Category Archives: Meditation

Merton Makes A Quiet Impact in Ireland…

Merton Makes A Quiet Impact in Ireland….


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Filed under Contemplative Prayer, Inter-Faith, Ireland, Meditation, Merton, Monastic Life, Peace, Retreat

Forthcoming One-Day Workshop in Dublin

The Viktor Frankl Institute of Ireland and Thomas Merton Fellowship for Peace & Contemplative Living will be holding a one-day workshop entitled ‘MEANING WITH MERTON’.

The facilitators are:
Rev. Dr. Scott Peddie, Thomas Merton Fellowship
Dr Stephen J. Costello, Director, Viktor Frankl Institute of Ireland


This day will explore Thomas Merton’s spiritual search for meaning within a logotherapeutic framework, relating Merton’s personal quest practically to our lives today, through lectures and experiential exercises.

Saturday August 23rd: 11am-5pm, Avila Carmelite Centre, Bloomfield Ave., Morehampton Road, Donnybrook, Dublin 4 (contribution: €50).

To book your place, contact Scott Peddie (

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May Merton Fellowship Day Retreat

Bethlehem Abbey Portglenone

Bethlehem Abbey Portglenone (photo by Scott Peddie)

The next Merton Fellowship meeting will take place on Sat 3rd May at Bethlehem Abbey, home of the Cistercians in Portglenone, Co. Antrim. The retreat will run from 10am – 4pm.

The program for the day will include contemplative prayer, walking meditation, lectio divina, poetry reflection and discussion. The title of the retreat is ‘Learning from the Monastic Experience’; it will be lead by Scott Peddie and Columba O’Neill OCSO.

To book your place, please contact me via e-mail at Thanks!

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Filed under Contemplative Prayer, Ireland, Meditation, Merton, Monastic Life, Peace, Poetry, Retreat

An Introduction To The Abbey Of Gethsemani


This short introduction to the Abbey of Gethsemani – Merton’s monastic home – featuring Fr. Matthew Kelty, is worth watching:

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September 7, 2013 · 9:55 pm

May Merton Fellowship Day Retreat

The next meeting of the Thomas Merton Fellowship will take place in Co. Donegal – at Malin (Lagg) Presbyterian Church Hall on Saturday 25th May from 10.00am until 4.00pm.
Refreshments on arrival and a light lunch of sandwiches, tea, coffee will be provided.
It will take around 2.5hrs to travel from Belfast to Malin. Some people may want to come on Friday night or stay over on Saturday night. There are lots of B&Bs in the area and a small hotel in Malin Town . I can supply you with addresses and phone numbers, via our host – Tom Finnigan, closer to the time.
I’ll put together a programme in the next week or so, but given the success of the last meeting, I’ll likely follow that format by including some time for lectio divina, contemplative prayer/meditation, group discussion and a chance to listen to excerpts of Merton’s sermons/lectures.  If there is anything else you want added to the programme………just let me know!
As always, we welcome new members to our group, so please share this notice with anyone you think might be interested in joining us.
Finally, do let me know as soon as possible if you plan to come; I hope you will!
Best wishes,
Scott (


Filed under Contemplative Prayer, Meditation, Merton, Retreat

Forthcoming Merton Fellowship Retreat

Dear Friends,

The next Merton Fellowship day retreat will be held on Saturday 10th November 2012 at McCracken Memorial Presbyterian Church,  161 Malone Road, Belfast, Co. Antrim, BT9 6TA (

The topic of the retreat is ‘Encountering Merton: Personal Reflections‘; it will begin at 10am and finish at 4pm, with refreshments provided (please bring a packed lunch).

As with all of our activities, it is open to all, regardless of denominational/faith group affiliation or knowledge of Merton and his work. An interest in peace and contemplative prayer/meditation is all that is required.

To book your place, please contact me at

Peace and blessings, Scott

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Filed under Belfast, Contemplative Prayer, Inter-Faith, Meditation, Peace, Retreat

Is Contemplation Boring?

‘So contemplative silence really is boring—at least, if we do it right. It bores down beneath all the psychic defenses we normally employ to distract ourselves from the presence of God in our lives. Because, well, if we can distract ourselves from God’s presence, we can persist in the illusion that we are actually in control of our lives, are managing our conflicts just fine, and are fully justified in the ways we judge, reject, and try to defeat others’.

So claims Carl McColman, a Lay Cistercian, blogger ( and the author of ‘The Big Book of Christian Mysticism’.

You can read his entire article here: Is Contemplation Boring?.

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Centering Prayer: An Introduction

With roots in the contemplative tradition of the Desert Fathers, books like ‘The Cloud of Unknowing‘ and the writings of Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross and Thomas Merton, centering prayer has a distinguished pedigree.

You may find this short introduction to ‘Centering Prayer’ by its founder, Fr. Thomas Keating, useful:


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Contemplating Contemplation

The question is often asked: ‘do we need contemplative monastics in the modern age?’ Merton was the prime example of the perfect answer to such a question: without contemplation, Merton’s activism would have atrophied and his stance on peace and non-violence would have lost the spiritual pillars that supported it.

The renowned Protestant theologian Jurgen Moltmann made this astute observation:

Christian responsibility for the world requires an ethics for changing the world, based on the righteousness and peace which we believe in and try to live, in the discipleship of Christ.  For that reason Catholic worldwide Christianity needs the Christianity of the monastic orders, and Protestant Christianity needs the historical peace churches as orientation for the far-off goal from which the immediate goals must take their direction. Without the great alternative, small steps in the direction of more justice and righteousness and more peace in the world will have no orientation, and will lose hope; but without practical changes in the world the great alternative will become irrelevant. (Jurgen Moltmann, 2012: Ethics of Hope).

I would add that the Protestant contemplative tradition also needs to be reinvigorated, working hand-in-hand with their  Catholic brothers and sisters.  The Merton Fellowship in Ireland is a good start at doing just that.  So whatever your background, please consider joining us!

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Day Retreat: Exploring Unity

The deepest level of communication is not communication, but communion.  It is wordless.  It is beyond words.  It is beyond speech, and it is beyond concept.  Not that we discover a new unity.  We discover an older unity.  My dear Brothers and Sisters, we are already one.  But we imagine that we are not.  And what we have to recover is our original unity.  What we have to be is what we are. (The Asian Journal of Thomas Merton)

The nest day retreat of the Merton Fellowship will be held at Tobar Mhuire, the Passionist Monastery in Crossgar, Co. Down (website: on Saturday 2nd June 2012 from 10am to 4pm.  The cost of the retreat will depend on final numbers, but will be in the region of £15 per person (and including teas/coffee and a light lunch).

The topic of the retreat will be ‘Exploring Unity’; there will be time during the day for discussion, walking, silence and group prayer/meditation.

As always, our retreats are open to all.

Should you require and further information, or to book your place, please contact me via e-mail at:

Peace and blessings, Scott

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