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Building on the biblical story of Jacob wrestling with God and on the story of her own battle with life-changing disappointment, Sister Joan Chittister deftly explores the landscape of suffering and hope, considering along the way such wide-ranging topics as consumerism, technology, grief, the role of women in the Catholic Church, and the events of September 11, 2001. We struggle, she says, against change, isolation, darkness, fear, powerlessness, vulnerability, exhaustion, and scarring; and while these struggles sometimes seem insurmountable, we can emerge from them with the gifts of conversion, detachment, faith, courage, surrender, limitations, endurance, transformation, and (perhaps most important) hope. Each of these struggles and gifts is discussed in a chapter of its own.
Meant to help readers cope with their own suffering and disappointment, "Scarred by Struggle, Transformed by Hope" is, in Chittister's words, "an anatomy of struggle and an account of the way hope grows in us, despite our moments of darkness, regardless of our regular bouts of depression. It is an invitation to look again at the struggles of life in order that we might remember how to recognize new life in our souls the next time our hearts turn again to clay."
Neither a self-help manual nor a book offering pat answers, but supremely practical and relevant, Chittister's "Scarred by Struggle, Transformed by Hope" will richly reward those readers seeking solace in the empathic, wise, andaccessible meditations of a fellow struggler.
Preface: Struggle, the Seedbed of Hope Acknowledgments A Paradigm of Struggle The Loss of Certainty: A Suffering of the Soul Struggle: The Process and the Challenge The Struggle of Change The Gift of Conversion The Struggle of Isolation The Gift of Independence The Struggle of Darkness The Gift of Faith The Struggle with Fear The Gift of Courage The Struggle with Powerlessness The Gift of Surrender The Struggle of Vulnerability The Gift of Limitations The Struggle of Exhaustion The Gift of Endurance The Struggle of Scarring The Gift of Transformation Wrestling with God The Process of Struggle The Process of Hope The Gift of Hope Hope: The Resurrection of the Spirit
Joan D Chittister is a best-selling author, an internationally known lecturer, and the executive director of Benetvision: A Resource and Research Centre for Contemporary Spirituality, Erie, Pennsylvania.
Chittister, a Catholic Benedictine nun who once dreamed of being a fiction writer, takes a major disappointment from her life and transforms it into a series of absorbing universal lessons in this book that is both contemplative and expository. The author (Heart of Flesh: A Feminist Spirituality for Women and Men) and lecturer tells how in the interest of "humility" she was instructed as a young nun to withdraw her application from a prestigious creative writing program and spend her summer as a camp cook. Although Chittister writes today as if she were still reeling from this disappointment's devastating blow, it is clear that in her struggle she found another way to express herself through writing. She ultimately discovered that she was still a writer, even though she was not free to write in the way she had hoped. Chittister uses the biblical story of Jacob wrestling with God to further illustrate the struggle that she says is part of every life, pointing out how such encounters can lead to growth and new direction. But even as she writes of the "gifts" of struggle, she is candid about its dark side and lasting impact. After all, she notes, Jacob got up limping from his night of wrestling with God. It is clear from Chittister's reflections that she has navigated the territory of which she writes. Her message should appeal to a diverse audience of readers who want more than platitudes and pat answers to life's challenges. (Mar.) Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
"As ever, Joan Chittister's voice rises up from the struggle to offer a powerful and transforming source of hope!" Martin Sheen "Scarred by Struggle, Transformed by Hope is not really about hope. It is about the conditions that give rise to hope -- the honest emotions, the trusting vision, the steadfast struggle. I appreciate the way this powerful book offers a way toward hope without any cheating. No sentimentality. No false assurances. No spiritual illusions. It has the strong voice of personal experience plus a rare religious intelligence. Like the human character in its central story of Jacob and the angel, this book clings to life's complexity until it finds a blessing. It will help you get through, not around, the challenges that define you." Thomas Moore "I was deeply moved by Joan Chittister's courage and insight and by her insistence that we are all capable of them as well." Rabbi Harold Kushner "Using the story of Jacob wrestling with God as backdrop, Joan Chittister reflects on her experience of disappointment and loss as the birthplace of hope. Touching on issues familiar to most of us, she explores the many dimensions of suffering in a movement toward transformation. This is a book you will revisit many times for the encouragement, challenge, and inspiration it provides."Anne M. Luther "At a time when the vision and values that define us as a nation seem under siege from all directions, Joan Chittister -- mystic and prophet -- has given us yet another perspective on holding fast to hope. Hope is rooted in the past, she says, but it believes in the future, for God's world is in God's hands. Hope is in the struggle. What a comfort it is to hear these words as we struggle to make our way in a world that keeps moving away from us." Miriam Therese Winter