Thursday, December 11, 2008

Anniversary of the Death of Thomas Merton

Yesterday was the 40th anniversary of the death of Thomas Merton. If I made a list of the top ten most important spiritual figures of the twentieth century, he'd be on that list, and for many scholars, he'd be number one (I might give the number one slot to Pope John Paul II. Or would it be Archbishop Oscar Romero? Or Mother Theresa? Or Archbishop Desmond Tutu? Or Dorothy Day? Interesting how thus far, only Catholics are on my list . . .).

I heard a great interview with an author and documentary filmmaker yesterday on the Diane Rehm show. Luckily, we live in the age of the Internet, where even though we've missed a show, we can still listen. Go here to hear the show (it's the 11:00 hour, so you might have to scroll down).

That interview made me think of an episode of a different NPR program, Speaking of Faith. Paul Elie was on the show to discuss his book, The Life You Save May Be Your Own: An American Pilgrimage, which came out in 2003, and is a fabulous book. It's also a heavy book (as in long, not as in too deep to read on a plane, which I did, when I couldn't put the book away), so if you want to just listen to the discussion about it, to get a sense of it, go here.

Merton is one of those writers that I feel like I've read, because I've read a lot about him, and read portions of his work collected in many different places. But as I consider, I'm a bit shocked to realize that I haven't read one of his books all the way through.

Let me add that to my to-do list for 2009. In fact, a reading list for the year might be a very good idea. Off now, to ponder my list . . .

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