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AbstractThe year 2015 marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of Thomas Merton who was born on31 January 1915. His writings cover diverse themes, which are of value to a myriad of faithtraditions. This article will trace his understanding of holiness and the way in which Mertonemphasised participation in the transformation of the world. It commences with a biographicaloverview of Merton and then Merton’s understanding of ‘holiness’ as growth of the ‘true self’in God is discussed. His work as social critic is outlined and the article ends with a reflectionof Merton’s understanding of ‘love’ and ‘compassion’ – a life before God.