Human Beings differ in their beliefs of the Earth’s origin. Was it formed from a great combustion of concentrated energy? Did it grow from the back of an immense turtle? Did an ancient, Middle-Eastern deity sculpt it in 7 days? Is it billions of years old? Thousands? Are we all just brains in a vat? Using our savvy, smug brains we have conjured all sorts of ideas as to how and why we ended up with our feet planted on this planet. But however mystical – or rational – our opinions may be on the subject, no amount of myth or magic can shield our planet from the burdens the human animal has placed upon Her back in the last few centuries. Our connection to nature has dwindled drastically under a manmade bubble of plastic and concrete. But it is this same delicate tendril that still calls to the minds of many, from all walks of life – and beliefs. Explore the environmental calling of Thomas Merton with Sister Monica Weis as she presents her new book, The Environmental Vision of Thomas Merton, at Carmichael’s this Thursday, May 31st.
A Trappist monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani in Bardstown, Kentucky, Thomas Merton was – and continues to be regarded as – an influential writer, mystic, poet and social activist. The author of countless essays and reviews and more than 70 books covering topics of spirituality, social justice and pacifism, Merton is perhaps best known for his highly-acclaimed autobiography, 1948’s The Seven Storey Mountain. Respected for his views of inter-faith acceptance and dialogue, Merton was also an early proponent of the civil rights movement, the proliferation of nuclear arms - and the importance of environmental stewardship.
Exploring Merton’s environmental callings comprehensively for the first time, Sister Monica Weis’ book, The Environmental Vision of Thomas Merton, revisits Merton’s spiritual connections with the natural world. Connecting to Merton’s interest in nature, which developed significantly during his years at the Abbey, Weis suggests that his attraction to the environment laid the foundations for the growing environmental awareness Merton developed – well-ahead of the eco movement in vogue today.
Delve deeper into the topic with Weis as she shares Environmental Vision this Thursday at Carmichaels’ Frankfort Avenue store. Beginning at 7pm, Weis will participate in a discussion of her work as well as a follow-up book signing. Copies of The Environmental Vision of Thomas Merton are available at both Carmichaels’ locations in hardcover for $40 or on Google ebook for $30. Regardless of your views on the divine – or lack thereof – the need for environmental consciousness in the face of growing destruction is an issue that affects us all; whether God’s planet or a creation of the cosmos, our Earth – and its health – is in our hands.
Carmichael’s Bookstore has two area locations: 1295 Bardstown Road and 2720 Frankfort Avenue. For more information about Sister Monica Weis, visit the event page  or call the Frankfort Avenue store at (502) 896-6950.
Image: Courtesy of Carmichael’s Bookstore website www.carmichaelsbookstore.com