Wednesday 19 April 2006

God Is Not Reasonable: and Other tales of Mother Macrina

God Is Not Reasonable: and other tales of Mother Macrina
By: Irma Zaleski
New Seeds
ISBN: 1590303032
March 2006

This is an updated and expanded edition of the great book Mother Macrina that was published by Novalis press in 2000. This Version has nearly twice as many stories and bits of wisdom to pass on the the earnest reader.

This is an inspiring little volume that focuses on the wisdom of Mother Macrina, a wise woman who left a hermitage and settled in a small town in northern Ontario. Her wisdom became known, and as her reputation spread, more and more people came to her door, and her door was always open. She invited them in to have tea and talk.

When she passed away, people were surprised by how many came to her funeral. These stories are the collection of some of her wisdom and guidance, the tales that people still tell.

These stories read like the wisdom of the desert fathers, or the Zen mystics. The book is a collection of short thoughts and its wisdom and guidance is penetrating. Mother Macrina relates this about being sorry:

Be Sorry!
A woman came to tell Mother Macrina about a quarrel she had with a friend. She explained in detail how it came about, and how difficult her friend had been. She was sorry she got so angry, but still…

Mother listened patiently till the women ran out of breath. Then she asked her, “Why don’t you tell your friend you are sorry and be done with it?”

“But Mother,” the woman exclaimed, “did you not listen to me at all? It wasn’t my fault; I explained it to you already!”

“So you did,” answered Mother Macrina. “What a strange thing it is that to say one is sorry takes only a moment, but to explain why one should not say it takes over an hour!” p.16

That is just a taste of the wisdom for life that you will glean from this little gem. These brief parables will make you laugh, smile, and pause to reflect upon your own life and maybe it will help you grow. Pick it up and I am sure you will enjoy it. Zaleski is also the author of Living the Jesus Prayer and The Way of Repentance.

Irma Zaleski is one of those hidden treasures in literature you only find by chance or luck. A number of years ago I ran across one of her books by chance, I only picked it up because Michael W. Higgins had been quoted on the cover promoting the book. Since then I have fallen in love with her writing style and her works. I have tried to track down all of her writings that I could find. Each one is a gem that will enrich your life.

Zaleski, who was born in Poland in 1931, she escaped to England after the second world war, and came to Canada in 1952, she has led a vivid and diverse life. She has been a professor at the University of Toronto, a translator and a writer. In 1986 she moved to Combermere, Ontario. In her youth she practiced Buddhism and has studied Christian traditions from both the east and the west. As such she brings a breadth and depth to her writings that only comes with such diverse experience.

(First Published in Imprint 2006-05-05 as 'Macrina's Wisdom Lives On'.)

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