Author Joseph F. Girzone has written a lovely book of meditations on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. In The Wisdom of His Compassion, Girzone reflects on 44 passages from the gospels, arranged in order from the Annunciation to the Last Supper. With his reflection, Girzone tries to imagine the feelings and perspective of Jesus. He also shares with the reader personal stories, illustrating the gospel at work in his own life.
In his preface Girzone writes that “Jesus’ love needs nothing but knows only how to give,” and that this love points us toward the mercy and compassion of God. If we can take time to imagine the loving response and abundantly compassionate perspective of Jesus, perhaps we can have a deeper sense of how to emulate his behavior.
I appreciated that the meditations offered words of challenge, not only comfort. For example, Girzone writes of the Samaritan woman at the well: Jesus “handpicked her to be a missionary, an apostle to the Samaritans…. Can you imagine picking a person like that to be a reader in church, or even to be on the parish council?” He helps us to see the gap between the teachings of Jesus and the behavior of the followers of Jesus.
This book is tender and brimming with love. It also provides a very practical tool for inspiration; the volume is small enough to carry around, yet it contains gospel stories from throughout the ministry of Jesus. If you had a craving for guidance, you could open the book to any page and find a story that nourishes.
A retired priest, Joseph F. Girzone is the author of more than a dozen books, including Jesus: A new understanding of God’s son. He is the founder of the Joshua Foundation, dedicated to teaching about the life of Jesus.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes. No fee was received in exchange for this review.