Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 1960. First edition. 12mo., original decorated cream boards, orange endpapers, original dust wrapper. Slight toning to spine of wrapper. A nearly-fine copy. Item #557
"HELPS AND STRENGTHENS US IN OUR GROPING EFFORTS TO CORRESPOND WITH THE GRACE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT" First book edition—"revised and considerably expanded"—of two Thomas Merton essays, printed by the Order of St. Benedict's Liturgical Press. Merton's short Preface, dated "Abbey of Gethsemani/Fall, 1959" introduces two pieces: Spiritual Direction and Meditation—Action and Union. The essays are part of Merton's unceasing meditation on monastic and clerical life, here focusing on the psychological aspects of spiritual discernment and vocation: "The director is not to be regarded as a magical machine for solving cases and declaring the holy will of God beyond all help of appeal, but a trusted friend who, in an atmosphere of sympathetic understanding, helps and strengthens us in our groping efforts to correspond with the grace of the Holy Spirit, who alone is the true Director in in the fullest sense of the word."
The essays, originally serialized in Sponsa Regis magazine, were printed by the Benedictines at St. John's Abbey and University in Collegeville, Minnesota. "The St. John's Collegeville community, which communicated through its various vehicles—university, prep school, publication program and liturgy—that profound Benedictinism, so important to the German-American Catholic experience, having its origins in the early Church and emphasizing regularity of life, a balance of work and prayer, and a theology anchored in Scripture and the Church." (Kevin Starr, The Lost World). The lovely pale-pink-and-green dust wrapper contains no jacket copy and was designed to be short; intended, it seems, to function as more of a "belly-band" (wrapping the mid-section of the binding) than a dust jacket. Approbations. Starr, The Lost World: American Catholic Non-Fiction at Midcentury.