In these conferences dating to 1961, Thomas Merton provides for his audience of young monks an overview of major themes and figures in the Christian mystical tradition as an integral part of their religious inheritance and a crucial part of their spiritual formation. From Fathers of the Church such as St Athanasius and St Gregory of Nyssa, through such important medieval theologians as St Bonaventure, Hadewijch and Meister Eckhart, to the great Spanish Carmelites St Teresa of Avila and St John of the Cross, Merton traces such key topics as the integration of theology and spirituality; the importance of "natural contemplation"—recognizing the divine presence in creation; the centrality of apophatic or "dark" contemplation; and the role of spiritual direction in forming mature and balanced contemplatives.
Translated, with an introduction, by Sebastian Brock
From the semitic-aramaic spirituality of the early Church to the hellenized theological vision of later centuries, the syrian tradition offers modern Christians an intensity, insights, and an immediacy rare in the West.
Scripture brings the Word of God to us when we read and welcome it in faith as the Word which comes from God and leads to God. Scripture is the means by which we live in God. The ancient monastic (and patristic) way of reading Scripture involves reflection (meditation) and prayer. It is listening to the Word, allowing the Word to become active in our lives. It is, in the words of Saint Jerome, 'opening our sails to the Holy Spirit without knowing on what shores we will land.'
As founding abbot of Clairvaux, Bernard's giftedness and good judgment made him an often-sought resource by both church and secular powers, and in that capacity, he was sometimes delightful and sometimes dismaying to those who encountered him.But when it comes to prayer, says Maureen F. McCabe, OCSO, Bernard can only delight. Anyone who gives him a chance will discover teachings full of unction and spiritual discernment. He draws us to continual prayer through an unshakable confidence in the One who believes in our capacity to love without limits, no matter what state we're in or stage we're at. He stirs us to continual gratitude for and reflection upon the mercies of the Lord, especially in his passion. Bernard, says Mother Maureen, is truly a father—father of the church and father of souls. In I Am the Way, she endeavors above all to allow Bernard's voice to be heard in all its resonance and penetration.Mother Maureen F. McCabe, OCSO, entered Mount Saint Mary's Abbey in Wrentham, Massachusetts, in 1972, after having taught high school theology and done graduate study in Scripture. She served as novice director in the community for seventeen years and in 2008 was elected abbess. She is the author of Inside the Psalms: Reflections for Novices also from Cistercian Publications.