Thursday, June 16, 2005

Thoughts on the ITMS

I have not been blogging for several days. The Merton Conference wore me out. I have had an interesting thought. Maybe I am mad, but I never remember anytime when there were prayers during the entire conference. Is that not ironic? Or maybe I missed it.

Another thought: Every year I have been involved with this conference it has been about the later years of Merton's life. Father John Eudes Bamberger said this week, "I believe Merton's first books were his best." If that is so, why not at the next ITMS we have the whole conference on Prayer and Contemplation. It might be a good change, right? Think about that.


At 5:13 PM, Anonymous A said...

No prayers at a conference on the life of a Trappist monk? Hmmmm, the Trappists pray seven times a day as I recall. Yes, ironic to say the least!

I suppose in that vein a conference on the topic of Prayer and Contemplation would be ironic too. After all, Merton never did any of that...(cough)....

At 8:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was an intricate and well-produced opening interfaith prayer service. Mass was available everyday with a special closing Mass. Every morning began with a meditation.

Certainly, the rest of the conference treads a fine line between a retreat for Merton fans and the more academic interest in Merton. Given that the program focused on the justice aspect of Merton's work this time and not his writings on contemplation, I think it was well focused. It's not as if past conferences have not dealt with contemplation as a subject, as I'm sure future ones will.

All in all, given the mix of different represented traditions, I think they did a good job of having one foot rooted in Merton's Catholic contemplative tradition while some services open to the diversity of faiths present.

At 9:16 AM, Blogger Dan Phillips said...

You are correct. They did have Mass and a meditation service each day. Unfortunately, I did not make Mass so I missed the prayers. I did make the meditation one day.


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