Advent Lecture for Thomas Merton's 100th Birthday Year, Dec. 12
Fairfield University welcomes Reverend Daniel P. Horan OFM, a Franciscan friar, columnist for America magazine and author of several books including his latest award-winning, The Franciscan Heart of Thomas Merton: A New Look at the Spiritual Influence on his Life, Thought, and Writing. Fr. Horan’s lecture, Thomas Merton and the Advent of Christ in Our Lives will be held at Dolan School of Business this Saturday, December 12 from 1-3p.m.
Thomas Merton was a Trappist monk who has been referred to “as one of the most influential Catholic writers of the 20th century.” He was among four great Americans (Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr. and Dorothy Day were the others) Pope Francis spoke about in his address to Congress this past fall when he referred to Merton as a spiritual guide to many and “above all a man of prayer, a thinker who challenged the certitudes of his time and opened new horizons for souls and for the Church. He was also a man of dialogue, a promoter of peace between peoples and religions.”
To understand why Pope Francis singled out Thomas Merton as a modern spiritual influence, Fr. Horan explains, “Merton wasn’t afraid to be prophetic. He wasn’t afraid to call out systems of injustice or other practices of abuse and lack of fairness.” For Fr. Horan, the 2015 centenary of Thomas Merton’s birth is an opportunity to reflect upon and celebrate the writing and wisdom Merton offered us in the past and how he continues to inspire us.
In his book, The Franciscan Heart of Thomas Merton, Fr. Horan writes about the influence of St. Francis on Merton’s life, thought and writings as revealed in a 1966 letter Merton wrote to journalist Anthony Bannon: “[I] will always feel that I am still in some secret way a son of St. Francis. There is no saint in the Church whom I admire more than St. Francis.”
More than half of a century later, Fr. Horan reflects on the relevance of Thomas Merton’s prophetic words today: “In the wake of violence, terror, and widespread discrimination, … Merton offers another perspective, one that recognizes the reality of the world in which we live —broken and tragic at times —yet it is also a reality that is saturated with the grace that is God’s very presence. What Merton celebrates is not an Advent of a new or better ‘me’ as the television commercials would have each of us believe is the purpose of this shopping season. Instead, what makes Advent a season of real hope is that it is about (re)discovering the God who drew near to us as one of us in Jesus of Nazareth and who continues to draw near to us now.”
Saturday, December 12, 2015 1-3 p.m.
Reverend Daniel P. Horan, OFM Lecture on Thomas Merton & the Advent of Christ in Our Lives
Dolan School of Business
A Free event sponsored by the Diocese of Bridgeport Year of Consecrated Life Committee
Pictured - (top) Reverend Daniel P. Horan, OFM: (bottom) Thomas Merton