The Sign of Jonas

by Thomas Merton

Paperback, 1979





This diary of a monastic life is "a continuation of The Seven Storey Mountain . . . Astonishing" (Commonweal).   Chronicling six years of Thomas Merton's life in a Trappist monastery, The Sign of Jonas takes us through his day-to-day experiences at the Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani, where he lived in silence and prayer for much of his life.   Concluding with the account of Merton's ordination as a priest, this diary documents his growing acceptance of his vocation--and the greater meaning he found within his private world of contemplation.   "This book is made unmistakably real and almost, at times, unbearably poignant by the fact that the exuberance of youth so often wells up through it with rapture, impatience, and even bluster." --TheNew York Times   "A stirring book--the most readable and on the whole, most illuminating of the author's writings." --Catholic World… (more)


Harcourt (1979), Edition: 1st Harvest/HBJ ed, 362 pages


(39 ratings; 4.2)

User reviews

LibraryThing member astherest
I liked this book much better than the Seven Story Mountain. I suppose it's biographical in that it's what happened to him, but it's much more of a meditation on his life with the Christian God. There's a lot about the monastic life and contemplative prayer. It's also very well written, almost
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poetical. I'm not longer a Merton fan, but when I was this was my favorite.
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LibraryThing member LTW
A collection of journal entries written between 1946 and 1952. It introduces readers to the daily life of a monk and is sometimes referred to as "The Seven Storey Mountain: Part II."
LibraryThing member jd234512
While I generally look to Merton because of his wisdom and the gift of prophecy that he has in reflection that is hard to find in many, that is not really the intent of this book. What we have here could be written by any monastic. It is essentially the diary of the events in a monastery and the
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struggle that takes place in giving a life towards God, yet still living selfishly. I would definitely recommend this for those that are interested on the day to day happenings of a monastery and the ascetic lifestyle. I would not, however, recommend this to regular fans of Merton's musings, as they are not in the same style. Overall, I'm glad I read this, but this will not be one I come back to in the same manner.
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LibraryThing member briteness
The books of Thomas Merton were important influences on me in my 20s, and I would not be the man I am today without having come into contact with his work. LibraryThing tells me I still own 34 books by him, and that is after getting rid of several over the years. The Sign of Jonas, excerpts from
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his journals published as a follow-up to the commercial success of The Seven Storey Mountain, is one of the few from which I still read sections from time to time. The epilogue, titled “Fire Watch, July 4, 1952”, stands up as one of the strongest pieces he ever wrote. This book, along with Mountain and the later work Confessions of a Guilty Bystander, basically form an autobiographical trilogy which traces the evolution of Merton's thought through his life. I love all three, but Jonas is the best of them.
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