A Bible, a journal, and three short works.
Nathaniel Martin sailed with his friend and fellow-naturalist Stephen Maturin on two long sea voyages in Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series, first as the ship's chaplain and later as Maturin's assistant surgeon. Never much of a fist at sermonizing, Martin took to writing and publishing impolitic tracts that offended the Royal Navy Board and prevented him from returning as a chaplain.
Martin lost an eye to an owl, and, as long as Martin's eye was single, O'Brian let him rival Captain Jack Aubrey for Maturin's time and friendship. Martin married between voyages, however, and his newfound obsession with providing for his family began to make him tedious company for Maturin. (Banality is the worst symptom a character can present with in these novels.) Martin's overheated conscience led him to an end straight out of Hawthorne, with whom he shared his first name.
These are the sermons he never wrote.
Something you don’t see in a Christmas pageant: the slaughter of the innocents. But there it is, in the middle of Matthew’s account.
Matthew’s baby Jesus is peripatetic, dodging bullets & fulfilling scripture. “Out of Egypt have I called my son.” “He shall be called a Nazarene.”
Luke: baby Jesus with the lambs. Matthew: baby Jesus on the lam.
Across from the school, a cemetery. Twenty-six stockings hang there tonight.
The chief strength of Merton’s book may be its seeming ability to just get out of the way. Of course, we find Merton’s Fathers hospitable, charitable, and nonjudgmental. But we also meet grouchy Fathers, bizarre Fathers, and seemingly legalistic Fathers. Their stories make us wonder at the sandblasting these souls took to earn their few words.
I often find myself collecting quotes not to comment on them but simply to juxtapose them, to put them on the same page and watch them defend, refute, or qualify one another. A really good pairing seems to create an energy, and sometimes a friendship, much like imaginative and successful pairings among guests at a dinner party. And by the time my quotes have found their place cards, I find I have nothing to say and less reason to say it.
[The second of four occasional articles of variations on Lectio Divina meditation, based on the book Prayer and Temperament by Chester P. Michael and Marie C. Norrisey.] Ironically, one of the most entertaining forms of Christian meditation is most appealing to the most practical and rules-oriented kind of people, according to Chester P. Michael and [...]