“imposter of sorts,” who reluctantly played the part of the happy, contemplative guru. In reality, Shaw argues, Merton was haunted by his youthful indiscretions with women—including reportedly, the fathering of a child out of wedlock—and the chasm between his private past and public persona.
“Clearly, if he was so miserable, he would have left the monastery and taken up with Margie,” Martin said. Merton’s decision to remain a monk puts the lie to Shaw’s theory, according to Martin and others.
For sure, Merton was not the typical monk. He butted heads with superiors, received a steady stream of visitors, made a deep study of Zen Buddhism, and occasionally left the abbey to down a few bourbons. Still, Merton’s evident humanity does not make him any less holy, said Martin.
“Especially with Merton, one sees both the sins and the sanctity,” Martin said. “And I wonder if this isn’t something like the way God sees us.”
Link (here) to the full piece on Thomas Merton