Thursday, May 2, 2013

What I'm Reading: Fire of Mercy, Heart of the Word

Fire of Mercy, Heart of the Word: Meditations on the Gospel According to Saint MatthewFire of Mercy, Heart of the Word: Meditations on the Gospel According to Saint Matthew by Erasmo Leiva Merikakis

Yes it's 700 pages and only covers the first third of the Gospel of Matthew.

And your point is ...?

That I might not live long enough to finish all three books?

If I don't finish the 2,100 pages or so by then, hopefully I'll be in a place where God will fill me in on what I missed.

Actually I'd been circling around this book for several years. It took Will Duquette's enthusiasm to tip me over the edge.

Flipping through this doorstop, I came across a paragraph that stopped me in my tracks.
The Virgin Mary is called the [Greek words] (the "book of the Word of life") by the Greek Church. The book of the Gospel, the book of Christ's origins and life, can be written and proclaimed because God has first written his living Word in the living book of the Virgin's being, which she has offered to her Lord in all its purity and humility—the whiteness of a chaste, empty page. If the name of Mary does not often appear in the pages of the Gospel as evident participant in the action, it is because she is the human ground of humility and obedience upon which every letter of Christ's life is written. She is the Theotokos, too, in the sense that she is the book that bears, and is inscribed with, the Word of God. She keeps her silence that he might resonate the more plainly within her.
In fact, it almost knocked me out of my seat. So I'm reading these meditations, holding myself down to one per day. I must say that the author's translations are as inspiring as his meditations. There is a vivid sense of "action" that I just don't find when I try different translations to see the equivalent. It feels ... living ... alive ...

Full disclosure: I skipped the lengthy introduction, except for the parable about Aleph which rings loudly every time I see the Aleph after each meditation to remind us to leave space for God to enter in.

When I am craving yet another meditation, I'll begin working through the intro.


  1. "...a paragraph that stopped me in my tracks." Precisely. I have this experience on almost every page.

    I would very much agree with reading the introduction as a meditation, one section a day; there's a great deal of meat in it, and I've found it repays re-reading.

    I've picked up the second and third volume, expecting that I'll get to them eventually (and I don't want to find them out of print); and the whole thing is motivating me to spend more time in lectio divina on my own. In fact, that's how I'm treating this whole thing: Leiva-Merikakis has a skill and a love for the Word that I find I very much want to acquire.

    1. That's how I've been using it also. Sitting quietly each day, severely holding myself to only reading one meditation and then considering the line of the Gospel. Thank you again!