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I don't review books I don't like!

*****= An all-time favorite
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*****Glimpses of Grace

Daily Thoughts and Reflections

by Madeleine L'Engle, with Carole F. Chase

Reviewed December 20, 2003.
HarperSanFrancisco, San Francisco, 1996. 368 pages.
A Sonderbooks’ Stand-out of 2003:  #2, Nonfiction Rereads

This is a wonderful book to read in your devotional time.  I used it two years in a row in the past, and pulled it out again for 2003.  I’m finishing up early so as not to need to bring it on vacation, but I think I may read through it again in 2004.

Carole F. Chase has gone through the writings of Madeleine L’Engle, fiction and nonfiction, for children and adults, and has pulled out 366 inspirational thoughts.  Madeleine L’Engle writes in the tradition of George MacDonald and C. S. Lewis, and the selections are beautiful.  This book puts a delightful interlude into every day.  I think I’ll include some of my favorite passages to give you an idea.

“Slowly I have realized that I do not have to be qualified to do what I am asked to do, that I just have to go ahead and do it, even if I can’t do it as well as I think it ought to be done.  This is one of the most liberating lessons of my life.”

“If we limit ourselves to the age that we are, and forget all the ages that we have been, we diminish our truth.

“Perhaps it is the child within us who is able to recognize the truth of story—the mysterious, the numinous, the unexplainable….  I never want to lose the story-loving child within me, or the adolescent, or the young woman, or the middle-aged one, because all together they help me to be fully alive on this journey, and show me that I must be willing to go where it takes me, even through the valley of the shadow.”

“When we look at a painting, or hear a symphony, or read a book, and feel more Named, then, for us, that work is a work of Christian art.  But to look at a work of art and then to make a judgment as to whether or not it is art, and whether or not it is Christian, is presumptuous.  It is something we cannot know in any conclusive way.  We can know only if it speaks within our own hearts, and leads us to living more deeply with Christ in God.”

“One reason nearly half my books are for children is the glorious fact that the minds of children are still open to the living world; in the child, nightside and sunside are not yet separated; fantasy contains truths which cannot be stated in terms of proof.”

“The most grownup of us is not very grownup at all, and the most mature of us is pretty immature; we still have a vast amount to learn.”

“Nonetheless, myth is the closest approximation to truth available to the finite human being.  And the truth of myth is not limited by time or place.  A myth tells of that which was true, is true, and will be true.”

“I must see Christ and Christ’s love in those whose opinions are very different from mine, or I won’t find it in those whose view fits more comfortably with mine.”

“God is far more loving than we are, and far more forgiving.  We do not want God to forgive our enemies, but Scripture teaches us that all God wants is for us to repent, to say, ‘I’m sorry, Father.  Forgive me.’”

“Like the elder brother, we’re apt to think the father much too lenient.”

“He will not give up on me, not now, not after my mortal death.  He will not give up on any of us, until we become what he meant us to be.”

“The elder brothers all scream for justice, fairness.  And there is something in most of us that agrees.  It isn’t fair! We cry out.  And it isn’t.  But God is not a God of fairness, but of Love.”

“We don’t have to deserve that love which is ours, ours whether we want it or not.  If we don’t want it, that love can be terrible indeed.”

“I don’t know how God plans to teach me all that I need to know before I am ready for the Glory, but my faith is based on the belief that I don’t have to know.  I have to know only that the Maker is not going to abandon me when I die, is not going to make creatures who are able to ask questions which simply cannot be answered in this life, and then drop them with the questions still unanswered.”

“One of our children when he was two or three years old used to rush at me when he had been naughty, and beat against me, and what he wanted by this monstrous behavior was an affirmation of love.  And I would put my arms around him and hold him very tight until the dragon was gone and the loving small boy had returned.

“So God does with me.”

“I have been asked, and many times, ‘But can’t we choose to exclude ourselves?’  Of course.  Haven’t we, as children, haven’t our own children flung out of the room in anger?  And haven’t we waited for them to come back?  We have not slammed the door in their faces.  We have welcomed them home.  Jesus said, “If you. . . know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”

Reviews of other books by Madeleine L'Engle:
Madeleine L'Engle Herself: Reflections on a Writing Life, with Carole F. Chase
Walking on Water
A Circle of Quiet:  The Crosswicks Journals, Book 1
The Summer of the Great-Grandmother:   The Crosswicks Journals, Book 2
The Irrational Season:  The Crosswicks Journals, Book 3
A Wrinkle in Time
A Wrinkle in Time audiobook
The Joys of Love

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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