The latest release from Joan Chittister, OSB, is Between the Dark and the Daylight: Embracing the contradictions of life. In this book Sister Joan gives an experienced, philosophical voice to the hurdles facing spiritual seekers, and helps “to take the sense of aloneness out of life.”
A Benedictine Sister of Erie, Pennsylvania, Sister Joan is a prolific writer and a vocal advocate of peace and social justice. She has written extensively on the topic of equality for women and the role of women in religious life. Sister Joan, with sharp intellect and deep faith in human goodness, questions all assumptions. She seems to learn from every encounter with life, and with teachers of wisdom from all traditions. In her writings, she confidently asserts our common humanity and shared conditions of pain and grace. In Between the Dark and the Daylight, readers benefit from her honesty and boldness, as when, for example, Sister Joan writes about the ways we protect our hearts with a smile, until night comes and we have to face our inner turmoil. Her voice encourages readers to listen inward and grow, for “without that, we are not yet fully alive.”
In an interview with Maureen Fiedler of Interfaith Voices, Sister Joan spoke about her intentions in writing this book. She said, “We have to focus on the attitudes we bring to every challenge in life. We have to ask whether or not we have examined each of them thoroughly or only with prejudice….By admitting our fears and prejudices to ourselves we make room for other ways of thinking. Then we no longer get up in the morning geared for battle.”
In one moving chapter, Sister Joan writes about loss and the ways in which loss can open the way for new life. “Loss frees us to begin again, to be seen differently, to tap into something inside of ourselves that even we were never really sure was there.” Examining one’s perspective on loss can be liberating, as a fresh view gives wounds permission to heal.
Sister Joan lifts up a Benedictine teaching, that we are “to come to see the beauty and glory of God everywhere,” and shares plentiful ways in which to do this. I recommend Between the Dark and the Daylight, and all of Sister Joan’s writings, as companions for the journey.
Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by Blogging for Books for this review. No fee was received.