Few people have ever seen or heard of The Spirit of Simplicity: it has been hidden for almost seventy years after quietly being published by the Abbey of Gethsemani in 1948. Anonymously translated and annotated by a young monk named Thomas Merton, the book's author-who also is not mentioned by name in the original edition-is Jean-Baptiste Chautard, the famous French Cistercian whose only other book, The Soul of the Apostolate, has been a favorite of modern saints and popes, including Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. Every generation struggles with the question of simplicity. In the history of our faith, there have been no more eloquent voices calling us back to simplicity than the monks of the Cistercian Order, from Bernard of Clairvaux to Chautard to Merton-all of whom contribute to this powerful book. Merton surrounds Chautard's text with his own remarks on simplicity, translations of classic texts by St. Bernard of Clairvaux, and commentary that allows readers to pursue the themes of simplicity in their own lives.
Publisher: Ave Maria Press
Number of pages: 160
Dimensions: 216 x 140 mm
Edition: Annotated edition
"We need simplicity now more than ever. This lost classic of Trappist spirituality unites the voices of two of the great Catholic writers of the Twentieth century. It reveals how simplicity is an essential quality of a holy life. While written for monks, it is--like The Rule of Saint Benedict--filled with wisdom for all. Read it slowly and prayerfully." --Carl McColman, Author of Befriending Silence
"Jean-Baptiste Chautard and a young Thomas Merton flesh out the implications for a contemplative life centered on attending to the grace of simply recognizing the 'gaze of God' within all one's experiences. Abbot Elias Dietz places these classic essays in their context and provides contemporary resources for further study and practical application." --Jonathan Montaldo, General editor of the Fons Vitae Thomas Merton Series
"Well over a half-century old, The Spirit of Simplicity is a remarkably approachable text, and it is still able to serve its original purpose as an entryway into Cistercian spirituality. Together with selections from St. Bernard's works, it remains a kind of classic Cistercian Life 101." --From the preface by Abbot Elias Dietz, O.C.S.O., The Abbey of Gethsemani
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