Sunday, May 24, 2009
Book Review: Tears of God
Tears of God: Persevering in the Face of Great Sorrow or Catastrophe
Benedict J. Groeschel, C.F.R.
Ignatius Press (2009)
Paperback: 107 pps., $10.95
This review was written as part of The Catholic Company product review program. Visit The Catholic Company for more information about Tears of God.
In Tears of God: Persevering in the Face of Great Sorrow or Catastrophe, Fr. Groeschel writes about drawing upon faith when encountering unimaginable horrors. He identifies as his audience those in the throes of catastrophe; family members and friends who are connected in some way to those experiencing catastrophe; and those called to intercessory prayer. To this readership, I'd add anyone engaged in social justice, healthcare, or bereavement ministries.
What do we do in the face of tragedy and catastrophe? What could we do? "People of faith," says Groeschel, "must embrace their belief in God. There's no way around this. We are reassured by the Old Testament and the New Testament that Divine Providence cares for those who trust in God."
No news for those of "deep" or "strong" faith. The problem, Groeschel gently points out, is that people of "weak" faith are often at a loss. Who are these folks? "They would like to believe. They would like to trust, but they don't feel or experience that their trust in God is strong enough to sustain them through the catastrophe in which they find themselves," he explains.
Although he doesn't say so explicitly, Groeschel is highlighting under-formed spirituality that may or may not be accompanied by inadequate catechesis. What he calls those of "weak" faith often do not know where to turn in scripture or how to use it for meditation and contemplation. Nor do they readily turn to prayer -- formal or informal.
Fortunately, Groeschel offers correctives in the form of prayers and meditations, some drawn from other sources and others apparently written specifically for Tears of God. Short easy-to-read but nevertheless substantial chapters that can be read out of sequence add to this book's appeal.