Next Meeting: July 12th

The next meeting of the Grand Rapids chapter of the International Thomas Merton Society will be Wednesday, July 12th, at 7pm at Baker Book House near the corner of 28th Street and East Paris in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

We will discuss chapters 5, 6, and 7 of Thomas Merton’s book Contemplative Prayer.

Here are some suggested questions for discussion:


1. Why does Merton write that the prayer of the heart has to be always very simple?
2. Who was St. John of the Cross?
3. Have you experienced a kind of “dark night of the soul” in your spiritual life?
4. What is the purpose of monastic prayer, psalmody, ratio, meditatio, and lectio?


1. Merton again brings up the dualism that so many experience today – the perceived difference between public and private prayer. Do you see your spiritual life in that way – having a private side and a public side to it?
2. What is the Rule of St. Benedict?
3. Who were John Cassian and St. Basil?
4. What did you learn from Chapter IV that you didn’t know before?


1. Why did St. Gregory the Great think contemplative prayer was a problem?
2. Do you make a distinction regarding an active idea of prayer versus a contemplative idea of prayer? (p. 29)
3. Are you able to achieve “the balance that is required” between the two? (p. 30)
4. Who was St. Bernard of Clairvaux? (p. 30)

These are only suggested questions. And it’s likely we won’t get to all of them.

Also, we’ll discuss the recently published children’s book The ABCs of Thomas Merton.

And we’ll catch up on each other’s lives.

See you there!

NOTE: If you’d like to download the pdf for our next meeting and share it with others, we’d be much obliged. Right click here.

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