Why I’m Not Giving Up Hoopla for Lent

A few weeks ago I came across the audiobook 7 Days with Thomas Merton by Fr Donald Goergen, O.P. and was able to download it and over the course of several days listen to it. While at first Fr Goergen’s speaking style did not appeal to me, the retreat was well organized with a good introduction (or reminder) of several aspects of Merton’s thinking. Each day/chapter focused on a different one of Merton’s books with a well chosen passage from Merton and helpful expository remarks from Fr Goergen.

While listening to the retreat, I decided it would be good to spend time with Merton over these days of Lent (which if you have not been watching your calendar begins this coming week on Wednesday, February 17).

And that’s where Hoopla comes in.

Do you know about Hoopla?

My local public library (Mobile Public Library) subscribes to the digital service Hoopla. On Hoopla you can stream or download movies, television shows, music, ebooks, audiobooks and graphic novels. In some cases there is a limit to the number of items you can borrow in any given month but all this is available as a free service from the public library.

While looking around at Hoopla I discovered the audiobook I mentioned above and with only a little more searching (like entering “merton” in the search book) I found 85 items of which about 70 were either audiobooks or ebooks by or about Thomas Merton.

And here is the part that sold me on sending Lent with Thomas Merton at Hoopla – many of the items are recordings of Merton giving retreats or on occasions he was instructing the monks and others at Gethsemani Abbey.

So in Lent 2021, I will be able to hear, not just read, Thomas Merton as he shares from his spirit and wealth of insights.

I think I will start with Thomas Merton on Contemplation and then maybe go on to Thomas Merton on Poetry (want to explore the writings of William Blake, Gerard Manley Hopkins, W. H. Auden, Charles Peguy, and Emily Dickinson with Merton as your guide?).

No, wait! Maybe being a native Mississippian I should go to Thomas Merton on William Faulkner and Classical Literature. The description of this audiobook wants me to believe “Merton demonstrates that Faulkner is a mythological rather than sociological writer; he uses the particular setting of the American South to tell stories of universal significance.”

So many choices.

One more thing – check and see if your local public library subscribes to Hoopla (or maybe a similar service). You might be pleased with what you find.

{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

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