Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Prophets Up To Here

I'm currently working on a "Read the Bible In a Year" plan. (Why? There's large chunks of the Bible I've never read, I like learning, St. Jerome said ignorance of scriptures is ignorance of Christ, and, besides, scripture reading is indulgenced and I figure I need all the help I can get.) The reading for Lent is all the prophets except Isaiah, who gets read during Advent. I'm currently ahead of schedule. And thinking the prophets are truly penitential reading. Except for the enjoyable book of Daniel, it's just bitch, bitch, bitch all the time. A little of it goes a long way, so I'm not sure I'll do this plan again; I may make a point of reading some of the prophets during Lent in the future, but not all in one go again.

I may not have enjoyed his book, but I must say I feel some sympathy with Jeremiah. He doesn't sound as if he always (or ever?) wanted to be a prophet; while his complaining about Israel's faithlessness may get old, his complaints about his calling seem heartfelt. I especially like his comment about how he's sometimes told himself he would stop talking about God, only to be driven to it again by a burning inside. I understand that feeling. In my own experience it was thinking, not talking, but the frustration at not being able to simply drop it must be similar.

Kathleen Norris' book Cloister Walk has a bit about hearing Jeremiah read in a Benedictine monastery in the mornings. She says it really gets you going--better than caffeine. I liked the bit where she says something like, "monks aren't accustomed to hearing themselves compared to camels in heat, but they took it pretty well."

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