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Precious Thoughts: Daily Readings from the correspondence of Thomas Merton.

Darton, Longman and Todd

2011, RRP $26.95

Reviewed by Rev Dr Clive Ayre, Eco-Mission Consultant for Qld Synod.

At first thought one may wonder what the writings of a Trappist monk who died in 1968 may have to do with us, but Thomas Merton is well known to scholars of religion; one of his main contentions which is reflected in the book is the need for connection with and realisation of our "true self" and to begin to detach from our "false self".

But this work is not academic in nature, but is a selection of excerpts from over 10,000 letters he wrote to over 2,100 people.

Many of these were from people who sought advice and guidance from someone they knew had "struggled to make sense of life and to find God."

This work is obviously located in a particular time period, but in a more profound sense it goes beyond the boundaries of tradition and history; there is a timeless element about it.

The title Precious Thoughts is apt in that in simple language the book reflects a deep and almost mystical faith in the context of a breadth of outlook and depth of faith that will speak to many people.

The selections for each day of the year vary in length from a single sentence to several paragraphs, but are bound to inspire, encourage, provoke thought, and urge us to a deeper walk of faith.

As the offering for 7th May has it, "May we all grow in grace and peace, and not neglect the silence that is printed at the centre of our being. It will not fail us.

It is more than silence.

Jesus spoke of the spring of living water, you remember…."