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A nice exploration of/exposition on the need for reflection, silence, seeking God in quiet spaces, and the vocation of solitude. Merton's thoughtful tract, originally written from 1953 to 1954, seems more important now than ever. We live in a world that seems textured with bytes, bits, information, noise, distractions, and trivialities. Merton reminds us to seek. He implores us to find, like the Desert Fathers did years ago, our wildernesses and our wastelands. These deserts (both literal and within) are the perfect places to read, reflect, and purify our hearts. He reminds the reader of the need for gratitude, prayer, meditation, and simplicity. Not everyone needs to become a monk, a hermit, a Christian solitary. But even those who live among, need space to swim occasionally alone.
While I'm not a Catholic and have no plans of leaving my books and my family behind, I AM drawn to writers like Merton. They blossomed during the post-WWII spiritual awakening. Some became Buddhists. Some found peace and comfort in Catholocism, etc., or among various Eastern sects. I am drawn to their messages and washed by their words. Their voices are ultimately voices for me of peace and transcendence. And that isn't a bad thing -- in the end.
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