To the unstudied eye, St. Matthew's gospel can seem a terse narrative, almost a historical document and not the tremendously spiritual (and doctrinal) storehouse that it is. In his third volume of meditations on Matthew (chapters 19-25), Erasmo Leiva continues to show Matthew's prose to be not terse so much as economical-astoundingly so given its depth. The lay reader can derive great profit from reading this. Each short meditation comments on a verse or two, pointing to some facet of the text not immediately apparent, but rich with meaning.
Leiva's work is scholarly but eminently approachable by the lay reader. The tone is very much of "taste and see how good the Lord is" and an invitation of "friend, come up higher!". The goal of the book is to help the reader experience the heat of the divine heart and the light of the divine Word.
Leiva comments on the Greek text, demonstrating nuances in the text that defy translation. He uses numerous quotes from the Fathers and the Liturgy of the Church to demonstrate the way the Tradition has lived and read the Word of God. His theological reflection vivifies doctrine by seeking its roots in the words and actions of Jesus.
"Fire of Mercy has become a classic of Catholic culture. It is certainly original, like no other meditation on the Scriptures you will ever read."
- John Saward, Author, The Beauty of Holiness
"This is a biblical commentary with scholarship and, above all, a prayerfulness that is a great gift to the Church. "
- Sr. Wendy Beckett, OCD
"These reflections on Matthew open out onto such staggering vistas of radiance - or shall I say rather, penetrate to such mother lodes of treasure - that one is brought to a halt, over and over: rebuked, instructed, illuminated, and searched."
- Thomas Howard, author of Chance or Dance?
"For almost a decade my fingers have itched to hold this third volume in my hands. No resource has helped me more to enter prayerfully into the heart of the Gospel as a disciple, shepherd and minister of the Word than the first two parts of this series. The beauty and accessibility of Leiva-Merikakis' profound meditation opens up the inexhaustible treasure of God's word in such a way that you cannot help but come to know the Lord Jesus, our faith and yourself much better. This is a work not only for our time but for all time."
- Fr. Roger Landry, Pastor and Chaplain of Catholic Voices USA
Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis obtained his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and Theology from Emory University. Formerly a Professor of Literature and Theology at the University of San Francisco, he is now a Trappist monk at St. Joseph's Abbey in Spencer, Mass. In addition to Vols. 1 & 2 of Fire of Mercy, he is the author of several other books including The Way of the Disciple and Love's Sacred Order.