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Fire of Mercy, Heart of the Word: Meditations on the Gospel According to Saint Matthew: Vol. 1 Paperback – April 1, 1996

4.9 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis obtained his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and Theology from Emory University. Presently he is a Professor of Literature and Theology at the University of San Francisco.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 746 pages
  • Publisher: Ignatius Press (April 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0898705584
  • ISBN-13: 978-0898705584
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #87,933 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Merikakis does something not many modern scipture scholars do - he is able to present a solidly critical interpretation of St. Matthew's Gospel and inspire the reader towards greater faith. So often commentaries get caught up in the minutiae and seem to be full of doubt and lacking in faith. The author begins with the orginal greek (always translated for his readers)and presents a wonderfully rich series of meditations which take into account the whole and the parts of this Gospel. This book is great for ordained clergy and non-ordained clergy alike.
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This book is one of the most marvelous elucidations on Scripture I have ever had the fortune to read. It is more a series of meditations on phrases in the Gospel of Matthew, most at most 2 or 3 pages long. Yet there is a sustained thread of continuity through all the meditations. The author is gifted in multifarious ways. First, he has an intense love for the person of Jesus which is apparent throughout. Second, he has a very contemplative and mystical bent. Third, he is fluent in Greek (his mother was Greek) and so his facility with the language--the subtleties of the worda, idiomatic expressions, grammar, syntax, or underlying meanings--is unmatched. Fourth, he has a facility with the Church's liturgy--both Latin and Greek--and so he nestles the Gospel of Matthew within the Church's liturgical bosom. Fifth, the author is an impeccably orthodox theologian, and though this work is exegetical, spiritual, and poetic in tone, it is strongly founded upon the skeleton of Catholic doctrine. You never see the dogma, but it is there like a rock foundation, and it supports his exegetical musings which are like the cathedral where one is constantly in communion with Jesus of the Scriptures. What is apparent is that a deep love for Scripture, a lectio divina, is not at all inconsistent with Catholic dogma. In fact, they are two different ways of assuring the same thing: that one knows the authentic Jesus. Sixth, the author's grasp of a variety of languages (it appears that he is fluent or at least has ample facility with Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Spanish, French, and German) is an added boon, because some concepts are not adequately conveyed in English. Seventh, the author--who was a literature/theology professor--adds a level of cultural depth that a simple exegesis would not have.Read more ›
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This commentary - or meditation how the author calls it is great help in reading the Gospel - either for myself or for preparing the homily. Although not every comment is useful for the homily yet almost on every page I find for myself a new insight in the scripture. Sometimes author gives more than one page comments on only two words of the verse - yet without much scholarly unnecessary details - All the comments are made referring to the original Greek text but the author does not enter in long discussion about possible translations.
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Format: Paperback
I'm an evangelical pastor and I'm assuming that professor Erasmo is a Catholic - and despite my differences with his church, I found his insight into Matthew deep, touching and insightful. He can competently handle the original languages but also takes it into practical application. He touches on issues that many of the more traditional scholars of Matthew tend to overlook. Although I wouldn't have this commentary as my sole resource on Matthew, it serves as an excellent part of one's library on this particular gospel. Volume II is also recommended..and I patiently await the third volume hopefully soon!
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No book but the Bible itself has increased my love of God more than this. It starts with a summary of "Lectio Divina", the method of prayerful reading, and proceeds to provide the best phrase-by-phrase aid to deepening one's devotion I have ever seen. He mines every precious jewel of meaning possible out of every word, sometimes by explicating the Greek meaning, but every comment seems both unheard of and inevitable. I wonder how I didn't see it before at the same time I'm marveling at how he perceived that detail. I close the book every time understanding our Lord more deeply and loving him more dearly than before. They are thick and detailed volumes, but each one makes the steep and narrow way a little easier. This book was instrumental in my retiurn to the Catholic Church. Highly recommended
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Gospel of Mattew is the most beautifully written witness to the life of Jesus. This book brings the reader into the depths of the spiritual gifts of the Lord. It is written with a spiritually exciting intro and continues with reflections on the mystery contained in each line of the gospel. I have not completed reading this book but I savor each section as a daily meditation. It is a place to go for a sip or a gulp of spiritual refreshment and enlightenment. The only drawback to the Kindle edition is that some of the greek characters do not transliterate correctly and I think some typos are in the text. I don't know how the book was moved from paper to electrons, but the errors are a little distracting. The content is sublime.
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Fire of Mercy Heart of the Word is an excellent meditation of Matthews' Gospel. It is clearly written, spirtually sound and very thorough. It is worthy for study, meditation and contemplation. I look forward to adding Volumes 2 & 3 to my collection.
Steve J. Urban
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