Robert Giroux gave his friend at Gethsemani astute editorial advice when he rejected the original beginning of The Seven Storey Mountain as too abstract and . 11 Jul (This review of Thomas Merton’s The Seven Storey Mountain ran in the October 16, issue of America). Twentieth-century Augustine. A modern-day Confessions of Saint Augustine, The Seven Storey Mountain is one of the most influential religious works of the twentieth century. This edition.

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The book is a classic of 20th century American spirituality. See all 3 questions about The Seven Storey Mountain…. But if I try to empathize with Merton and understand his journey within his world-view, there’s a lot to be gained from this early thojas. The following are the last lines of the poem upon that occasion: I have known about the Trappist monastery Gethsemani my whole life, having been born not too far from it in Kentucky.

The first part of this book was painfully slow at times, yet interesting. The Sign of Jonas. You will have pleasures of prayer, and they will sicken you and you will fly from them.

The Seven Storey Mountain – Wikipedia

He alludes to transgressions and unhappiness even xtory him from his original Franciscan affiliation, but does not enumerate precisely what he’s done– the Internet turns up a bit of speculative dirt, but it’s hard to say what he’s done in the outside world that tortures his conscience for so much of the book, and rather hard to sympathize with him since he does not name it.

May 04, Mie rated it really liked it Shelves: Second only to the Carthusians who are basically hermits.

Merton finished the book in at the age of 31, five years after entering Gethsemani Abbey near Bardstown, Kentucky. When a colleague ends her career amid scandal, it’s not just sympathy pains, it’s real pain. For example, at the end of the book Merton talks about how vices can also be manifested in spiritual forms.

I also curiously have a desire to read a bunch of Catholic theological texts. I listened to the abridged version of Merton’s spiritual autobiography back in the 90’s, loved it, and actually thought I’d read this book.

But so far my love has been welcomed and returned. Merton fought this emptiness in himself by slowly cultivating his inner, spiritual life.


Zen practice deliberately leaves the resolution of all questions and problems up to oneself. The story no longer belongs to me But with each step, the storh process is intricately exposed in all its minute details, as well as its various joys and sufferings. And we refuse love, and reject society, in so far as it seems, in our own perverse imagination, to imply some obscure kind of mountxin.

This is a well-done book. Catholics, orthodox Christians, people interested in religion and psychology. For him, it was either to live segen rest of his life “in the relative peace of a college campus, reading and writing books,” or to “live in a world that was charged with the presence and reality of God.

Many converted to Catholicism in mid-twentieth century. But if you are, you’ll like this book. Speaking just about some of the mountain tops he climbed: In one passage he praises the prayer-work of a group of monks, stating outright that the reason the United States is a successful nation shory because this small group of cloistered guys in upstate New York prays on a daily basis.

The Seven Storey Mountain Quotes

It does not matter. Feb 16, Justin Pitt rated it it was amazing. I think about this monastery that I am in. And if I am always trying to figure out what I am and where I am and why I am, how will that work be done? I particularly recommend it to those who are just over the moon with Roman Catholicism. But when the light shines in it, it becomes in a manner transformed into light and seems to lose its nature in the splendor of a higher nature, the nature of the light that is mountian it.

The censors were not primarily concerned with Merton’s prose style, but rather the content of his thoughts in the autobiography. I am sure there will never be any great demand for a description of my life, and so I suppose I will never have the chance to try to do better than Merton at leaving my persona as novelist behind for the more humble tone of a person describing the real world to sseven who, after all, live in that same real world.

The Seven Storey Mountain

Don’t you believe that God will make you what He created you to be, if you will consent to let Him do it? God was ground to dust throughout this decade in the millstone of my brain. But we already possess Him by grace, and therefore in that sense we mreton arrived and are dwelling in the light. But it takes a long time to come to that understanding and it is not always easily accepted. Seven Storey Mountain is a real kick in the pants for a believer – how far is any single person willing to go, etory deep into God can a person fall, how willing to listen, to follow, to be open to the action of the Spirit in daily life?


He finds that solace in the rigors mpuntain Catholicism and the monastic order, after finding only unhappiness in the secular world.

I’m actually thinking about switching and reading No Man Is and Island first, then coming back to the Seven Story Mountain, because it seems like his attitudes evolve quite a bit in the time between writing these two books. The integrity of an artist lifts a man above the level of the world without delivering him from it. When a ray of light strikes a crystal, it gives a new quality to the crystal.

I think the most profound thing I read in this book was the simplest: Bonaventure to storj Cistercian Mertonn of the poor men who labor in Atory Would I read more scripture everyday? I’m also not able to wrap my brain around the ideas of original sin and the need for salvation.

He read James Joyce: So do not ask me, because I am not going to tell you. We “practice alone together. There is so much to be gained from this book.

There is probably a right balance in our response to God here, and Merton’s book offered me the vicarious pleasure of receiving a communion with some sense of ritual gravity, or of reading the lives of thmas that we can call our own. During the next ten years Merton simply indulges himself in himself and he finds the emptiness that can develop from true selfishness.