Thomas Merton on the Contemplative Way

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Thomas Merton on the Contemplative Way

  • Monk, Mystic, Author
Introductory Lecture + 10 Talks on 3 CDs
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Audio Sample:

Follow the contemplative path with Thomas Merton as your guide.

In 1942, Merton relinquished a promising academic career to join the Abbey of Gethsemani. Instead of running away from the world, however, he developed his most profound wisdom about it.

In Contemplation and Consecration, a set of talks that Merton delivered near the end of his life, you will hear the voice of a mystic at the height of his wisdom. Originally recorded for the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, these talks wrestle with the complexities of contemplation in action, delving into such topics as renewal, prayer, and affirming God.

Delivered in the summer of 1967, Merton’s lectures capture a world in transition. On the heels of Vatican II, religious communities were experiencing a time of renewal and deep questioning. In this milieu, Pope Paul VI asked two Cistercian monks to write a letter from contemplatives to the world. To do so, they sought the advice of Thomas Merton, a master of contemplation.

This remarkable set gives you the rare opportunity to hear Merton’s recordings of the letters he wrote in response to this request. As Merton says in the talks, the contemplative life is not limited to those in solitude. Indeed, Merton will illustrate how we are all called to live contemplatively.

 Delivered with his trademark eloquence and erudition, this set contains a font of wisdom, at the heart of which lies a sense of hope and an abiding awareness of God’s presence in the world. Let Thomas Merton speak to your soul today.

This set includes an afterword by Anthony Ciorra.


Photograph of Thomas Merton by John Howard Griffin. Used with the permission of the Merton Legacy Trust and the Thomas Merton Center.



Learn about downloadable programs.

*This set was previously published under the title “Man to Man”: A Message of Contemplatives to the World. It contains essentially the same content.

**Photograph of Thomas Merton by Sibylle Akers. Used with Permission of the Merton Legacy Trust and the Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University.  These recordings are from the archives of the Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University, in Louisville, Kentucky.

Topic Titles
Topic Titles
  • A Message of Contemplatives to the World
  • Man, God, and Prayer
  • True Contemplatives
  • Renewal of True Contemplation
  • Reevaluation of Contemplative Aims
  • Prayer and Imagination
  • Cloistered Alienation
  • Matters of Sin and Psychology
  • Renewal of the Contemplative Life
  • Concluding Comments
  • Afterward by Fr. Anthony Ciorra, Ph.D.
About Your Presenter

Thomas Merton was a Trappist monk and bestselling author of such beloved works as The Seven Storey Mountain and New Seeds of Contemplation. One of the 20th century’s great mystics, Merton was also a masterful teacher who delivered powerful conferences to the novice monks at the Abbey of Gethsemani. In these conferences, Merton’s thinking moved from cloistered monastic life to issues of social justice and interreligious understanding. A spiritual sage and guide for countless men and women, Merton struggled with complex questions about God’s existence and the role of organized religion.

Those who knew him also experienced his gifts as a homilist and teacher. These special, remastered recordings are part of his spoken word legacy. They are actual recordings of Thomas Merton. By agreement with The Thomas Merton Legacy Trust, Now You Know Media has the sole right to record, master, re-master, duplicate, market, and disseminate copies of "The Merton Recordings," which are a selection of the archives housed in the Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky.

Fr. Anthony Ciorra, Ph.D., is a leading expert on Catholic spirituality. He was ordained as a priest in 1973. In recognition of his ministry in the Church, Pope John Paul II awarded him the pontifical honor Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice in 1999. Fr. Ciorra was also awarded the Caritas Centennial Award in 2000 for his work in lay ministry and the Spirit of RENEW Award for his work in interreligious dialogue and ecumenism.

Fr. Ciorra's books include Everyday Mysticism (Crossroad, 1995), Beauty: A Path to God (Paulist Press, 2013), and Moral Formation in the Parish (Alba House, 1998). He is also the co-editor, with Dr. Michael W. Higgins, of Vatican II: A Universal Call to Holiness (Paulist, 2012).

Fr. Ciorra holds graduate degrees in psychology, spirituality, and pastoral theology. He earned his Ph.D. in historical theology from Fordham University.

Currently, Fr. Ciorra is Vice President for Mission and Catholic Identity and Professor of Theology at Sacred Heart University. Previously, he served as dean of the Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education at Fordham University, director of the Center for Theological and Spiritual Development a...

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