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Advent and Christmas with Thomas Merton (A Redemptorist Pastoral Publication) Paperback – July 16, 2002
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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.
Top customer reviews
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. Father Merton used this example as what men and women should aspire to after reading and reflection. Men and women should radiate bona fide love and avoid useless noise. Father Merton mentioned the Catholic Church bells are reminders of peace as opposed to stupidity and violence.
Father Merton's Advent reflections are clear that biblial literature, The Sacraments, etc. do not annihilate us but help us to be much better people. We should become someone else, and Father Merton stated that Advent was a good time to become a monk or nun if one had accepted such a vocation. Father Merton wrote that Advent is a time for hope-bona fide hope and not false hopes. Meekness, sadness, etc. do not necessarily mean despair. Advent and what it signifies can lead men and women to be more resolute.
Again, Father Merton wanted men and women should focus on "Ultimate Values" and escape from a depressing "here-and-now." Men and women should know the difference between truth and power. Power vanishes, but truth is lasting. This means that examination of conscience is necessary.
Father Merton's book has excerpts from biblical literature, his own work, and prayers. The book has suggested formats and suggested prayers and readings to help men and women find Advent more meaningful. Given the aggrevated assault-and-battary and murder during mindless anger during the Christmas shopping sprees, Father Merton's book is a reminder of what Advent is, and what it is not.
James E. Egolf
November 28, 2011
It's a resource that can be as little or as much as you want to put in each day.
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both the days of Advent and the 12 days of Christmas.