In this classic text, Thomas Merton offers valuable guidance for prayer. He brings together a wealth of meditative and mystical influences–from John of the Cross to Eastern desert monasticism–to create a spiritual path for today. Most important, he shows how the peace contacted through meditation should not be sought in order to evade the problems of contemporary life, but can instead be directed back out into the world to affect positive change.
Contemplative Prayer is one of the most well-known works of spirituality of the last one hundred years, and it is a must-read for all seeking to live a life of purpose in today’s world.
In a moving and profound introduction, Thich Nhat Hanh offers his personal recollections of Merton and compares the contemplative traditions of East and West.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of Family & Relationships eBook: Contemplative Prayer|
|Release Date: 11-17-2009|
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The climate in which monastic prayer flowers is that of the desert,9 where the comfort of man is absent, where the secure routines of man’s city offer no support, and where prayer must be sustained by God in the purity of faith. Even though he may live in a community, the monk is bound to explore the inner waste of his own being as a solitary. The Word of God which is his comfort is also his distress. The liturgy, which is his joy and which reveals to him the glory of God, cannot fill a heart that has not previously been humbled and emptied by dread. Alleluia is the song of the desert.
The Christian (even though he be a monk or a hermit) is never merely an isolated individual. He is a member of the praising community, the People of God. Alleluia is the victorious acclamation of the Risen Savior. Yet the People of God itself, while celebrating the praise of the Lord in a tabernacle of beauty overshadowed by the Bright Cloud of his presence, is still on pilgrimage. We acclaim God as members of a community that has been blessed and saved and is traveling to meet him as he comes in his promised Advent. Yet as individuals we know ourselves to be sinners. The prayer of the monk is dictated by this twofold consciousness of sin and redemption, wrath and mercy—as is the prayer of every Christian. But the monk is called to explore these two dimensions more thoroughly, and at greater cost, than his brothers who are devoted to works of mercy, or of creativity in the world.
In this study we are going to concern ourselves particularly with personal prayer, especially in its meditative and contemplative aspects. It is understood that th