I am a Catholic who is drawn to the prayer of the heart, known as the Jesus Prayer. I especially love to retreat with the Trappists whenever possible. I have a Ph.D. in Neuromusicology and am a lecturer at Stony Brook University. While I don't perform as often as I used to because of the amount of teaching I do, I am still involved as a professional musician mostly in musical theatre as an accompanist and conductor.
Merton was a Trappist Monk who has written many books on contemplative prayer, peace and justice and other topics. He was a convert from Protestantism. He began as an atheist and through the promptings of the Holy Spirit began to read religious material, especially philosophy. He eventually began to learn about prayer and felt drawn to Catholicism. After a few years he made a retreat at the Abbey of Gethesame in Kentucky where he decided to spend the rest of his life. His autobiographical book, The Seven Storey Mountain was the driving force in many conversions and though written many years ago is still a very popular book because it describes his great story about the mercy of God in his life.