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Advent and Christmas with Thomas Merton (A Redemptorist Pastoral Publication) Paperback – July 16, 2002


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Advent and Christmas with Thomas Merton (A Redemptorist Pastoral Publication) + Advent and Christmas Wisdom from Henri J.M. Nouwen: Daily Scripture and Prayers together with Nouwen's Own Words + God Is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 100 pages
  • Publisher: Liguori Publications (July 16, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764808435
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764808432
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.3 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #932,431 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"It is important to remember the deep... seriousness of Advent, when the mendacious celebrations of our marketing culture so easily harmonize with our tendency to regard Christmas, consciously or otherwise, as a return to our own innocence and our own infancy...." So wrote Thomas Merton, the mystical Trappist who was probably the most famous American monk of the 20th century. Here, some of Merton's writings on Advent and Christmas are offered in a day-by-day format, each one paired with a scripture passage and a daily prayer. Merton's excerpts are taken from his well-known autobiography The Seven Storey Mountain and the liturgical guide Seasons of Celebration, but also from some of his more esoteric books, such as Zen and the Birds of Appetite. The editors' prayers don't match the quality of these excerpts, but the book's overall effect is reflective and thoughtful.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

A Redemptorist Pastoral Publication is often written by more than one author. These publications approach sometimes-difficult topics using a down-to-earth style consistent with the pastoral understanding and care Redemptorists are known for in their ministry to individuals.

More About the Author

Thomas Merton (1915-1968) is arguably the most influential American Catholic author of the twentieth century. His autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain, has millions of copies and has been translated into over fifteen languages. He wrote over sixty other books and hundreds of poems and articles on topics ranging from monastic spirituality to civil rights, nonviolence, and the nuclear arms race.

After a rambunctious youth and adolescence, Merton converted to Roman Catholicism and entered the Abbey of Gethsemani, a community of monks belonging to the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance (Trappists), the most ascetic Roman Catholic monastic order.

The twenty-seven years he spent in Gethsemani brought about profound changes in his self-understanding. This ongoing conversion impelled him into the political arena, where he became, according to Daniel Berrigan, the conscience of the peace movement of the 1960's. Referring to race and peace as the two most urgent issues of our time, Merton was a strong supporter of the nonviolent civil rights movement, which he called "certainly the greatest example of Christian faith in action in the social history of the United States." For his social activism Merton endured severe criticism, from Catholics and non-Catholics alike, who assailed his political writings as unbecoming of a monk.

During his last years, he became deeply interested in Asian religions, particularly Zen Buddhism, and in promoting East-West dialogue. After several meetings with Merton during the American monk's trip to the Far East in 1968, the Dali Lama praised him as having a more profound understanding of Buddhism than any other Christian he had known. It was during this trip to a conference on East-West monastic dialogue that Merton died, in Bangkok on December 10, 1968, the victim of an accidental electrocution. The date marked the twenty-seventh anniversary of his entrance to Gethsemani.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 43 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
I used this book as a daily prayer and meditation guide during this past Advent and Christmas season and loved it. Some great nuggets of Merton's wisdom are provided and coupled with Bible readings as well as daily prayers.
The selections are fantastic as are the prayers. I even used one of the prayers as "grace" during an extended family meal.
There are also a couple "formats" given for a way to incorporate the readings into a more structured group or personal reflection.
If you like Thomas Merton, you will enjoy this book as a tool in preparing and focusing on the beauty and mystery of Christmas.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J. McCallum on December 30, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Advent and Christmas with Thomas Merton provided a spiritually exhilarating guide through the Season of Advent. I have been a fan of Merton's writing since the 70's and have always found them to be challenging and spiritually rewarding. When this Redemptorist publication appeared on my Amazon suggestions, I immediately ordered it, and was not dissappointed. I am thankful for Amazon's guidance and for the experience of using this book for Advent. It is written using a compilation of Merton's many works, set in a daily format to follow the Advent calendar. I also purchased the Redemptorist publication Advent and Christmas with Henri Nouwen's . Together they formed the nucleus for my Advent study, one for morning prayer, the other for evening. Both also include the 12 days of Christmas following Christmas Day, thus I continue my journey with Merton and Nouwen, men whose work transcends theology and Catholicism, and get to the root of the Christian and human experience.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By James E. Egolf VINE VOICE on November 28, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Father Thomas Merton (1915-1968)converted to Catholicism in 1938, was rejected by the Franciscans for an unsavory past, and became a Trappist monk. He was ordained as a Catholic priest in 1949 and became a prolific writer whose work appealed to both Catholics and non-Catholics. His work showed men and women who they are and who they should be. The book titled ADVENT AND CHRISTMAS WITH THOMAS MERTON was published by the Redemptorists in 2002, and is a timely book of contemplation especially during the Catholic season of Advent and Christmas.

Advent can mean beginning or coming such as the arrival of Christmas. Father Merton argued that Christ can come to us at birth, impression, death, and judgement. Merton thought we should be awake to spiritual renewal as soon and as often as possible to understand what is crucial before it is too late. In other words, we should reject what is false and learn what is ultimately true and inspired. Father Merton thought evil, stupid men and women were not quite able to destroy civilization because just enough thoughtful spiritual men have existed to halt such destruction-for the time being.

Father Merton viewed Advent as "Sacrament" or the Real Presence of God. Father Merton thought the Real Presence was for contemporary times and not to be postponed which Father Merton thought made men and women dull and apathetic. Father Merton was emphatic that we should show light and joy as opposed to dull apathy.

Father Merton's Advent and Christmas prayers and reflection dealt with The Virgin's answer "yes" during the Announciation, and readers can read that the Virgin was filled with joy which she shared with Elizabeth and others during the Nativity.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rev Cheryl D. Heater on December 17, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a pastor, I found this to be a helpful choice for a busy time. The Advent scriptures, a selection from Merton's writings, and a prayer are all short enough to be read in a few minutes. But they also have enough weight to hold onto for the day. I find myself holding onto something from the material if I read it in the morning. Then there are the options at the end of the book to use as guides for a daily examin.

It's a resource that can be as little or as much as you want to put in each day.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Melanie D. Dewey on January 4, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Have thoroughly enjoyed this book of advent devotionals. They are the perfect length and it is nice that they do not stop at Christmas but continue for the twelve days after.
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