A labor of love

The Seven Storey Mountain

SevenstoreymountainI’m reading The Seven Storey Mountain, Thomas Merton’s autobiography. The intelligence and beauty of the writing are breathtaking. Here’s how it starts:

“On the last day of January 1915, under the sign of the Water Bearer, in a year of a great war, and down in the shadow of some French mountains on the borders of Spain, I came into the world. Free by nature, in the image of God, I was nevertheless the prisoner of my own violence and my own selfishness, in the image of the world into which I was born. That world was the picture of Hell, full of men like myself, loving God and yet hating Him; born to love Him, living instead in fear and hopeless self-contradictory hungers.

“Not many hundreds of miles away from the house where I was born, they were picking up the men who rotted in the rainy ditches among the dead horses and the ruined seventy-fives, in a forest of trees without branches along the river Marne.”

To which I say, “Wow!”


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