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A Book of Hours Hardcover


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A Book of Hours + Contemplative Prayer (Image Classics) + New Seeds of Contemplation
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 223 pages
  • Publisher: Sorin Books; illustrated edition edition (March 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933495057
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933495057
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 5.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,563 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

I have been reading at least two entries per day and am thrilled when I can read all four entries.
George E. Sund
Whether a reader of Merton's writing or not, this book is incredibly beautiful and inspiring in its poetic thought and stunning imagery.
Barbara F. Landis
This is a marvelous collection of writings from the works of Thomas Merton, the Trappist Monk, assembled in the form of a book of hours.
Loretta Hoffmann

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

206 of 211 people found the following review helpful By Carol Blank TOP 1000 REVIEWER on February 16, 2007
Format: Hardcover
It feels presumptuous to comment on a gracefully written and illustrated work based on the words of one of the twentieth century's greatest spiritual writers. Nonetheless, my take on this prayer book may add a little something to the high praise expressed by Merton scholars in the foreword and jacket remarks.

Kathleen Deignan's introduction, in addition to providing background on Thomas Merton, describes the practice of praying a Book of Hours. Her version consists of excerpts from a variety of Merton's works presented as familiar liturgical elements such as psalms, litanies, intercessions, hymns, and epistles. She invites us to "let this breviary serve our soul-needs" using whatever elements appeal to us during the time we have.

The first time I prayed with the book, I was drawn to these words from the Lesson: "Keep your eyes clean and your ears quiet and your mind serene." What would it mean for me to do each of those, and could I add other, similar cautions? Maybe lips or tongue or mouth in relation to fasting and praying? During a later session, I discovered an antiphon that exemplifies Merton's moments of pure exuberance in the midst of more formal expression: "You have to be all the time cooperating with the love and love sets a fast pace even at the beginning and, if you don't keep up, you'll get dropped." I was grateful that Deignan included this one, and also a long passage from Merton's Fire Walk story, considered by many to be the greatest piece of spiritual writing of its time.

Although this Book of Hours is in itself enough material for unlimited reflection, the author has wisely understood that many readers will want more Merton. To help them, she has added a simple system for identifying the source of each passage at the end of the book.
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75 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Jane R. Krebs on March 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a great read for Lent. Just received this book a couple of days ago. The various writings of Merton are arranged in a Liturgy of the Hours format. This book is like an old friend, comfortable, deep, and something to "sit" with. I am buying another copy for my daughter and will recommend it highly to my Centering Prayer group.
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54 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Francis Champine on May 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Book of Hours by Thomas Merton called me to a deeper sense of myself. Each day of the week, Merton's thoughts, meditations, and prayers pulled me into a journey of love. Merton is considered one of the great spiritual directors of the 20th century. The anguish and joy through his own journey toward the mystery we call God acts as a guidepost for those who wish to find the peace that only God can offer. This little gem of a book enables those who want to find a more penetrating prayer time to find words and images that help in the journey to the "small light that burns within each of us, that light being God."

The editors manipulated a wealth of Merton's poetry, letters, canticles and journal entries to meld into a liturgically poetic book of hours or opus dei for the every day. The reader is presented with a week's worth of prayers and meditations organized in the traditional monastic style. However, instead of the seven hours or calls to prayer in the day, the editors shaped the daily prayer into four notable "hours:" Dawn, Day, Dusk, and Dark. Each part of the day brings the reader a reason to move forward, a reason to be, a reason to love each other more.

Merton's writing is never an easy read. He demands much of his audience. Often a meditation or prayer needs to be reread to glean its potential meaning for the reader, but that is the beauty of reading the mind of a seeker of peace in this world and the next. For those new to Merton, there may be an urge to put the little tome down, but hang in there. With every paragraph, this monk provides another window for inspiration and contemplation. He even encourages creative responses to silence:

Night calls, the door opens;

Darkness envelops the walk.

Forest stars bring me home.

Frank Champine

Langhorne, PA
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Loretta Hoffmann on September 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a marvelous collection of writings from the works of Thomas Merton, the Trappist Monk, assembled in the form of a book of hours. Even if you are not particularly knowledgable about Merton's writings, you will find his comments on so many aspects of the spiritual life meaningful and tantalizing, you will want to study his works further. The author does include an index that gives the source of each selection included for the particular time and day of the week. Although he lived from 1915 - 1968, you will feel he is writing for right now. Included are writings for Dawn, Day, Dusk and Dark on each day of the week. You might think that only seven days would not be enough to keep you interested. But, as with much of Holy Scripture, something new and fresh appears with repetition. The author includes an informed introduction to her selections for Thomas Merton: A Book of Hours.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By K. K. Nicholson on March 29, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This compact book allows me to bring these prayers whereever I go. When I need a bit of insight to stop & think, I take out this version. Separating the volume into days is perfect. I was looking for a prayer book of this kind for years.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By N. Moore on June 13, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Many of us get so busy each day that when we try to pray or meditate, the world crowds in on us. This book is simply a guide to meditation and prayer and has been a Godsend to me.
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