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The Seven Storey Mountain Paperback – October 4, 1999
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From Library Journal
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Merton writes in a clear, matter-of-fact, self-depreciating style that is quite attractive. He makes the reader feel as "if this too, could happen to them", because Merton himself is portrayed as just a common man - filled with sin and propensity for wrong decision-making, but on the road to God nevertheless.
Merton shows us that our religious conversion is more than just a point in time: it is a journey in God.
I would especially recommend this book to young adult Catholics and those who were not in the Catholic Church during the pre-Vatican II period. The book goes into a fair amount of detail regarding Merton's experience in that Church, and for this reason, might be of interest to those who have come into the Catholic Church since the mid-1960's.
Merton loved music, women, good food, yet he also had a yearning to be free of the world. He describes the ascetic diet at the abbey--meat is forbidden, even fish not eaten, and the monks do heavy agricultural work on bread, vegetables, cheese, and in the evening, maybe a small dish of applesauce. Despite the hardships, Merton finds that becoming a priest is the most meaningful thing ever to happen to him. This book is his memoir of becoming a priest and his spiritual climb from a self-indulgent youth to a mature man continually on the search for spiritual peace and enlightenment. Thus the title "seven storey mountain" aptly taken from the mountain of Purgatory in Dante's Divine Comedy--a place of punishment, though temporary, on the way to Heaven.
Merton's writing made him so famous he sought a hermitage at the abbey. He never seemed quite comfortable anywhere. His sense of discomfort with himself and his exquisite sensibility to spiritual heights make for fascinating reading.
When I presented her with a new copy of this edition, I asked if I could read aloud my favorite passage (early in the book) concerning Thomas Merton's `little brother' John Paul (five years younger) who, like his older brother was a French-born, American citizen.
Late in the book Thomas Merton tells us how John Paul was compelled early in WWII to join the Royal Canadian Air Force (and trained right here in Manitoba! John Paul Merton had been flying bombing runs over a real sandy desert on the prairie just outside nearby Camp Shilo, where today's Canadian Artillery Officers still train. My late father was flown at Canadian Army expense each year, late in life, to address the graduating officers at that camp: Small world!)
Just before leaving for overseas, John Paul flew to see his older brother Thomas and, not incidentally, be Baptized, and welcomed into the Catholic faith. Then he left for England (and was killed in action the next year, when his RAF bomber went down over the English Channel).
His death provides the moving culmination to this book - bringing the reader `full circle' from the moment (back on page 25) when Thomas Merton introduces us to John Paul. (What follows is the passage that moves me to tears when I read it aloud to a friend.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
. Writen soon after he entered the monestary it seemed he was still enthralled with his conversion. I am finding his journals much easier to read.Published 2 days ago by Nancy Allman
Super storyteller. Learn history while enjoying this fascinating read.Published 6 days ago by seveneagles
I am enjoying this book and was pleased to get such quick delivery. The condition of the book was just as stated.Published 13 days ago by Anne S Rodriguez
Wonderful book! Much guidance for one's own spiritual life can be gleaned from his life's story.Published 16 days ago by Joyce E
I love the testimony of his powerful call from God. His words are beautiful as his faith grows.Published 1 month ago by jerri Gonzales
Not my favorite Merton. More than a little self-absorbed. Suggest reading one of his more philosophical works - New Seeds of Contemplation, for example.Published 1 month ago by Andrew L. Gallo