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Writing Yourself into the Book of Life (Bridges to Contemplative Living…) [Paperback]

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Item Number 109432  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   64
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.43" Width: 5.68" Height: 0.17"
Weight:   0.21 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Aug 31, 2007
Publisher   Ave Maria Press
ISBN  1594710945  
EAN  9781594710940  

Availability  0 units.

Bridges To Contemplative Living - Full Series Preview
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  Writing Yourself into the Book of Life (Bridges to Contemplative Living With Thomas Merton)   $ 6.31   In Stock  
  Traveling Your Road to Joy (Bridges to Contemplative Living With Thomas Merton)   $ 6.01   In Stock  
  Entering the School of Your Experience (Bridges to Contemplative Living...)   $ 6.01   In Stock  
  Becoming Who You Already Are (Bridges to Contemplative Living With Thomas Merton)   $ 6.31   In Stock  
  Living Your Deepest Desires (Bridges to Contemplative Living With Thomas Merton)   $ 6.31   In Stock  
  Discovering the Hidden Ground of Love (Bridges to Contemplative Living With Thomas Merton)   $ 6.01   In Stock  

Item Description...
Bridges to Contemplative Living with Thomas Merton gently leads participants on a journey toward spiritual transformation and a more contemplative and peace-filled life. Each eight-session booklet provides an introduction to Merton and contemplative living through prayers, readings from Merton and other spiritual masters, and questions for small group dialogue. BOOK SIX Writing Yourself Into the Book of Life To live contemplatively is to embrace the realization that whatever we do and whomever we are, constitute a testimony of love that we are writing for loved ones and neighbors to read. This volume helps participants reflect together on their own book of life that they write in every day.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
To Live Is to Write in the Book of Life  Aug 13, 2007
The title of this booklet and its inclusion in a series based on the works of Thomas Merton suggest that it is about writing a journal. In fact, the theme is the book of life, and our "writing" is our lived testimony of love for God, others, ourselves, and creation. The theme is amplified with session titles such as Writing a Holy Sentence Day after Day. Each session contains background on the texts, excerpts from the works of Merton and "another voice," and reflection questions that lead us to reflect on our own spiritual growth.

Our Life's Cast of Characters, for example, is about all those who have blessed or cursed us and our own "company of saints." The Merton selection is taken from an early journal, Run to the Mountain, in which he expresses gratitude to those who prayed for him over the years.

The session entitled "Writing the Testament Our Hearts Speak" refers to Merton's 26 years of journal writing and his admission that "I have always wanted to write about everything." The other voice here is Ira Progoff, an American psychotherapist who developed the Intensive Journal Method. His selection deals with the "vast and self-replenishing" resources of the human spirit, capable of drawing additional spiritual scriptures out of the depth of itself. He believed that we may be called to contribute to the extension of old scriptures "as part of the further qualitative evolution of our species."

Writing Yourself into the Book of Life is the sixth of eight planned booklets in Bridges to Contemplative Living with Thomas Merton, an excellent small-group series. Each includes an introduction to the series; background on Merton and contemplative living; guidelines for contemplative dialogue; eight small-group sessions; and closing prayers.
Sharing the Divine Life  Aug 13, 2007
The editors of this excellent small-group resource have taken on a major task in mapping out a road to joy in a world often filled with pain and suffering. The writings they have selected from Merton and "other voices" expand on their own early explanation: "The fundamental joy that pervades life in Christ through all of life's inevitable sorrows is a growing faith in the reality that God became man in Christ and in Christ's humanity we humans share the divine life." For each of the eight sessions they have selected psalm excerpts such as "Your deeds, O Lord, have made me glad; for the work of your hands I shout with joy." (Psalm 91).

Waiting for Joy through Sorrow and Anguish contains the poem "Kindness" by Naomi Shihab Nye that reads, in part, "Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside, / you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing...Then it is only kindness that makes sense any more..." In The Joy of Doing God's Will for Me, a selection from author Irma Zaleski gives examples of joyful experiences found in the sounds of birds singing and children's voices, but also in the midst of unbearable suffering. She writes of joy as an inner experience of the presence of God that cannot be categorized, defined, or taught. A Joy that Tastes of God contains an excerpt from Merton's A Search for Solitude in which he wrote, "Christ loves us and espouses us as His own flesh. Isn't that enough for us?"

Traveling Your Road to Joy is the fifth of eight planned booklets in the series Bridges to Contemplative Living with Thomas Merton. Each includes an introduction to the series; background on Merton and contemplative living; guidelines for contemplative dialogue; eight small-group sessions; and closing prayers. Suggestions for using the book and a free facilitator's guide are also provided.
Great Foundation for Discussion Groups  Feb 6, 2007
This book - the first in a series - is a wonderful tool that I can see used in many faith-based groups. As a springboard for the exploration of Thomas Merton's work, it also serves as a conversation starter for faith-sharing and similar endeavors. I did not find that this book was very conducive for individual reflection nor would I recommend this for someone looking for a preliminary survey of the work of Thomas Merton alone. There are many other sources for both cases.

This is excellent for parish, campus ministry and small-group based discussion.
Begin, Reinvigorate, or Deepen Your Spiritual Life  Nov 14, 2006
"Entering the School of Your Experience" is the first of eight booklets in the "Bridges to Contemplative Living with Thomas Merton" series edited by Merton scholars Jonathan Montaldo and Robert G. Toth. Themes are based on key principals from Merton's thought including (1) our everyday life is our spiritual life, (2) spiritual formation is grounded in the experience of relationships and community, and (3) personal transformation is the foundation for societal and cultural transformation.

The series is designed for adult Christians in committed small groups, but is also appropriate for individual use. Each of the eight sessions consists of four to five pages containing excerpts on the given topic from two "voices," Merton's and that of another spiritual leader; a psalm; an introduction to the readings; and questions for reflection and dialogue. In addition, optional concluding prayers and a facilitator's guide are provided.

As shown in the following examples from the Contemplative Dialogue session of "Entering the School" the material is broad enough to address the needs of those wishing to begin, reinvigorate, or deepen their spiritual lives. From the introduction to the texts: "Our natural urge is to be heard, and therefore we are often not fully present to one another when communicating." From Merton's voice: "Silence...can at times be the response of a greater love, and of a love that does not endanger truth..." From the voice of Eckhart Tolle: "Most people don't know how to listen because the major part of their attention is taken up by their thinking." From reflect and dialogue: "What value do we place on silence in our culture and our everyday lives?"
Wisdom, Encouragement and Inspiration  Nov 14, 2006
Becoming Who You Already Are is the second in a series of eight booklets based on the work of Thomas Merton, one of the most important spiritual writers of the 20th century. It contains eight small-group sessions also suitable for individuals. Suggestions for use are provided in the introduction and an accompanying facilitaror's guide. The series, designed for adult Christians, helps readers explore four elements of spirituality Merton considered essential: our relationships with self, God, others, and all of creation.

Each session is built around excerpts from two "voices," Merton's and that of another spiritual leader. A psalm, short introduction to the readings, and reflection questions round out each topic, and optional concluding prayers are printed in the back of the booklet.

From this simple, gentle approach new insights spring up spontaneously in the days following completion of a session. For example, the last topic in "Becoming Who You Already Are" discusses Merton's "Fourth and Walnut" story. At a busy intersection, he was "overwhelmed with the realization" that he loved and was connected to everyone he saw. One reflection question asks readers if they ever had a Fourth and Walnut experience. I had not, but over the next week, with Merton's words in mind, I came close.

Those familiar with Merton's life and work will be drawn to the Bridges of Contemplative Living series for its connection with him; others will learn more about him, perhaps going on to explore his journals, essays, poems, and other writings, but certainly benefiting from the wisdom, encouragement, and inspiration contained here.

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