Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

When Words Get in the Way. (Starting Point)

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

When Words Get in the Way. (Starting Point)

Article excerpt

Mystery writer Elmore Leonard said about writing that if proper usage gets in the way, it may have to go. "I cannot allow what we learned in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative. It is my attempt to remain invisible, not distract the reader from the story with obvious writing."

I once met a priest who spent some time in Katmandu. I envied him and told him how marvelous it must have been to have lived with people whose way of life is so different from our own. He replied that they never met Christ. He said that they were so taken with their own beliefs that they were beyond hearing the gospel. He had tried for years, he said, to bring Christ to them and then discerned that he best leave them to their ways. "They will never know Christ," he said. And so he came home.

During his years with the people of Katmandu he must have tasted their food, been offered their friendship, been welcomed to their homes, wore their clothing, been given comfort when hurting, given encouragement when discouraged. There were surely times when he was the beneficiary of the God who was much at home in the snowy heights of the Himalayas and in the warm hearts of the people there. We are welcomed by God, warmed and fed by God, comforted and befriended by God--a God of many names, many colors, a God well familiar with the heights of the Himalayas and the streets of Newark, N.J.

The priest was so far from home. Yet in significant ways he never really left where he came from. …

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