Item #: 0887-4
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Author: Sr. Virginia M. Butler, O.P.
Copyright: 2001
First Printed: 02-02-2001

Five Gospels record the life of Jesus. Four you will find in books and one you will find in the land they call holy. Read the fifth Gospel and the world of the four will open to you.

It is in a reflection on the land, so very much bound up with the religious and political history of Israel, that we will discover, not so much the letter as the spirit of the Word of God, and specifically of the New Testament. From the birth of Jesus in a cave in Bethlehem to his burial in a cave outside of Jerusalem, from his hidden life in the hills of Nazareth to his public life along the Sea of Galilee, from his Transfiguration on the Mount called Tabor to his Sermon on the Mount in Galilee and his Ascension on the Mount of Olives, from his forty day sojourn in the desert to his baptism in the waters of the Jordan — we follow in the footsteps of Jesus and let the land speak to us as it spoke to him two thousand years ago. In this intuitive and contemplative approach to the Scriptures, we enter into the mystery of the life of Jesus and find our faith increase. We begin to experience the meaning of things we had perhaps never understood before. Excitement builds within us and we can hardly wait to go forth praising God and spreading the good news that the One who died and rose again accompanies us on our journey now.

About the Author: In addition to a BA in Fine Arts from Rosemont College in Pennsylvania and an MA in Biblical Studies from Providence College in Rhode Island, Sr. Virginia Marie Butler, OP has a Certificate in Biblical Spirituality from the Catholic Theological Union, Chicago which she earned at the end of an academic year which included the study of Scripture and archaeology in Israel, Egypt, Greece and Turkey. She has had a variety of ministerial experiences as a Dominican Sister in parishes, residences for women, schools of adult education, retreat centers and houses of formation where she taught religion, art and Scripture, conducted weekend programs, edited retreat center newspapers and offered spiritual counseling to retreatants and students. This is her first book for Alba House.

Book: 127 pages
ISBN-10: 0-8189-0887-4
ISBN-13: 978-0-8189-0887-3
Prod. Code: 0887-4


Reviews

"This book of biblical meditations is a lovely blend of solid biblical study and artful pastoral reflection. The author draws on her own experience of the Holy Land and its indelible geography and sacred memories as a way of reflecting on the various moods and theological motifs of the gospels." --Donald Senior, C.P. in The Bible Today, May/June 2001

 

"This is a wonderfully readable book that should appeal to a number of different audiences. It is an excellent way for people who are searching for a deeper understanding of Sacred Scripture, particularly the Gospels, but who are not looking for an overly scholarly approach or academic explanation of the text. This is not to say the book lacks scholarship. On the contrary, the value of the writing is its multi-layered approach. In other hands, it could have proved awkward and complex For example, I found myself drawn into a new understanding of the life of Jesus and did not realize I was learning about the Gospels, how they came to be, their relationship with each other and the ancient culture at the same time. Butler's detailed attention to the physical geography of Israel, its mountains, rugged hillsides and particularly the Sea of Galilee are a metaphor for the life of Jesus and a mirror for our own inner journey. This is the fifth gospel, which opens up the meaning of the other four in a way we have not known them. It is an innovative tool for exploring the Gospels. In this fifth gospel approach, the author frames a number of significant events in the life of Jesus, the Easter Event, the Sermon on the Mount, the Transfiguration, and so forth. She offers insightful reflection on them and helps the reader draw out meaning for daily life. There are meditations and prayers at the end of each chapter that invite further reflection. The author clearly has a love of Scripture and a desire to explore the meaning of the Gospels. She does this in a very 'user friendly' fashion that makes the book's real scholarship very accessible to folks who would shy away from other attempts. Retreat centers should find this book very useful and would be wise to make it available to its retreatants. The author's background in retreat ministry gives it a credibility that would encourage use for a small group discussion or at-home retreat." --Sr.Anne Lythgoe, O.P., Past President, Dominican Leadership Conference

 

"A different kind of geography: In a brief and kaleidoscopic new book, pastoral minister, scriptural scholar, Sr. Virginia Marie Butler, O.P., takes a look at the 'land' in the Holy Land, the mountains, seas, deserts, rocky roads and hillsides that Jesus knew and called home. Her aim: Listening to the message and realities of the land which Jesus knew -- entering into the mystery of the life of Jesus. There are ten chapters in two parts: 'This Is Our Faith (Facing the Tomb and the Easter Message)'; and 'The Spiritual Geography of the Gospels.' Unique bibliography: 'Suggested Readings on the Land.'" --Crux of the News, April 23, 2001

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