Look at the masters. Tolkien and Lewis weren’t only fanboys (though they certainly were that by the standards of their time). They were scholars, and scholars at the top level. Tolkien’s work was the fruit of decades, not only of storytelling, but of mastering his source material. All those rich passages in The Lord of the Rings, and in the collateral works, spring from his profound knowledge of European languages, a subject he may have known better than anyone who ever lived. It all started with inventing a language. The story grew from the grammar. The depth of the man’s scholarship is like a rock foundation under every sentence he wrote, every name he bestowed on a character. The books feel real because he knew what he was writing about."The Rescue":
Did you fail Lent? Did you do a terrible job, and were you halfhearted in your penance, and did you resist change? Did you flounder away from the lifeguard and ignore all the warnings? Are you still, even now, drifting away from the shore? Are the voices of your friends and family getting faint, and is your body getting cold? Are you wearing out?
He will save you. That's why He's here. He wouldn't have bothered to come if you didn't need saving, if you weren't doing a terrible job. Just hold out your arms to Him, and He will draw you out, and hold your head up, and take you to the shore, where the ground is firm, where there is air and light."Reading the Scripture Fixed and Free":
It seems that the Bible was intended to nourish the entire person, not merely shape our beliefs and guide our behavior. Otherwise, the poetic and literary nature of the Bible is purely superfluous. Yet, most of us never take a break from studying the Bible to read it."The End!":
Lots of articles focus on creating compelling openings; few discuss how to end the story, yet The End is important. Why?
Because the beginning of a story sells the current book, but the ending sells the next book."Counsels of Perfection: Spiritual Reading":
When I was college age I used to read lots of books about how to write. A lot of them said something along the lines of "Just show up every day; apply your seat to your desk chair. Inspiration may not come, but at least you've provided the ordinary conditions to receive it"
Most spiritual practices are like that, I think. God is always there desiring to give us what we need. But we have to do our part, even if that part is a small one. That is true of any relationship. Even a completely helpless baby has a part to play in his relationship with his parents and siblings."At the Oxford Martyr's Shrine":
Be mindful of these bones
Be mindful of these bones
Lay them in the earth
Till they lie
As thick as glacial rock
In the twinkling of an eye
They will be changed
Finally, Archbishop Cordileone's take on gay marriage is one of the most thoughtful and gracious I've seen, from either side of the issue. I really do think that this sort of reasoned, kind discourse is one of the best legacies of the Roman Catholic church.
Peace of Christ to you,