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A Reading Vocation

"I Must Read, Read, and Read. It is my Vocation." - Thomas Merton

This is where I chronicle my reading life.  I also blog about writing at Lacey's Late-night Editing.


Catholic Journals

The Intimate Merton : His Life From His Journals - Thomas Merton, Jonathan Montaldo, Patrick Hart The Inner Voice of Love: A Journey Through Anguish to Freedom - Henri J.M. Nouwen Dakota: A Spiritual Geography - Kathleen Norris Acedia & Me: A Marriage, Monks, and a Writer's Life - Kathleen Norris Confessions (World's Classics) - Augustine of Hippo, Henry Chadwick

This Wednesday, I'm talking at my church about "solitary" Catholic spiritual practices. I'm focusing on journaling as a spiritual practice and the Rosary as the primary mode of meditation among Catholics. Like any good discussion, it will include books. :) My notes:


Journaling as a Spiritual Practice


“Keeping a journal has taught me that there is not so much new in the interior life as one sometimes thinks. When you reread your journal you find out that your newest discovery is something you already found out five years ago.” - Thomas Merton, July 10, 1949


Thomas Merton believed that his “spiritual calling” was to live as a hermit, write, and study, and he spent most of his life trying to achieve a solitary life.


“My vocation and task in this world is to keep alive all that is usefully individual and personal to me, to be a 'contemplative' in the full sense and to share it with others, to remain as a witness of the nobility of the private person and his primacy over the group.” - October 2, 1958


“Contrary to all that is said about it, I do not see how the really solitary life can tolerate illusion and self-deception.” - August 10, 1965


Quotes pulled from The Intimate Merton: His Life From His Journals


Father Henri Nouwen wrote as a way to try to reconcile his Catholic faith with his struggles with depression:


"To my surprise, I never lost the ability to write. In fact, writing became part of my struggle for survival. It gave me the little distance from myself that I needed to keep from drowning in my despair."


Other reading: Henri Nouwen's Inner Voice of Love, St. Augustine (esp. Confessions) and Kathleen Norris (Dakota, Acedia & Me)


I've read all the books referenced, except the Inner Voice of Love, which I just found out about when I started researching this topic. Here's another to add to the ever-growing to-read pile!