A Very Public Monk: Review of Thomas Merton – A Life Inspired



Thomas Merton: A Life Inspired is like the rest of the biographies written by Wyatt North is a short book chock full of facts about the Trappist monk, Thomas Merton. He was a prolific author with publication credits in the hundreds. His most famous work was his autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain. In addition he was an activist, renown for his calls for end of suffering, civil rights, disarmament, and other causes. Wyatt North’s biographical sketch of Merton is a story of love for mankind, the Catholic Church, and most important of all, Christ. Merton had an all-consuming love for Christ that transcended everything Merton did. It was Christ living through him.

Thomas Merton did not start out to be a monk and indeed his life up until shortly before he became a monk was anything but that of a faithful steward of Christ. And like most people, he failed from time to time, most infamously becoming involved with a woman later on in life. However, he found the path again and reaffirmed his vows, including that of celibacy.

Wyatt North’s sketch of Thomas Merton’s life, as I said above, is a short read. The writing is simple, easy to understand, even for youths in senior high schools, though there are parts that the writing has a different, more sophisticated, feel. In these brief biographical sketches the reader also taught, gently, in a genuine manner, about Catholicism to a limited extent. There are suggested readings for those wanting to pursue the life of Thomas Merton or Catholicism further.