The Root of War is Fear

CODE: 978-1-62698-197-3


In stock


“Here is one of the best tributes honoring Merton as a contemplative peacemaker, written by someone who is himself a faithful ‘living text’ on non-violence.”—Jonathan Montaldo

"A serious, at times playful, and utterly breathtaking work . . . The Root of War is Fear is a field manual for courage and hopefulness in a time of desperation."--Christopher Pramuk, author, Sophia: The Hidden Christ of Thomas Merton

"Merton's witness for peace is more urgent than ever . . . . A book of ernormous richness and serious challange."--Rowan Williams

"Goes to the heart of Merton's understanding of our fearful predicament."--Jim Douglass

Thomas Merton, the Trappist monk who died in 1968, is one of the most influential religious figures of modern times. Yet many readers remain unaware of his deep preoccupation with the theme of peace from his early stance as a conscientious objector to his prophetic writings on nuclear war and nonviolence. Drawing in large part on the letters Jim Forest received from Merton, this book offers spiritual encouragement and guidance for those engaged in efforts today to rid the world of war and violence.

Jim Forest, a co-founder of the Catholic Peace Fellowship, befriended Merton in the 1960s. He is the author of many books, including Living with Wisdom: A Life of Thomas Merton, All is Grace: A Biography of Dorothy Day, and Loving Our Enemies: Reflections on the Hardest Commandment.

LISTEN UP: The Contemplify podcast of April 2017 is a conversation with Jim Forest. [Episode 28; I-Tunes app required]

Book Details

The Root of War is Fear
Thomas Merton’s Advice to Peacemakers
Jim Forest
Photos, index
File name Filesize
The Root of War is Fear Table of Contents 95 Kb

From the Friends Journal Feb 2017

A powerful message for our own time and a reminder of the importance of living the law of love in our own everyday lives where it is so easy to become caught up in responding to the pervasive climate of fear and violence.

Forest ends the book with the following lesson from Merton: "Yes, the word is scary, but also beautiful, magnificent, mysterious, still undiscovered." With its mixture of wit, wisdom, and personal experience, it's a lesson the book imparts well, and one we could all do well to remember in this age of war and uncertainty. Fear need not rule our lives.

When we despair of our world and its irrational lust for war, Merton gently pulls us back to the stillness of the heart and the quiet voice of conscience.

I found this book compelling in the light of what is happening today. Yesterday’s “cold war” has evolved into today’s “war on terrorism”. What Merton wrote half a century ago remains timely. How can we be better peacemakers in today’s world? The book traces the evolving movement for peace during Merton’s lifetime and demonstrates the deep spiritual roots that culminate in a
decision against using war as a way of settling international disputes....Forest shows Merton as a peacemaking monk challenging the rule of fear, a door-opener and guide to a more contemplative spirituality, one that emphasises that fear need not rule our lives.

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