Thursday, April 27, 2017

Br. Paul Quenon & Thomas Merton

I recently made a pilgrimage to Our Lady of Gethsemani, a monastery in Trappist, KY, to sit down with Br. Paul Quenon – poet, author and novice of perhaps the most influential American contemplative and monastic writer of the twentieth century, Thomas Merton. Br. Paul was a gracious host who invited me to None (afternoon prayers), a visit to Merton’s hermitage and a tour of the grounds, and then loaded my arms with several boxes and varieties of his homemade fudge (a true penance in the thick of Lent!). Ora et labora: prayer and fudge.

The memory of this day with Br. Paul - reciting poetry, recalling the lives of saints and sharing stories about his beloved novice master (one of my spiritual heroes) - is one I’ll never forget.

Learn more about Br. Paul Quenon and read his wonderful poems at And if you haven’t read Merton, I’d suggest you start HERE with his #1 bestseller and autobiography, Seven Storey Mountain.

In this episode:
0:00 How Thomas Merton experienced God
2:23 Introduction to Br. Paul Quenon
3:01 How Br. Paul became a monk at Gethsemani
3:52 How do you experience God?
4:49 On mystical experience & apophatic spirituality
6:21 What was Merton like?
8:05 Merton’s interfaith work
9:42 How do we build bridges in the spirit of Merton?

11:42 Union with God & other lessons from Merton