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Becoming Who You Are: Insights on the True Self from Thomas Merton and Other Saints (Christian Classics) Paperback – September 1, 2006
"Beautiful Uncertainty" by Mandy Hale
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This compelling book is a kind of prayer that can help us become what we were meant to be. -- Greg Kandra, CBS News
This small gem of a book illuminates an insight at once paradoxical and deeply liberating. --Robert Ellsberg, author, The Saints' Guide to Happiness
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Top Customer Reviews
Martin offers a short biography of Merton's life as well as an overview of his own life. Then he delves into the heart of the issue. We are all created for holiness, yet our particular brand of holiness is unique to each one of us. In the process of reaching for holiness, "one's own individuality, one's own brand of holiness is gradually revealed. Our personalities are not eradicated as much as they are made fuller, more real, and finally more holy."
Martin briefly touches on the unique brands of holiness illustrated in the lives of the first Apostles, Mother Teresa, Dorothy Day, St. Bernadette and St. Therese. He also offers a longer exploration of the life of Henri Nouwen, another major influence in the author's life. Perhaps the most interesting chapter of the book focuses on the life of Jesus Christ. He speculates on how Jesus came to realize who he was and how to live out his mission in the world.
In "Becoming Who You Are," Martin encourages all of us to embrace the way that God made us, the circumstances of our lives, and our unique path to holiness.Read more ›
The Length of this book, its size and its content makes this book perfect for segmented devotional reading. Providing much to meditate on, "Becoming Who You Are" is a great read for the subway commute or the quiet time in the morning/evening/before church.
The message of this book is key. Without becoming superfluous in an "I'm ok, you're ok, we're ok" manner, Martin challenges the reader to really search deep within her or himself to find God's grace in his or her life that will enable that person to become the saint they always have been and the God created each person to be. This is a very nice book. I await the publication of Martin's "Lourdes Journal."
The Mertonian (actually, it's quite ancient, but Merton made it famous in our day and time) distinction between "true" and "false" self is pretty well known and has been formulated and reformulated time and again. The false self is the persona we present to the world; the true self is who we are before God. We can be just as deceived about our true identity as others around us are deceived. The spiritual journey is to grow into an awareness of true self, because this necessarily means growing into an awareness of God as well.
In exploring the true self/false self distinction, Martin basically culls some quotes from Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, and Mother Theresa and intersperses among them autobiographical reflections (these latter are actually what make the book interesting). But nothing new is said.
To be fair, perhaps the book is intended as an absolute primer for absolute beginners (after all, it grew, Martin tells us, from a popular lecture he gave in a NYC church), and so is bound to disappoint readers who have even a passing acquaintance with Merton or Nouwen. But I suspect that it also might be an example of yet one more book the world could've done without, but which the rising reputation of the author made marketable. Whichever the case, the book's back cover enthusiastic endorsements (all by people I immensely admire) seem---well, rather overdone.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent review of Merton and Nouwen. Very well written and organized.Published 9 days ago by Charlene Rossignol
If you want to refresh your memory about Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen and other spiritual seekers, this audible by James Martin will take you back and remind us once again that we... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Jackie St. Hilaire
Excellent book. I would highly recommend it for everyone regardless of their religious affiliation.
Keep the books coming.
I had lots of problems with this book, but won't expound here. It just wasn't for me: I thought the whole trajectory was a bit narcissistic (I had to read this for a spiritual... Read morePublished 2 months ago by G. Hunt
The book offers the reminder: the authentic person is the one who remains true to his or her principles. And it is the authentic person who can live an honest life.Published 3 months ago by Lawrence W. Meegan
A good synopsis of thought by two catholic mystic leadersPublished 4 months ago by Melanie E. Spritz
This was a very thought provoking book and couldn't have came into my hands at a better time. I've often pondered who my real self is and this book has started to make the wheels... Read morePublished 4 months ago by John Prejean
This book is an invitation to holiness. These reflections upon the lives of Thomas Merton and Henri Nouwen through the lens of father James Martin's own journey are a call to... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer