born: 31 January 1915 died: 10 December 1968
One of the great spiritual classics of the twentieth century is Thomas Merton’s Seven Story Mountain. Within minutes of its publication in 1948 it became a best-seller, and one of the books most read by people who were seeking God both within and without the Church through the 1950’s and ’60’s.
Following this early spiritual autobiography, Merton went on to share a string of inspirational writings, and a Merton website provides a list of these with an introduction to his works. You can savour some Merton quotations at this link. A number of youtube clips are also available including these clips from the Merton youtube channel, and this last clip just an hour before his untimely death.
Merton died on 10 December 1968. His legacy is particularly difficult for people who prefer their saints to be sugar-coated, without any hint of earthly imperfection. But the rest of us find great consolation in Merton: one whose human weakness is overshadowed and repeatedly transformed by the workings of grace.