Sunday, November 28, 2010
Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton: Still Reading!
I've finished part two of 'Seven Storey Mountain' and have gotten into part three. It's going to be a difficult task to give a review of this book, since there is so much in it that I could comment on. I'm going to try to just give excerpts and comment on them from time to time as I read. There are things I can relate to and agree with in Merton's story of conversion, and then there are things I definitely disagree with, so reading this book has been a very odd experience, since to me it feels like Merton is being influenced by two separate parties which sometimes coincide with one another and sometimes oppose one another: God and Catholicism; specifically, on one side I see God and Scripture and on the other side I see Catholic philosophy, history, and devotion to 'the Mother of God'. Catholics will see no contradiction between these influences, but going with Merton's own description of entering into the 'wilderness' like the Israelites following Moses, I believe he, like all Christians, encountered the same trials and temptations that the Israelites did and, again like all Christians, succombed to some of them. I would count Merton's devotion to Mary as one of those temptations. Merton is very critical of protestantism in this book and probably considered that protestants have fallen into certain of these temptations too. We are so able to see others' failings, but not our own so easily. If only we could listen to one another humbly, and give exhortation in love, we could learn so much. I wonder what he would say about me, for instance. My book is at home and I'm not, so I'll have to post some excerpts later on and comment on them.