THOMAS MERTON: Man Before God by

THOMAS MERTON: Man Before God

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A conscientious, expository study of Merton's dynamic view of man's place before God and the world based primarily on Merton's published works. Fr. Kelly notes that Merton's earlier writings stressed a ""vertical"" other-worldly devotion, but then his emphasis shifted to a ""direct, horizontal, deeply engaged often militant concern for the critical situation of man"" as a social being. All men live in a way ""which expresses their innate thrust to the Infinite."" A religious man existentially lives out the relationship of love with God -- an integration of known and unknown -- whereby man finds his true identity. Then awareness of Divine love will naturally lead to a more practical love for people and concern with their social welfare. Fr. Kelly discusses Merton's views on such issues as racial justice, ecology, poverty, etc. It was Merton's unique contribution to ""get to the spiritual and philosophical roots of a social problem and expose it to the light of the Christian Gospel."" But there were no easy answers in searching, in Merton's words, ""the existential depths of faith in its silence, its ambiguities, and in the certainties which lie deeper than the bottom of anxiety."" Difficult but illuminating.

Pub Date: Sept. 27th, 1974
Publisher: Doubleday