Thomas Merton’s early years gave no clue as to the vast richness of spirit and intellect he would develop through out his life and share through his writings. He was the son of an itinerant painter, had an upbringing with little or no religious character, was a nondescript student, a rabble rouser… not even a Catholic… who at a point in his early manhood left the fast life of New York and knocked on the doors of a Kentucky monastary, to give over his life to austere celibacy and contemplation… and profound internal enrichment.
Seven Storey Mountain has been compared to the Confessions of Augustine, but these books are of different timber. Merton’s is a story told at a personal level, of a spiritual journey in a modern context. It does not try to compete with Augustine’s intense intellectual and theological reasoning, preferring to dwell on the peace and joy of religious life, and more generally the meaning and responsibilities of all lives. You can’t read this book without being charmed and blessed by the proximity to this rare bit of humanity and devotion in our very secular and material age.
The above is part of a review contained in a paperback edition. As is my custom, I have included some reading selections and other notes from Seven Storey Mountain for those who have read it and would like to recall it or those who know nothing about it and would like to get a feel for it.
Hope you enjoy it. You can find it here: