The Seven Storey Mountain
An Autobiography of Faith
“The very contradictions in my life are in some ways signs of God’s mercy to me.”
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 26, 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 as both of his parents died by the time he was 16 years old. Thomas, who shifted from one guardian to another, lived an undisciplined life, consisting of alcohol abuse and one failed romantic relationship after another. Yet in the midst of his wanderings, he was curious about spiritual matters and drawn to the Catholic faith. Although his monastic lifestyle certainly plays a part in the way he lived his life, this story is so much more than a faith tradition. It’s a bumpy journey to becoming all one can be in Christ.
Merton’s transparent way of sharing his tumultuous journey in faith, while having no doubt that he was within the Savior’s care, is a window into the limitless mercy and compassion of the Savior.
Merton’s struggle was always the question, “How do I 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 stayed in touch with 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.
— by Major Lauren Hodgson
View a short video about the life of Thomas Merton: www.youtube.com/watch?v=O650TPCIXrI