Thomas Merton was ordained to the priesthood on May 26, 1949, which was the Feast of the Ascension. In 1951 Father Louis became Master of Scholastics at the Abbey of Gethsemane. Later, from 1955 to 1965, he held the position of Master of Novices.
In, “Merton. A Biography”, author Monica Furlong writes of this period:
The feeling of mutual love between master and pupils comes out very strongly in the many tapes of Merton giving “Conferences” or lectures to the novitiate. The audience are appreciative, laughing warmly at his jokes, rising quickly to allusions, occasionally interrupting intelligently. He has a racy and informal style, often using slang, yet revealing deep academic knowledge of his subjects, knowing how to manipulate local jokes or events to make an idea stick, using secular experiences to drive home spiritual truths.
Threaded through these subjects, each with its enormous background of reading, was an incidental wisdom that was there for the novice to accept or ignore as he wished.
Merton’s manner was deceptively light and easy to listen to; and only toward the end of each lecture did he gather up the diverse threads, and his audience discover, to their pleasure and surprise, that they actually knew something about Origen, or Evagrius, or the Cistercian Fathers.
Now, you may be wondering why I’m telling you all this. Well, I have to take a break from the Haven for a while in order to get some other work accomplished, and also to whittle away at my to-do list at home. I anticipate being back here posting some time in February. But I wanted to leave you in good hands while I’m gone. Good hands! The best, actually! I hope you’ll be pleased, and find more than enough teaching here to satisfy your contemplative needs for a few weeks. 🙂
Thomas Merton on “The Jesus Prayer” (Part I of III)
Thomas Merton on “The Jesus Prayer” (Part II of III)
Thomas Merton on “The Jesus Prayer” (Part III of III)
Thomas Merton on “Prayer and the Active Life”
Many thanks to Journeys2008 for providing these marvelous Merton audio/videos for all of us to enjoy and profit from.