Thomas Merton's life, especially once he had become a writer, was to a great extent one of dialogue with people who were distant, both geographically and historically. In these probing and perceptive studies, Rowan Williams looks closely at the key intellectual and spiritual relationships that emerge in Merton's writings, exploring the impact on him of thinkers as diverse as Hannah Arendt, Karl Barth, William Blake, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Olivier Clement, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Paul Evdokimov, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Vladimir Lossky, John Henry Newman, Boris Pasternak and St John of the Cross.
Spiritual identity is the quest to know who we are, to find meaning in life and to overcome that sense of "is that all there is?"
At the heart of this quest are found Thomas Meron's illuminating insights leading from an awareness of the false and illusory self as the way to a realization of the true self.
For twenty-five years, Merton's Palace of Nowhere has been the standard for exploring, reflecting on, and understanding this rich vein of Merton's thought.
There is a traditional saying of ancient wisdom: 'A threshold is a sacred thing. In some places of the world, in some traditional cultures and in monastic life, this is still remembered. It is something, however, that we often forget today. To take time to pause at a threshold - be it a place, or a moment between one action and the next - is to show reverence for the handling of space and time, and respect for those who we meet. Pausing allows us to let go of all the demands and expectations of the previous activity, and to prepare for the encounter with another. Esther de Waal explores what this ancient wisdom has to teach us about our public lives in the world today.
Downward Mobility and the Spiritual Life by Henri Nouwen
In these short reflections Herne Nouwen explores the theme of downward mobility as the way of Christ, and the things that tempt us away from it, namely, the lure of success, of power, of being needed and important. Originally serialized in the magazine Sojourners, Nouwen wrote the articles during his years as a professor at Yale Divinity School. There he enjoyed academic success and found fame as a spiritual writer, but was struggling to find his true vocation. Here he seeks to explain for himself and his readers how choosing the downwardly mobile path can, conversely, be the means of growth and new life in Christ.