Next Meeting: March 8th

Our February meeting (on Wednesday the 8th) was another robust one.

After watching the last 20-30 minutes of a movie about Merton’s life, we turned to the last chapter (“The General Dance”) from Merton’s book New Seeds of Contemplation – and that quickly became the springboard to discuss…

…the need to focus on the moment…


…Fundamental (literal) interpretations of the Bible vs. less Fundamental (literal) ones…

…possible definitions of mysticism…

…and the need to build bridges between people.

Karen’s comments sparked insight and agreement from Jim, which led to comments from me, Beth, Mary…and pretty soon we were engaged in another lively discussion – all courtesy of Thomas Merton’s insights into God, prayer, the nature of reality, and mysticism.

We talked so much that we just barely opened the cover of our next discussion book, Contemplative Prayer.

Which means if you weren’t at our last meeting, you can still get Contemplative Prayer from Baker Book House and read the chapters we were supposed to read for our last meeting. We’ll talk about them in our next one: Wednesday, March 8th at 7pm at Baker Book House in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Here are the chapters we’ll talk about first from Contemplative Prayer:

Introduction, by Thich Nhat Hanh
Forward, by Douglas V. Steere
Introduction, by Thomas Merton
Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III

Suggested Questions For Discussion and Reflection:

1. Research who Thich Nhat Hanh is, and who Douglas V. Steere was.

2. Write down any words and phrases that are not immediately familiar to you.

3. Consider how to apply what you’re reading to your own life.

4. Why is this book (written primarily for Catholic monks) applicable to our lives today?

5. At the bottom of page 13, Merton wrote: “We do not want to be beginners. But let us be convinced of the fact that we will never be anything but beginners, all our life!” What did Merton mean by that? And do you think you have this “beginner’s mind”?

It’s sometimes hard to tell which is more interesting – Merton’s thoughts…or the conversations we have in our group meetings because of them.

All I know for sure is that I look forward to our meetings.

As soon as Beth and I get the flyers done for next month, we’ll e-mail them to group members and post them here. We could use all the help we can get sharing them.

See you next month!

Remember: Merton group member Fr. Patrick will be giving a series of talks about Thomas Merton at Marywood on

Tuesday, May 9
Tuesday, May 16
Tuesday, May 23

All from 6:30-8:00 p.m.

Mark your calendars.

NOTE: If you’d like to help us spread the word, right-click here to download our March flyer.

Thank you!

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