Life is joyful, beautiful and a rich blessing, but also difficult, painful and mysterious. This profound and practical book looks at how the Christian spiritual tradition has tried to understand the part suffering plays within human growth and our experience of God. Suffering can ask questions of us and impel us to live for what is really important it can also diminish us and stunt our growth. What makes the difference? This book helps all engaged in pastoral care or spiritual direction explore that question for themselves and with others.
From Julian of Norwich gazing at Christ entering the depths of our difficulty, to the terrors of the dark night of the soul experienced by St John of the Cross, to the poets George Herbert and Gerard Manley Hopkins who, like Jacob, wrestled with God, this rich book helps us see that even in a desolate and trackless wasteland, we are in the company of pilgrims across time and can glimpse a hidden Promised Land. Through these different windows we are encouraged not to cling to suffering, nor to flee from its threat, but to discover within it the work of a resourceful, creative and compassionate God.
CHRISTOPHER CHAPMAN is Spiritual Formation Adviser for the Diocese of Southwark and helps to train lay pastoral workers. He trained as a spiritual director at St Beunos and Heythrop College and has been involved in retreat giving and spiritual direction for 25 years.
'This book will find a welcome place on my bookshelf.'