What has the Archbishop of Canterbury, head of the Anglican tradition has in common with a Cistercian monk from America? There is much in common between these two men who has never met face to face. This 2011 book is a compilation of various engagements of the Anglican theologian and the writings of the religious catholic in a series of lectures and journal articles over a period of time which was written by the Archbishop. I believed that Thomas Merton will be bemused if he is aware of the interest the Archbishop has bestowed upon him.
There is much to reflect upon in this slim book which reveals the spiritualites of these two men and their journeys on the contemplative path. During their journeys, they involved and engaged many other theologians into their dialogue which includes Reformed theologian Karl Barth and Orthodox theologian Vladimir Lossky. Mostly they have interacted with each other. What stands out in the dialogue is their conviction of God as the ground of their being and their commitment to the contemplative path as the journey in the silence of the soul from the false self or what Thomas Merton refers to as the ‘delusory self image’ to the real self.
A good read for fans of Rowan Williams and Thomas Merton.
note: The water color of Canterbury Cathedral on the book’s cover is by Owen Merton. In The Seven Storey Mountain, Merton refers to his father painting in the Cathedral Close at Canterbury during his Easter vacation from Oakham in 1929.