A Monastic Introduction to Sacred Scripture

A Monastic Introduction to Sacred Scripture

Novitiate Conferences on Scripture and Liturgy 1

Thomas Merton


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Among the numerous sets of conferences that Thomas Merton presented to young prospective monks during his decade (1955-1965) as novice master at the Cistercian Abbey of Gethsemani is a wide-ranging introduction to biblical studies, made available for the first time in the present volume. Drawing on church tradition, teaching of recent papal documents, and scholarly resources of the time, he reveals the central importance of the Scriptures for the spiritual growth of his listeners. The extensive introduction situates material of these conferences in the context of Merton's evolving engagement with the Bible from his own days as a student monk through the mature reflections from his final years on the biblical renewal in the wake of the Second Vatican Council. For Merton, at the heart of any meaningful reading of the Scriptures, not only for monks but for all Christians, is the invitation to respond not just intellectually but with the whole self, to recognize the gospel as "good news," as a saving, liberating, consoling, challenging word, reflecting his fundamental belief that "the Holy Spirit enlightens us, in our reading, to see how our own lives are part of these great mysteries--how we are one with Jesus in them."


Thomas Merton:
Thomas Merton (1915–1968) was a seminal figure of twentieth-century American Christianity. Among his many books are his best-selling autobiography The Seven Storey Mountain (1948) and the modern spiritual classic New Seeds of Contemplation (1961).

Patrick F. O’Connell, a founding member of the International Thomas Merton Society (ITMS) is coauthor of The Thomas Merton Encyclopedia (2002). He has edited twelve previous volumes of Thomas Merton’s writings, including Thomas Merton: Selected Essays (2013) and Cistercian Fathers and Forefathers (2018).