to being. As Merton writes in his essay The Contemplative Life in the Modern World, ‘Contemplative wisdom is then not simply an aesthetic extrapolation of certain intellectual or dogmatic principles, but a living contact with the Infinite Source of all being, a contact not only of minds and hearts, not only of “I and Thou,” but a transcendent union of consciousness in which man and God become, according to the expression of St. Paul, “one spirit.”‘”
Available directly from Liturgical Press or from Amazon or from your local independent bookstore..