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New Seeds of Contemplation

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Book Overview

New Seeds of Contemplation is one of Thomas Merton's most widely read and best-loved books. Christians and non-Christians alike have joined in praising it as a notable successor in the meditative... This description may be from another edition of this product.

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Inspiration for anyone and everyone

Thomas Merton wrote "Seeds of Contemplation" when he was a young, relatively inexperienced contemplative. "New Seeds" is his reworking of that text, written after twelve years of intense spiritual effort. Among other things, "New Seeds" is a great companion piece to St. John's "Dark Night of the Soul." I struggled mightily with that book, due to the complexity of thought and of the writing itself. Merton goes through these same stages of spiritual awareness and development in language I found far easier to understand. But "New Seeds" is not merely a reworking of "Dark Night". I can't judge the value of his insights as they would apply to a true contemplative, but I suspect he offers much. For a worldly person who seeks spiritual growth, there is no question of this book's value. Merton's major theme is humility. Only through humility can we discover faith. Only through humility can we rid ourselves of the distractions that separate us from God. Materialism, pride, sensuality, and the like are so well accepted in our society that we seldom see on how deeply they disrupt our souls. Merton's uncompromising reflections are a cold slap in the face. "New Seeds" is also a moving defense of mysticism. God cannot be found through reason alone. He cannot be understood by reading or thinking. In fact, He cannot be understood at all. The emptying that we must do, the shedding of our selfish skins, can only begin when we decide to relinquish our selves to His will. Again, in a materialistic society, such ideas seem absurd; Merton conveys them with a power that makes any other idea seem absurd, even to the most rational reader. Finally...even though Merton cautions us against excessive emotion as a false measure of interior progress, he writes at times with majesty that cannot help but inspire: "As a magnifying glass concentrates the rays of the sun into a little burning ray of heat that can set fire to a dry leaf or a piece of paper, so the mystery of Christ in the Gospel concentrates the rays of God's light and fire to a point that sets fire to the spirit of man...Through the glass of His Incarntation He concentrates the rays of His Divine Truth and Love upon us so that we feel the burn, and all mystical experience is communicated to men through the Man Christ."

Freedom

"In order to become myself I must cease to be what I always thought I wanted to be, and in order to find myself I must go out of myself, and in order to live I have to die." (Chapter 7)As the world moves into a new century, these earnest, seeking, searching, truthful words of Thomas Merton still have the power to make folks examine themselves."New Seeds of Contemplation" is one heck of a book. I have yet to encounter a better book on the subject of confronting our false selves--our impostors. Each chapter is absolutely loaded with food for thought; and more than thought...contemplative prayer:"I wonder if the are twenty men alive in the world now who see things as they really are. That would mean that there were twenty men who were free, who were not dominated or even influenced by any attachment to any created thing or to their own selves or to any gift of God, even to the highest, the most supernaturally pure of His graces. I don't believe there are twenty such men alive in the world. But there must be one or two. They are the ones who are holding everything together and keeping the universe from falling apart." (Chapter 28)The world (and eternity for that matter) will only be changed as people like those described in the passage above increasingly take their focus off the visible and seek instead the invisible, yet more real, kingdom."So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." (John 8:36)"New Seeds of Contemplation" Is humbling to read. I've spent some time with it now (books like this demand more time than others). It will change those who are willing to interact with the author's Creator while prayerfully reading it. I wholeheartedly recommend it to everyone.
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