Thomas Merton: Activism Of The Spirit with Jonathan Montaldo

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When the renowned Trappist monk and best-selling author, Thomas Merton, died suddenly in Bangkok, Thailand in 1968, his death sent shock waves throughout the world’s spiritual community. People everywhere mourned his passing, and today his popularity continues to thrive. What is it about Merton and his timeless writings that so captures all who encounter him? In this dialogue, Jonathan Montaldo, Director Emeritus of the Merton Center at Bellarmine University, invites us to explore the man, the mystic, and the powerful social activist, who operated on behalf of the world while remaining within the walls of his Trappist monastery. Montaldo says that people respond to Merton's writings because he wrote from the deepest part of his soul. An authentic monk in the spirit of Meister Eckhart, Merton cherished the silence, and lived his life in prayer and contemplation. "Merton introduced the concept that everyone deserved to live a contemplative life, to have this leisure, to have this silence. The search for God, to live an inner life, to do inner work, to know oneself, Merton was very Augustinian in that sense. He believed that to know yourself truly is to know God, who is intimately involved in your innermost self." (hosted by Michael Toms)


Jonathan Montaldo writes and lectures extensively on Thomas Merton, and is an adviser to the Merton Seasonal Review. He is the editor of:

Topics Explored in This Dialogue

  • How the writings of Thomas Merton can inspire you to live a life of peace and service
  • How Merton influenced famous social activists and spiritual leaders
  • Why Merton was criticized in the1960s
  • How Merton related to the feminine
  • Why Pope John XXIII gave special recognition to Merton

Host: Michael Toms      Interview Date: 5/16/2002      Program Number: 2944