My goal this year is to attempt to re-read some key books that have influenced my life and to slow down on the number of books I read this year to try to read deeper.
I am not sure how the “slower” is going to go, but I did finish Merton’s Seven Storey Mountain as my first book. If I do a project where I re-read things, I start with Merton because his book (besides Willard’s The Divine Conspiracy) is the only book I’ve read multiple times. Merton writes in a way where I grab something new, or am challenged again, every time I read his story.
The lesson I am always challenged with in Merton’s life is prayer. We make the mistake in our Pentecostal circles (and Western evangelical circles) that motion is godly. You have to have ACTION.
What Merton teaches me is PRAYER is action. Withdrawing to a monastery is not retreat from spiritual warfare.
His spiritual mentor gave him incredible words of advice when Merton first entered the monastic life:
“Who knows how many souls are depending on your perseverance in this monastery? Perhaps God has ordained that there are many in the world who will only be saved through your fidelity to your vocation. You must remember them if you are ever tempted to leave. And you will probably be tempted to leave.”
We need to understand the weight of our intercession. There is truly a great battle we undertake when we stay at the task of prayer.