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Thomas Merton was an unlikely convert to Catholicism who became a Trappist monk. His memoir, The Seven Storey Mountain, published in 1948, was a surprise bestseller. Among other ways in which he changed the world, Merton made it okay for Catholics (and other Christians) to learn from the mystics of Asia. He made it okay for me to eventually embark on a mystical path, something I desired from an early age. Check out the link below the photo of Thomas Merton to read James Martin, SJ's tribute. Below is an excerpt from To Drink from the Silver Cup about my childlike wish for God to talk to me:

One evening, Dad and I walked across the road from the mission at Teec Nos Pos to feed our chickens. While we were scattering kernels of dried corn, I spotted a fan comprised of seven or eight large, rust-red feathers lying on the ground. They were bound together at the quill end by cream-colored suede, which formed the handle. From that hung a fringe decorated with red and turquoise beads.

I picked up the fan and called, “Dad, look what I found.”

He stepped over, carrying the red Hills Brothers coffee can filled with grain. “Wow! Those are peyote ceremony feathers, I’m pretty sure.”

I’d heard him mention the dangers and sinfulness of peyote, so I was puzzled by his enthusiasm. “What are they for?”

“I’m not positive, but I think the roadman, the leader in peyote ceremonies, uses them to spread cedar or sage smoke. I’ll ask around. See if I can find out more.” Then he added unnecessarily, “Peyote ceremonies are wrong. They have Jesus in their ceremonies all mixed up with Navajo religion. And they think they need a drug so they can have visions.”

“What’s wrong with visions?” I asked. I was pretty sure I’d like to have visions. “The prophets and disciples had visions.” I imagined my own burning bush Read More 
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