Join Thomas Merton in exploring one of the most influential figures in the history of spirituality.
Born in the fourth century, Saint John Cassian (A.D. 360 – 435) lived when tensions between the traditional and innovative peaked. A monk and theologian, Cassian made the Christian tradition relevant for the needs of his day in his spiritual works. Indeed, his spirituality remains essential today; he influenced Saints Benedict and Ignatius of Loyola, and his works continue to be read worldwide.
Now, you have the opportunity to discover the vitality of Cassian’s philosophy of prayer with Thomas Merton in these remastered recordings of his lectures. A teacher par excellence, Merton breathes new life into ancient texts as he passes tradition onto novices. Merton’s lectures are not didactic presentations about Cassian’s teachings but rather an application of them for the modern world.
Cassian integrated Eastern monasticism into Western thought, and his Conferences provide the principles of monastic life: unceasing prayer, charity, and asceticism. Especially compelling are his teachings about prayer and virtue and his examination of the “prayer of fire” as the goal of contemplation.
Merton guides you through these topics and more in his captivating conferences. You will discover why the mysticism of John Cassian is cherished in the monastic tradition and the wider Christian community alike. These conferences will inspire you as you explore your own spiritual life.
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***“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.
About Your Presenter
Thomas Merton was a Trappist monk and best-selling 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, moral values, 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 and are part of the archives of the Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky.
About Your Presenter
Fr. Anthony Ciorra was ordained as a priest in 1973. His experience has included parish life, teaching, administration, retreat work, preaching, and formation ministries. He has graduate degrees in psychology, history, and pastoral theology and a Certificate in Spiritual Direction. He has a Ph.D. in Theology from Fordham University.
His publications include Everyday Mysticism (Crossroad 1995), a book about spirituality in the marketplace, and Moral Formation in the Parish (Alba House 1999), a book about living with Christian and moral values in the world. The spirituality in these works is reflected in his involvement in lay ministry formation and secular institute movements. In recognition of his ministry in the Church, he was given the pontifical honor Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice by Pope John Paul in 1999. He was 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.
He is Assistant Vice President for Mission and Catholic Identity at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT. Previously he was the Dean of the Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education at Fordham University and the director of the Center for Theological and Spiritual Development at the College of St. Elizabeth. He is the weekend associate at St. Vincent Martyr Parish in Madison, NJ. He gives workshops and retreats throughout the United States, the Middle East, and Europe. He is actively involved in creating programs for inter-religious dialogue among Jews, Christians, and Muslims.
- Introduction by Fr. Anthony Ciorra, Ph.D.
- Desires of the Flesh and the Spirit (4/28/1962)
- The Life of Prayer (5/14/1962)
- Virtues and Distractions in Prayer, Part I (5/19/1962)
- Virtues and Distractions in Prayer, Part II (5/26/1962)
- Four Kinds of Prayer, Part I (6/2/1962)
- Four Kinds of Prayer, Part II (6/9/1962)
- The Our Father, Part I (6/16/1962)
- The Our Father, Part II (6/23/1962)
- The Our Father, Part III (7/7/1962)
- The Our Father, Part IV (7/14/62)
- Prayer of Fire, Part I (7/21/1962)
- Prayer of Fire, Part II (7/28/1962)
- Frequent and Constant Prayer (8/4/1962)