Talking about Thomas (Merton, that is)

Yesterday was the second gathering of the Fall Reflection Series on Praying the Mystics we are offering at UST Law School this fall.

Last week, our “mystic of the week” was Teresa of Avila, and during the first part of our session, participants shared in small groups the fruit of their prayer with Teresa this past week. We then had some general discussion about the week, which included addressing the challenges (for busy law students, faculty and staff and lawyers) of finding regular prayer time and of focus during prayer. We also talked about what Teresa referred to as detachment; what in Ignatian spirituality we would refer to as “active indifference.”

Following the general discussion, we turned to our mystic for this week. I offered a reflection on Thomas Merton (like Teresa, a favorite of mine), talking a little about his life, the stages of his spiritual journey, and the foundational mystical experiences that shaped that journey. In the course of my reflection I read two Merton’s description of two of those experiences. (The participants will pray with a third this week.)

You can access a recording of the talk I gave here or stream it from the icon below. The podcast runs for 22:00. You can find the handout I distributed (which I refer to briefly near the end of the podcast – we were running short of time) here.