In these conferences, originally given to novices, Thomas Merton provides an overview of major themes and figures in the Christian mystical tradition. From Fathers of the Church through important medieval theologians to the great Spanish Carmelites, Merton traces such key topics as the integration of theology and spirituality and the importance of “natural contemplation”—recognizing the divine presence in creation; the centrality of apophatic or “dark” contemplation; and the role of spiritual direction in forming mature and balanced contemplatives.
Patrick F. O’Connell, Associate Professor in the Departments of English and Theology at Gannon University, Erie, Pennsylvania, holds doctoral degrees in English literature (Yale) and historical theology (Fordham). He is a founding member and former President of the International Thomas Merton Society.
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