Retreat at Gethsemani Abbey 2018

As I have done for the last few years, I began my summer with a retreat at Gethsemani Abbey. And as I have done each year, I chose a book by Thomas Merton to help me engage with the experience of being at Gethsemani Abbey. In the past I have read Merton?s books Seven Story Mountain and New Seeds of Contemplation. I found that Merton?s contemplative approach afforded me a way to connect with the experience of the Abbey even though I am not familiar with Catholic practices. This year I discovered a series of talks by Merton, talks on literature and religion he gave at the Abbey in the 1960s?yet another way for me to connect in addition to the contemplative approach! I listened to his talk on Bernard of Clairvaux, the founder of the Cistercian Order, and a series of talks he gave on William Faulkner.

In Merton?s talk on Bernard of Clairvaux, he analyzes St. Bernard?s hagiography as a model for monastics. Merton makes the point that the monastic?s path is […]