They have a way of turning our lives into a pretense, a masquerade — a central theme in The Leprous Veil of Love. Against the backdrop of current immigration reform efforts in the USA the novel provides important historical perspective. The novel depicts the struggles of Mexican immigrants to the USA by focusing on one family that migrated to Texas in and follows family members as they come to grips with a new, often hostile environment.
The book traces two years in the lives of 6 Americans from different walks of life who arrive at forks in their personal crossroads all leading to Lake Chapala. Laguna Tales is digitally published and available on Amazon. The descriptions of the Lake Chapala area are dead on. The book is nationally-acclaimed in the USA where it was named one of the top 25 independent books of It includes the title novella and 10 short stories in the magical realism genre perfected by Isabelle Allende and Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
The book is a collection of poems about the author's finding her way in life after the death of her mother, which occurred when Margaret was a child of I have risked the tedium of quotation that I might show by pointed example what I have set out to say, viz.
Such worship as Faber knew and he is but one of a great company which no man can number can never come from a mere doctrinal knowledge of God. Men of the breaking hearts had a quality about them not known or understood by common men. They habitually spoke with spiritual authority.
They had been in the Presence of God and they reported what they saw there. They were prophets, not scribes, for the scribe tells us what he has read, and the prophet tells us what he has seen. The distinction is not an imaginary one. Between the scribe who has read and the prophet who has seen there is a difference as wide as the sea. We are today overrun with orthodox scribes, but the prophets, where are they? The hard voice of the scribe sounds over evangelicalism, but the Church waits for the tender voice of the saint who has penetrated the veil and has gazed with inward eye upon the Wonder that is God.
And yet, thus to penetrate, to push in sensitive living experience into the holy Presence, is a privilege open to every child of God. Why do we consent to abide all our days just outside the Holy of Holies and never enter at all to look upon God? What doth hinder us? There is something more serious than coldness of heart, something that may be back of that coldness and be the cause of its existence. What is it?
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What but the presence of a veil in our hearts? A veil not taken away as the first veil was, but which remains there still shutting out the light and hiding the face of God from us. It is the veil of our fleshly fallen nature living on, unjudged within us, uncrucified and unrepudiated. It is the close-woven veil of the self-life which we have never truly acknowledged, of which we have been secretly ashamed, and which for these reasons we have never brought to the judgment of the cross.
It is not too mysterious, this opaque veil, nor is it hard to identify.
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We have but to look in our own hearts and we shall see it there, sewn and patched and repaired it may be, but there nevertheless, an enemy to our lives and an effective block to our spiritual progress. This veil is not a beautiful thing and it is not a thing about which we commonly care to talk, but I am addressing the thirsting souls who are determined to follow God, and I know they will not turn back because the way leads temporarily through the blackened hills.
The urge of God within them will assure their continuing the pursuit. They will face the facts however unpleasant and endure the cross for the joy set before them. So I am bold to mane the threads out of which this inner veil is woven. It is woven of the fine threads of the self-life, the hyphenated sins of the human spirit. They are not something we do, they are something we are , and therein lies both their subtlety and their power.
To be specific, the self-sins are these: self-righteousness, self-pity, self-confidence, self-sufficiency, self-admiration, self-love and a host of others like them. They dwell too deep within us and are too much a part of our natures to come to our attention till the light of God is focused upon them. The grosser manifestations of these sins, egotism, exhibitionism, self-promotion, are strangely tolerated in Christian leaders even in circles of impeccable orthodoxy. They are so much in evidence as actually, form any people, to become identified with the gospel.
I trust it is not a cynical observation to say that they appear these days to be a requisite for popularity in some sections of the Church visible. Promoting self under the guise of promoting Christ is currently so common as to excite little notice. Self can live unrebuked at the very altar. It can watch the bleeding Victim die and not be in the least affected by what it sees.
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It can fight for the faith of the Reformers and preach eloquently the creed of salvation by grace, and gain strength by its efforts. To tell all the truth, it seems actually to feed upon orthodoxy and is more at home in a Bible Conference than in a tavern. Our very state of longing after God may afford it an excellent condition under which to thrive and grow.
Self is the opaque veil that hides the Face of God from us. It can be removed only in spiritual experience, never by mere instruction. As well try to instruct leprosy out of our system. There must be a work of God in destruction before we are free. We must invite the cross to do its deadly work within us. We must bring our self-sins to the cross for judgment. We must prepare ourselves for an ordeal of suffering in some measure like that through which our Saviour passed when He suffered under Pontius Pilate.
Let us remember: when we talk of the rending of the veil we are speaking in a figure, and the thought of it is poetical, almost pleasant; but in actuality there is nothing pleasant about it. In human experience that veil is made of living spiritual tissue; it is composed of the sentient, quivering stuff of which our whole beings consist, and to touch it is to touch us where we feel pain. To tear it away is to injure us, to hurt us and make us bleed. To say otherwise is to make the cross no cross and death no death at all.
It is never fun to die. At a convent, Cadfael finds Avice of Thornbury, who tells him Huon de Domville left the hunting lodge at dawn. Brother Mark confirms that Joscelin was already at Saint Giles, having watched him all day. Cadfael then finds Godfrid Picard strangled as Huon de Domville was. Agnes turns on Simon Aguilon, accusing him of murdering the baron and Picard.
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Simon sought Iveta's hand, as de Domville's heir. Picard realised at the coffining ceremony that Simon had removed his ring. Cadfael reports that Simon was entrusted to escort Avice to the hunting lodge, and he alone knew the route. Simon is surrounded, and the ring found. When Cadfael examines Picard's body, he doubts Simon strangled Picard; the killer was missing fingers. Cadfael accompanies Mark to Saint Giles and talks with Lazarus, recognising him as Guimar de Massard, a hero of the Crusade who was believed dead 40 years earlier. Lazarus says the Fatamid doctors diagnosed and treated his leprosy; he lived as a hermit until learning his late son had left a daughter.
Returning to England, he was outraged to find his granddaughter being exploited by her uncle, Picard, for his own gain.
He confronted Picard, disarmed and strangled him. Cadfael urges Lazarus to reveal himself to Iveta, mentioning another Lazarus who returned from the dead to his family. Lazarus removes his veil, revealing a face ravaged by disease, and claims it would be better for him to remain unknown; assuring Cadfael he is all right, he leaves Saint Giles and is never seen again.
Kirkus Reviews is also positive:. A welcome fifth appearance for Brother Cadfael, that compassionate sleuth-monk-herbalist of medieval Shrewsbury Abbey—whose mystery once again involves a star-crossed romance. Iveta de Massard, doll-like granddaughter of a long-dead Crusades hero, is in love with young squire Joscelin Lucy.
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So, as soon as Picard's cold-eyed wife catches on to the romance, Joscelin is framed as a thief, taken prisoner. And when Joscelin's escape is quickly followed by the murder of would-be groom Domville, the poor lad is the top suspect—and he takes refuge in a nearby leper sanctuary. Complete with a dramatic public confrontation and a final bit of Cadfael deduction: another Peters delight, featuring vital characters, a beautifully organised puzzle, and history made real.
Publisher: Morrow. Publishers Weekly reviewed a audio book of this and the prior novel in the series in one article, liking the historical setting more than the plots:. Murder abounds in these early chronicles of Brother Cadfael, medieval herbalist and sleuth. Listeners are likely to solve these mysteries long before the insightful Benedictine monk, but predictable plotting is amply compensated for by the author's wonderful re-creation of the period and actor Stephen Thorne's excellent narration.
Sister M. Buffalo, NY December 15, . The book explores social conflicts that arose from the aristocratic society and the manorial system in the Middle Ages in England. Family life, including marriage, was structured around the importance of land, and further complicated by men leaving upon their own inspiration for the Crusades , far from England.
The story is set in a real place, Shrewsbury Abbey near the River Severn in the real area of England near the border with Wales known as Shropshire. The era of the Anarchy is not long after the Norman Conquest of England ; most of the nobles are of Norman heritage, slowly intermarrying with the native Saxons.
In time, it is set shortly after Empress Maud returned to England, taking Arundel Castle , where she was besieged and allowed to leave, as she joined her supporters in Bristol. Brother Cadfael, not of noble birth and that in Wales, joined the First Crusade, and claims that some Saracens were nobler and more righteous than at least some of the crusaders from Europe; this experience of his life led to his open-minded view to "meet every man as you find him". Brother Cadfael is loyal to his homelands; after killing the enemy in the First Crusade, he came to a tolerant view of the people in his world, and turned to the healing arts.
Travel opened his mind. In his new life, he used knowledge of plants to treat the ill and wounded. In this story, his knowledge of plants, specifically blue creeping gromwell and its rarity around Shrewsbury, led him to the witness who provided crucial information to solve the murder. The fictional Guimar de Massard had a strong sense of his own honour. He left large lands to his heirs at his death supposed to be from battle, when he had become ill with the feared disfiguring disease.
His scheme provided for his heirs and protected his honour, but deprived his granddaughter of a strong protector when her father died. He was alive but absent from his family fearing their reaction to his appearance due to the illness, yet works out a way to protect her anonymously. In him are all the forces of the era: call to the Crusades, chivalry in battle and in love, the manor system, the importance of family, and the powerful connection to Christianity.
Joscelin Lucy is heir to two manors.
It was common for a young man in his situation to be sent at the age of thirteen or fourteen as squires in equal or greater noble households, to learn knightly duties before becoming knights themselves. When dismissed by de Domville, Joscelin considers joining the King's army, as rumours grow of impending civil war. Lazar houses , separate facilities for people with leprosy or other disfiguring diseases sprang up as the disease incidence increased in medieval England soon after the Norman Conquest. Inmates of a lazar house were bound by many rules: they must not approach any large town; they must use a clapper or their voice to warn the healthy of their "unclean" presence; and most wore heavy cloaks and even face cloths to hide their disfigurements.
Giles, where food and medicine were provided,  most had a begging bowl, for the chance charity of passersby.