Thomas Merton on the Great Monks
Date: July 2014
Duration: 2 hours 52 minutes
Recorded by Thomas Merton in 1962, these newly remastered lectures showcase the brilliant teaching of a monk and mystic who changed the world.
Originally delivered at the Abbey of Gethsemani to his fellow monks, Thomas Merton’s talks invite you on a journey through monastic and contemplative history. Under his guidance, you will encounter the great figures of the Christian monastic tradition: St. Bernard of Clairvaux, St. Benedict, John Cassian, Basil, and Charlemagne. As you will discover, the history of monasticism is deeply intertwined with the greater history of Europe and the Christian contemplative tradition.
You can take no better guide for this journey than Thomas Merton, who discovered a radical spirituality in his cloistered life. After a spiritual awakening, Merton joined the Trappist Order at the Abbey of Gethsemani, where he sought to interact with the world on a deeper, more contemplative level.
As you listen to Merton’s powerful voice, you will look at the emergence of the Cistercians, the order to which he belonged. Founded by St. Bernard of Clairvaux, the Cistercian Order sought to return to the tradition of contemplation, prayer, and simplicity that had flowered under St. Benedict.
By studying the Cistercians and the early monastic tradition, you will discover how all contemplative persons—whether lay or religious—share in God’s divine light through lives of prayer. As you listen to Merton’s voice, you will gain great insights into contemplative spirituality, history, and the spiritual life.
This set includes an afterword by Dr. James Finley, one of Merton’s former students at Gethsemani.