- Also check our best rated Biography reviews
Learning to Love: Exploring Solitude and Freedom, The Journals of Thomas Merton, Volume Six: 1966-67: 1966-67 - Learning to Love: Exploring Solitude and Freedom v. 6 Hardcover – 5 Jan 1998
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Would you like to tell us about a lower price?
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Originally published in 1998, the sixth volume of the journals of Trappist monk, Thomas Merton. It covers the years 1966-67, in which the author falls in love with a nurse and has to reassess his commitment to celibacy and the monastic vocation.
From the Back Cover
JUNE 9 1966
Concelebration early. I stood there among all the others, soberly aware of myself as a priest who has a woman… Before God I think we have been conscientious and have kept our love good. Yet is it reasonable for me to be writing her love poems – even a song?
True as our love may be, we have to be perfectly realistic about it. Today especially I was thinking we must be realistic in our expectations for the future. There just is no real future for our love as a real 'love' affair. In heaven maybe we will be one. It is perhaps true that she loves me more than she ever loved anyone and that she wants to give herself totally to me for life. But we cannot do anything about it. I see clearly that we are both torn by contradictions… I see that I have to really 'love her' and not just love love or love her body. It is a training in realism and in love of 'the person' she is (a person inexhaustibly beautiful and lovable to me).
- from 'Learning to Love'
I have no intention of keeping the M. business out of sight. I have always wanted to be completely open, both about my mistakes and about my effort to make sense out of my life. The affair with M. is an important part of it – and shows my limitations as well as a side of me that is – well, it needs to be known too, for it is a part of me. My need for love, my loneliness, my inner division, the struggle in which solitude is at once a problem and a 'solution'. And perhaps not a perfect solution either.
- May 11 1967
The sixth volume of Thomas Merton's acclaimed journals is the most revealing and unpredictable yet as the cloistered Merton falls is love with a beautiful young nurse. Revealed here in its entirety for the first time, Merton's passion spills across the pages as he struggles to reconcile this unexpected love with his monastic vows.
Spanning from 1966 to 1967, 'Learning to Love' finds Merton in his most active period. Troubled by events at home and abroad, he expresses anger at wars in Vietnam and the Middle East and outrage at racism and injustice in American society. At his intellectual peak, he reads widely and voraciously, carries on an active global correspondence, receives such high-profile friends as Joan Baez, Jacques Maritain, and Thich Nhat Hanh, and writes insightful essays on topics from Zen Buddhism and Vatican II to the works of Albert Camus – all the while penning poignant love poems for M., furtively calling her from the monastery, and arranging to meet with her, all the while searching his soul for the answers to this crisis of the heart that has 'made a mess out of everything'.
Inevitably, the affair is discovered and Merton is forced to acknowledge the consequence of his situation. Bewildered and desperate, he reassesses his need for love and his commitment to celibacy and the monastic vocation and discovers, painfully, that the only possible solitude is 'the solitude of the frail, mortal, limited, distressed, rebellious human person, made of his loves and fears, facing his own true present.' Revealing Merton to be 'very human' in his chronicles of the ecstasy and torment of being in love, 'Learning to Love' comes full circle as he recommits himself completely and more deeply to his vocation – the very 'root-fact of my existence' – with a new and deeper understanding of the nature of both worldly and spiritual love.
"When all the journals are published, it is likely that they will take their place with the famous journals of Henry David Thoreau, G.M. Hopkins, Edmund Wilson, and perhaps be seen as an American version of St Augustine's 'Confessions'"
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE
Christine M. Bochen is professor of religious studies at Nazareth College at Rochester. A founding member of the International Thomas Merton Society, she edited the fourth volume of Merton's letters, 'The Courage for Truth.'See all Product description
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
"I recently purchased Learning To Love: Exploring Solitude and Freedom by Thomas Merton for my Kindle. I have to say that this book was full of copious typos, more so than many of the free Kindle ebooks. I am rather appalled to have paid $10.99 for a book so riddled with errors. Every time a word appeared that had "tl" in it, it showed up as a "d". For example, "little" appeared as "litde," "subtle" was "subde," etc. This is only one type of example, several other letters were repeatedly distorted in very strange ways as well. This book is a journal with dated entries that are supposed to be in chronological order. At one point the entry dates read "June 28" followed by "June 20" and then "June 50"! Seriously?! This was very distracting and sometimes it was quite hard to decipher words in the book. I don't feel like I should have to pay $10.99 for a book I had to decode on nearly every page. This was ultimately too frustrating and I am going to try to buy a used copy of the printed version. I really cannot believe that this was put out by a major publisher (HarperCollins) with so many errors. There is no way that somebody actually proofread the Kindle version of this book. I am going to leave a copy of this email as a review on the product page because I do not think major publishers should get away with selling ebooks that have obviously not been proofed and edited, and I don't think readers will appreciate all these distracting errors. Amazon.com is a great company and I have always appreciated the excellent customer service. I do hope that you will let this publisher know about the bad quality of this ebook. I also hope that it is possible to get a refund for this item."
I wanted everyone considering buying the Kindle version to be aware of these errors. You can read this book, but only if you are prepared to overlook errors, sometimes several, on practically every page. If you are trying to have a mental sense of Merton's timeline, it is especially distracting that the journal entry dates are wrong in several places. By all means, get a hard copy, you will not regret it! Merton's journals are amazing, especially this sixth volume with its chronicle of Merton's love affair and the ensuing tension between romance and his vocation. I have not finished it yet, but look forward to reading the rest in a printed version.
One wonders, after it's all over, what "M" must have gone through, with Merton going this way and that, loving and then withdrawing to his safe place. This book is an important one to read to understand the vagaries of human nature and how easily we can be tossed about and thrown from our self-created pedestals.