Thomas Merton was a monk, a poet, a contemplative, a peace activist, a nurturer of interreligious dialogue—and much more. Countless books have been written exploring most of these facets of Merton's life and work in the years since his tragic death in 1968.
I have only a small flickering light to guide me in the darkness of a thick forest. Up comes a theologian and blows it out." So complained 18th-century French philosopher Denis Diderot. It is true that much that passes for theology fails to illumine the path, and it does not help to claim that nontheological reasoning is often equally opaque. Thankfully, a few lights shine brightly.
Alex, a six-year-old boy from Scarsdale, New York, wrote to President Obama, asking him to send a Syrian refugee to live with his family. “We will give him a family, and he will be our brother,” Alex wrote. He told the president that he has a friend at school from Syria. In his request Alex was referring to five-year-old Omran Daqneesh, whose picture was widely circulated after he was rescued from his bombed-out house in Aleppo. The White House published Alex’s letter, and the president read it at a UN Summit on Refugees (Independent, September 22).