Raymond RaffertyMarch 23, 2009 - 11:51am0 comments
The Journey of Thomas Merton
Edited by Morgan Atkinson, with Jonathan Montaldo
Liturgical Press, $39.95, 216 pp.
Filmmakers often must leave much good material on the cutting-room floor as they edit. Morgan Atkinson, who produced the documentary Soul Searching: The Journey of Thomas Merton, solves that problem by compiling into a book excerpts from the many interviews he conducted while making the film. Atkinson also writes about his own spiritual journey, which was influenced by Merton, and his visit to Gethsemani, Merton’s monastery in Kentucky.
Atkinson restricts his attention to Merton’s life in the United States, arranging quotations from interviews and a few well-chosen photographs to convey the sights and sounds of New York City, Kentucky, a few of the sites where Merton dreamed of having a new hermitage, and the California coast Merton visited before his fateful journey to Asia, where he died in 1968. These locations are also explored in the film, which includes scenes of New York City, especially the area around Columbia University. The documentary also includes many views of the Gethsemani monastery, including pictures of Merton at work and prayer there, and images of the drawings and calligraphy Merton produced. The book and the DVD of the film are available separately, but this special edition that includes both is the one to purchase and savor.
In his book, Atkinson wonders whether another book about Merton, whom many consider the greatest English-language spiritual writer of the...