Ways of Prayer: A Desert Father's Wisdom

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Ways of Prayer: A Desert Father's Wisdom

Introductory Lecture + 13 Talks on 7 CDs
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  1. Ways of Prayer: A Desert Father's Wisdom Audio Bundle: Ways of Prayer: A Desert Father's Wisdom + Thomas Merton on the Twelve Degrees of Humility - 15 CDs Total $69.95
  2. Ways of Prayer: A Desert Father's Wisdom Audio Bundle: Thomas Merton on Desert Spirituality + Ways of Prayer: A Desert Father's Wisdom - 12 CDs Total $59.95

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Few figures in the history of Christian mysticism loom larger than Thomas Merton and Saint John Cassian. Now, this series of remastered archival recordings makes 13 of Merton’s long-lost lectures on his forefather available to you.

Merton and “John the Ascetic” share a number of striking similarities despite the fact that they were separated by more than 15 centuries. Both Merton and Cassian are celebrated for their enduring contributions to us: their two groundbreaking spiritual works, and their efforts to harmonize Eastern and Western spirituality.

Credited with integrating Eastern monasticism into Western thought, Cassian’s writings (Institutes  and Conferences) set forth the basic principles of the monastic life: unceasing prayer, charity, and asceticism. Especially compelling are his teachings about prayer and virtue—namely the “prayer of fire.”

This collection of Merton’s lectures on Cassian highlight the enduring relevance of the saint’s teachings to the rapidly changing world and the modern Church.

Through these recordings, you too will journey back in time to Merton’s monastic classroom, where you’ll have the opportunity to discover the vitality of Cassian’s philosophy. An inimitable speaker, Merton breathes new life into these ancient texts, weaving traditional methods of prayer into the fabric of modern reality.

Discover for yourself why Cassian’s mysticism is cherished in the monastic tradition and the wider Christian community.

This set includes an afterword by Fr. Anthony Ciorra.

Learn about downloadable programs.

***“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


  • 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)
  • 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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Customer Reviews (0)
The Merton conferences are exceptional!
The Merton conferences are exceptional. Listening to his teaching, in his words and voice, is invaluable. Review by Dcn Charlie (Posted on 4/28/2016)
Merton makes Cassian very understandable!
Merton makes Cassian very understandable. He is very down to earth and has a great sense of humor. Review by Marcy (Posted on 9/4/2015)
A Godsend!
Thomas Merton's words were a Godsend to me. I feel like I have met him and been on retreat with him!
Review by Rev. Garry (Posted on 7/3/2014)
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