Monday, March 23, 2009

Marking Time

Not a lot to talk about right now. I’ve been in a sort of holding pattern since I got the surgery date, and there has been no real news on that front. I have some things I need to take care of before I go under the knife, but I’m procrastinating doing them. So I need to find a way to break out of that pattern and get some things done.

I figure at least, for now, I can talk about what I’m reading. One of the books I’m reading at the moment is actually a book that I’ve read before and re-treaded it. “The Father and The Son” was published in 2001. It was written by Matt Murray, currently a staff journalist with the Wall Street Journal, and it is an account of the spiritual journey of his father. Matt watched this all take place over time after the death of his mother from breast cancer. And it is a journey, both for Matt and his father, Jim.

Over the course of about 10 years, Matt watches his father evolve from being a near-recluse to finding his faith and returning to his Catholic roots, to ultimately becoming a Benedictine monk. Matt’s father, Fr. James Murray, OSB, is a member of the Benedictine community at St. Bede’s Abbey in Peru, Illinois, has been there since 1985 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1993. He is a retreat master and a teacher at the high school that the monastery sponsors. Not bad for someone who, by my count, is past 80 years of age…

I’m sure it was a hard story for Matt to write. After all, it’s pretty clear to the reader that he questions everything. He’s questioning his father’s faith, plus he has a lot of uncertainty about his own; this stays with the reader through the last page of the book. On top of that it’s hard not to see in places where his frustration and anger, as well as some indirect references to his own sense of loneliness, is present. I suppose if it were my father, I might be pretty unhappy too. After all, his departing for a journey of faith like this certainly is disruptive; it changed the dynamics of his family in an instant.

With all of this said, he does come to terms with his father’s decisions. They make peace. They become family again. Not only Matt, but his three siblings as well manage somehow to become reconciled to what they discover is the call their father answered.

I went back to it as part of my own Lenten walk. It was worth it, as I found – yet again – that when I read a book for a second (or sometimes third) sitting I find things that I didn’t see the first time.

I am glad for that.


Elizabeth said...

This sounds a fascinating book; I will look out for it !

Only books I have read and enjoyed at least twice earn a permanent place on my shelves; I also find much that is new with each re-reading of a book.

Walt Trachim said...

As I said, it was originally published close to 10 years ago, but I'm sure if you were interested either Amazon or Barnes&Noble or some other online bookseller has it. It's not a terribly long book (under 300 pages in hardback) but it is well-written.

RitaF said...

Just a note that Father James Murray passed away October 31, 2011at St. Bede Abbey in Peru, IL. He will be missed by many who sought his spiritual direction.