Summer Reading List, Post 4: The Seven Story Mountain
The Seven Storey Mountain, An Autobiography of Faith
By: Thomas Merton
Review by: Major Lauren Hodgson
“The very contradictions in my life are in some ways signs of God’s mercy to me.” – Thomas Merton
The Seven Storey Mountain is an open and honest telling of one man’s journey of faith. Thomas Merton (1915-1968) was a brilliant and passionate young man whose search for peace and faith leads him, at the age of twenty –six, to take vows in one of the most demanding Catholic orders – the Trappist monks. This story of peace was published in 1948, at the end of World War II, and quickly struck a chord with readers as it was a time of disillusionment about war and the meaning of life.
The life of Merton was not an easy one. Both of his parents died by the time he was sixteen years old. Thomas, shifted from one guardian to another, lived an undisciplined life full of alcohol and one failed romantic relationship after another. Yet in the midst of his wanderings he was curious about spiritual matters and drawn toward the Catholic faith. Although his monastic lifestyle certainly plays a part in the way he lived his life, his story is so much more that a faith tradition. We travel with Merton on the jolting, shifting journey to becoming all he could be in Christ.
His transparent way of sharing his tumultuous journey in faith and yet having no doubt that he was never outside of the Savior’s care is a window into the limitless mercy and compassion of the Savior.
Merton’s struggle was always been how to withdraw from the world and still be fully immersed in it for Christ’s sake and the sake of others.
Merton’s struggle was always been how to withdraw from the world and still be fully immersed in it for Christ’s sake and the sake of others. Despite choosing a life of contemplation and prayer, he continued to communicate with some of the most famous activists, artists, politicians and theologians of his day and wrote extensively from that unique perspective.
The Seven Storey Mountain has been recognized as one of the most influential religious works of our time.
Check out the short video about the life and influence of Thomas Merton:
Other Notable Works by Thomas Merton: