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Thomas Merton, Peacemaker:

“The God of peace is never glorified by human violence,” Thomas Merton wrote long ago. Likewise, John Dear adds, “The God of peace is always glorified by human nonviolence.”

In “Thomas Merton, Peacemaker,” John Dear reflects on the teachings of peace and nonviolence by the great Trappist monk and author Thomas Merton. On the centenary of his birth, “Thomas Merton, Peacemaker,” explores the example and lessons of contemplative peacemaking and nonviolence, our understanding of the nature of God, prayer and the spiritual life, and how that leads to a life of public action and prophetic truth-telling for peace and justice.

In “Thomas Merton, Peacemaker,” John Dear explores Merton’s journal writings, legendary vision on a street corner in Louisville, hermit life, denunciations of war and nuclear weapons, his friendship with Thich Nhat Hanh and Daniel Berrigan, his understanding of the feminine side of God, his oneness with creation, and his visionary experience in Sri Lanka, one week before his death on December 10, 1968.

“Everything is emptiness and everything is compassion,” Merton concluded just before his death. That is the basic interior attitude of the peacemaker, John Dear concludes. We have let go of all violence and share the journey of the nonviolent Jesus to the cross and resurrection. Like Merton, we are called to union with the God of peace, and communion with all humanity and all creation.

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