This week’s homily by The Rev. Thomas M. Boles, P.h.D.

Novelist A.J. Cronin had been in practice as a physician for almost 10 years when he developed a gastric ulcer that required complete rest.

He went to a farm in the Scottish Highlands to recuperate. He says, “The first few days of leisure were pleasant enough, but soon the enforced idleness of Fyne Farm became insufferable. I had often, at the back of my mind, nursed the vague illusion that I might write. I had actually thought out the theme of a novel, the tragic record of man’s egotism and bitter pride.

Upstairs in my cold, clean bedroom was a scrubbed deal table and a very hard chair. The next morning I found myself in this chair, facing a new exercise book, open upon the table, slowly becoming aware that, short of dog-Latin prescriptions, I had never composed a significant phrase in all my life.

It was a discouraging thought as I picked up my pen. Never mind, I began. Even though Cronin struggled to write 500 words a day and eventually threw his first draft on the farm’s trash heap, he finished Hatter’s Castle. The book was dramatized, translated into 22 languages, and sold some five million copies. The world had lost a physician, but gained a novelist.


Now therefore perform the doing of it;
that as there was a readiness to will,
so there may be a performance also
out of that which ye have.

2 Corinthians 8: 11

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