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by Heather E. MacKenzie

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-5255-7377-4
Publisher: FriesenPress

A work combines spirit-world communications and a personal faith journey.

MacKenzie notes at the outset of her slim book that it commemorates the 50th anniversary of the death of the Trappist monk and bestselling author Thomas Merton, whose The Seven Storey Mountain has reached millions of readers all over the world. MacKenzie’s own concentration here is on another Merton book, Life and Holiness, but she makes it clear that her inspiration is more immediate than literary. She claims to be in communication with the spirit of Merton, who died in Bangkok in 1968. She wants her readers to know that his spirit is alive and speaks to her. She is grateful to Merton, she writes, “for being my guide, teacher, and new spiritual friend especially for the insights I received into the spiritual realities of God.” Taking Merton as her example, the author felt inspired to embark on a monastic retreat herself, and her narrative also brings in St. Teresa of Avila quite frequently. MacKenzie’s prose is lively and personable, with the chief interest of her work deriving from the ways she weaves the lives of the Trappists she meets with the constant spiritual interventions of Merton himself. The author relates many supernatural events, both her own and those experienced in conjunction with others. In all cases, her narrative abilities are up to the task: The book always delivers vivid reading. MacKenzie concludes her account with a brief overview of her faith journey as a Roman Catholic. Although some of her target audience of fellow Christians will naturally be skeptical of her claims about communicating with Merton’s spirit, her larger message—“We are blessed to have others to help us with our spiritual development and growth and remembering who we are, spiritually speaking”—will resonate with even the most doubting among her readers.

One woman’s impressionistic, inviting account of being guided in her faith by Thomas Merton’s spirit.