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The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Thomas Merton Archives

Thomas Merton on work

posted by jmcgee

I’m reading Thomas Merton’s “New Seeds of Contemplation,” and it seems like every page has a glistening pearl, waiting to be discovered. This caught my eye the other day, and it seems apt for Labor Day: “The requirements of a […]

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“The spiritual gateway” of Georgia looks to the future

posted by jmcgee

Some months back, I posted on the capital campaign underway at the Trappist Monastery of the Holy Spirit down in Georgia. Now this development has made the local news. Take a look: Father Methodius Telnack has lived on the grounds […]

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The lesson of trees

posted by jmcgee

A tree gives glory to God by being a tree. For in being what God means it to be it is obeying God. It “consents,” so to speak, to God’s creative love. It is expressing an idea which is in […]

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“A warm wind of love showed up at my ordination”

posted by jmcgee

I stumbled on this tonight, and thought: “Must post.” I think there’s more than a little Merton in this gorgeous reflection by a new Episcopal deacon, describing his ordination: One by one they came forward and one by one I […]

Thomas Merton’s love life subject of new biography

posted by jmcgee

Devoted Mertonites (including Your Humble Blogger) will not be surprised at this bit of news, but it’s evidently raising a few eyebrows: Rarely has a romance seemed so star-crossed. He was 51, she 25. She was a pretty, petite student-nurse; […]

Merton: “The beginning of love…”

posted by jmcgee

“The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them. “  — Thomas Merton, who […]

Happy 50th, dear Genesee, happy 50th to you…

posted by jmcgee

Here’s something to be thankful for tomorrow: the Trappists at Genesee, celebrating their 50th year in upstate New York. (Those of us who loved Henri Nouwen’s “Genesee Diary” will find this brief video especially captivating.) Enjoy.

Why Thomas Merton mattered

posted by deacon greg kandra

Wander over to the always-thoughtful Intentional Disciples blog for a fascinating dissection of why Merton’s “The Seven Storey Mountain” struck such a chord in the post-World War II era. His life’s journey had something powerful and provocative to say to […]

The monk with a holster and a badge?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Leave it to Doc Mac to dig up this fascinating bit of Tom Merton trivia, regarding the late-in-life conversion of movie star Gary Cooper. McNamara’s Blog quotes Cooper’s daughter: In the mid to late fifties, my father’s conversion to Catholicism […]

Happy birthday, Tom!

posted by deacon greg kandra

Good old Patrick McNamara remembered, and posted on the happy fact that today is Thomas Merton’s birthday: Today marks the birth of Thomas Merton, who writes at the beginning of his autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain: “On the last day […]

A Merton meditation for Advent: “Lady, I am your deacon”

posted by deacon greg kandra

“Since the diaconate, Our Lady has taken possession of my heart. Maybe, after all, she is the big grace of the diaconate. She was given to me with the book of the Gospels which, like her, gives Christ to the […]

Solitude defined

posted by deacon greg kandra

I regret that I missed this last night: a new documentary on Thomas Merton that aired on PBS. (I think I’ve seen the DVD advertised, however…) Here’s a brief clip, with words by Merton, about his first “hermitage” — a […]

“I was not sure where I was going…”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Lady, when on that night I left the Island that was your England,your love went with me, althought I coul dnot know it andcoul dnot make myself aware of it.It was your love, your intercession for me, before God,that was […]

“To be a monk, to be a monk”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Several readers have alerted me to this superb profile of Thomas Merton, which aired last month on PBS. December 10th marks a twin anniversary: the 67th anniversary of Merton’s entrance into the Abbey of Gethsemane in Kentucky, and the 40th […]

Be a saint: All Saints Day homily from 2007

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

From last October, here’s part of my homily for All Saints Day 2007: Shortly after he converted to Catholicism in the late 1930s, Thomas Merton was walking the streets of New York with his friend, Robert Lax. Lax was Jewish, […]

What would Fr. Louis say?

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Fr. Louis, of course, being Thomas Merton — who might raise an eyebrow over the historic naming of a Trappist to be a bishop. From Whispers: On Saturday, the Pope named Dom Yvon Moreau, abbot of Notre Dame du Lac […]

An ending. And a beginning.

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Not long ago, I stumbled upon a letter from Thomas Merton, who offered this advice to a man who was thinking about a career change: I would say there is one basic idea that should be kept in mind in […]

Merton in ’41: “Oh, it’s a Trappist monastery in Kentucky, where I’ve been making retreats…”

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Jim Martin dug up this gem, in his remembrance of the great publisher and editor, Robert Giroux, who died last week. Giroux was a good friend of Thomas Merton’s when the two were at Columbia just before World War II. […]

In love with “WALL-E”

posted by deacon greg kandra

Last night, my wife and I finally went to see “WALL-E”; everybody else on the planet was going to see “The Dark Knight,” so it was easy to get tickets. Two hours later, I staggered out of the theater, wiping […]

Some still have standards

posted by Deacon Greg Kandra

Devotees of Thomas Merton — you know who you are — will remember that Catherine Doherty and Madonna House in Harlem figured prominently in The Seven Storey Mountain. Merton spent many weeks there before leaving New York for Gethsemani. And […]

“Shining like the sun”

posted by deacon greg kandra

A joyful h/t to Jim Martin at the America blog, for pointing out this momentous event: I wanted to celebrate today, March 18, the 50th anniversary of a great epiphany that changed the course of Thomas Merton’s life. After years […]

Isn’t the Seven Storey Mountain next to Space Mountain?

posted by deacon greg kandra

I stumbled on this sad and sobering testimony today in the America blog, In All Things, from a California undergraduate professor: While reaching for examples to explain 20th century interpretations of salvation as the movement from inauthentic to authentic existence, […]

Previous Posts

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This blog is no longer being actively updated. Please feel free to browse the archives or: Read our most popular inspiration blog See our most popular inspirational video Take our most popular quiz ...

posted 10:42:40pm Dec. 12, 2010 | read full post »

One day more
A reminder: "The Deacon's Bench" is closed! Please enjoy the archives! ...

posted 11:26:20pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Meet Montana's married priest
Earlier this week, I posted an item about Montana getting its first married priest. Now a local TV station has hopped on the bandwagon. Take a look, below. ...

posted 10:29:55pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Big day in the Big Easy: 10 new deacons
Deacon Mike Talbot has the scoop: 10 men today were ordained as Permanent Deacons for the Archdiocese of New Orleans. This group of men was formally selected on the day the evacuation of New Orleans began as Hurricane Katrina approached. The ...

posted 6:55:42pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Gaudete! And let's break out a carol or two...
"Gesu Bambino," anyone? This is one of my favorites, and nobody does it better than these gals: Kathleen Battle and Frederica von Staade. Enjoy. ...

posted 1:04:10pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

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