Monday, November 26, 2012

Thomas Merton, Essential Writings, Selected with an Introduction by Christine M. Bochen

Book Review - Thomas Merton, Essential Writings, Selected with an Introduction by Christine M. Bochen.

Beginning with a brief overview of Merton's life and work, a listing is given of more than thirty books published during his career as a writer (1946 to 1968), followed by the same number of Posthumous Publications (books, poems, letters, journals and essays) dated from 1969 to 1999 -- showing Thomas Merton to be one of the most prolific writers of our day. He writes with beauty and conviction.

After a lengthy introduction, the main section of the book consists of excerpts (some brief, others much longer) taken from twenty-one sources…journals, poems, letters, books and conferences, all of them listed. They are arranged in three sections: A Call to Contemplation, A Call to Compassion and A Call to Unity.

It is evident that contemplation is at the very core of Merton's spirituality. He invites his readers to experience for themselves the reality of God's very presence, and to discover that life can have an interior dimension of depth and awareness. He speaks of the importance of silence and solitude, and gives simple suggestions for prayer. Contemplation is for everyone.

Merton speaks about the universal longing for love, peace and security, and the existence of hate, violence and war. He says the root of all war is fear, and he claims that the main task of every Christian is to strive for the total abolition of war. The call to compassion is a call to love…everyone.

As for unity, Merton says it is both a reality and a challenge, and that we already are one by the mere fact that we all belong to the human race. Acknowledging that God has ennobled this race by choosing to be a member of it along with us by the Incarnation, we are to love and respect all others as brothers and sisters with God as Father of us all.

I invite you to read the book and see if you agree with Merton's bold statements and commentaries.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Man who Fed the World by Leon Hesser

Book Review - The Man Who Fed the World, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Norman Borlaug and His a Battle to End World Hunger, An authorized biography by Leon Hesser … Foreword by Jimmie Carter

This is a book showing what one man can do to change the world --and it's akin to a miracle!

He was the son of immigrants from Norway.

He began his education in a one-room country school, failed his pre-entrance exam for college, and ended up a PhD!

He developed a new wheat strain that yielded a double crop and revolutionized Mexico's agriculture and saved thousands of its people from starvation!

He nearly singled-handed spread his plant expertise to China, Africa, and many other parts of the world, and saved hundreds of millions more!

He received the Nobel Peace Prize and over 50 other awards (from "all over") for his efforts to save people from death by starvation and was acclaimed as among the 100 most important persons in the 100th century!

Read his story. It's unbelievable!
Sister Ruth Nistler