• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Explain the contribution of Thomas Merton to mysticism

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Transfer-Encoding: chunked ´╗┐Explain the contribution of Thomas Merton to mysticism Mysticism is an aspect of religious experience that is little understood. This term has been used to describe experiences that reveal spiritual recognition of truths beyond normal understanding, from the mildly ecstatic to the occult. It has been said that there are certain features which accompany such experiences which enable their recognition, such as a sense of freedom from the limitations of time, space and the human ego. Believers may also experience a sense of ?oneness? or unity with God, accompanied with bliss and serenity. Mysticism is seen as the closest a human being can ever come to actually meeting God in this life. Mystical experiences can also be classified into two areas: extrovertive, where one experiences unity in the world through the physical senses and introvertive, where the person loses their identity as a separate individual and slowly merges into the divine unity. ...read more.

Middle

Like The Divine Comedy, Merton?s biography is divided into three parts: The first describes his life without God (?Hell?); the second, the beginning of his search for God (?Purgatory?); and the third, his baptism and entrance into a monastic order (?Paradise?). The book continues to be extremely successful in influencing mysticism today, and it was pinpointed as the catalyst for an influx of young men joining monastic orders during the 1940s and 50s. Moving on, in The Ascent to Truth Merton defines Christian mysticism, especially as expressed by the Spanish Carmelite St. John of the Cross, who greatly influenced Merton, and he offers the contemplative experience as an answer to the irreligion and barbarism of our times. Catholic World described the book as, ?For those curious about mysticism, this is an excellent book.? Contemplative Prayer is another work that has influenced mysticism, and it focusses specifically on prayer. Contemplative prayer uses ancient mystical practices to induce altered states of consciousness and is rooted in mysticism but often wrapped in Christian terminology. ...read more.

Conclusion

He encouraged dialogue among people of different religions to achieve understanding. His positions on social activism and his broad views on religion led to severe criticism from some Catholics and non-Catholics, who questioned his true devotion and integrity. It was during this trip to a conference on East-West monastic dialogue that Merton died, in Bangkok on December 10, 1968, the victim of an accidental electrocution. The date marked the twenty-seventh anniversary of his entrance to Gethsemani. Ed Rice, close friend and biographer of Merton, said: "Merton was a mystic in the classic sense? His mystical practices were similar to those of most holy men, whether European or Asian. There is a common thread that unites them." Thomas Merton?s mysticism continues to be influential even today. Thomas Merton was the subject of a speech given by Pope Francis during a joint session of Congress in 2015. The Pope referred to Merton as ?a source of spiritual inspiration and a guide for many people? He was also a man of dialogue, a promoter of peace between peoples and religions.? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Christianity section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Christianity essays

  1. The purpose of this essay is too define and explain Orientalism, and how the ...

    He succeeded in a few cases largely due to his link with Portuguese trade ships. Daimyo within Japan were looking for a way to gain advantage over their enemies, and trade with the Portuguese greatly enriched many lords. The Japanese believed that converting to Christianity would give them more favorable trade with the Portuguese, and for this reason many converted22.

  2. With reference to other aspects of human experience, comment on the view that monastic ...

    It also meant a big increase in the amount of unwanted pregnancies. Unlike monastic living which promoted the selfless giving of ones self to the community, we have adopted a hedonistic, narcissistic attitude. We have become our own lust. Michael Maher points out that the standards in Celtic monasteries are "severe, particularly in the area of sexual morality".

  1. Literary Criticism of Uncle Tom's Cabin [Psychological Lense].

    should not agree with the law passed, because the Bible says that good will to all men was a must. Mrs. Bird informs, "Now, John, I don't know anything about politics, but I can read my Bible; and there I see that I must feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and comfort the desolate."

  2. The Ideas of Hell and Purgatory: A Wide Shift from Then to Now.

    Cassius.."At the bottom of hell, they found the supreme traitor - the angel Lucifer, the devil Satan - who had betrayed the original divine order. Ultimately, sin was revealed in the depths of hell to be a betrayal of God" (Chidester 234).

  1. ABOUT SAINT FRANCIS

    Francis and his companions had their first experiences in the Assisi valley, in the hovel in Rivotorto and at the Porziuncola. They were joined by other companions and, like Francis, they dressed in a tunic and rags. The Order of the Friars Minor was officially founded in 1210, when Francis

  2. Catholic Mysticism

    This idea, intimated by St. Anselm (d. 1109), is most fully developed in the theology of Julian of Norwich (d. ca. 1416). Divine love not only abides in the beloved, but also calls the beloved into being, since love?s nature is to proceed out of itself into the other.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work