Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Gaze Upon Jesus: My Review

About the Book:

What if you had walked beside the Virgin Mary from the Annunciation to the point at which she and Joseph found Jesus in the temple? How might seeing Christ as a child impact you and your faith?

WINE: Women In the New Evangelization offers its second, six-week scripture study, this time following the infancy and early years of Christ as seen through the eyes of Mary and other familiar and imagined women in the gospels.

Founder Kelly Wahlquist and ten other members of WINE uniquely blend scripture reflections, imaginative encounters, and visio divina “sacred seeing” with practical spirituality and discussion questions that will help you take a prayerful and creative journey through Advent and the Christmas season.

Not much is known about the childhood of Jesus, but the Gospels highlight six key moments in his early life:

  • the angel Gabriel proclaiming Jesus’ birth to Mary at the Annunciation
  • a pregnant Mary visiting her cousin Elizabeth
  • the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem
  • the presentation of Jesus in the temple
  • the flight of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus to Egypt
  • discovering the twelve-year-old Jesus in the temple
Week by week, you will dig deep into each of the scriptural vignettes of Jesus’ early life and grow in your faith as you learn about virtues such as humility, patience, charity, reverence, prudence, and courage.

Each chapter uses an image that allows you to practice visio divina, the ancient practice of praying with sacred art. The images are included in an eight-page, full-color insert.

Gaze Upon Jesus will appeal to women who want to deepen their relationship with Jesus during Advent. Contributors to this inspiring scripture study include: Alyssa Bormes, Sarah Christmyer, Mary Healy, Maria Morera Johnson, Stephanie Landsem, Elizabeth Lev, Joan Lewis, Deborah Savage, Kelly Wahlquist, Katie Warner, and Carol Younger. Popular Catholic media personality Teresa Tomeo, also a member of WINE, wrote the foreword for the book.

As an individual or group study, Gaze Upon Jesus is a memorable way to encounter the God who sent his Son to show us his loving Father’s heart.

My Comments:

I like to write, but I've always said I'm more of a journalist than a novelist.  As much as I like to read and as many books as I have read, I don't have the desire/ability to create characters and to get inside their heads so to speak.  

One type of prayer that is often recommended is reading a story from the Bible and then imagining yourself in the scene and speaking to the characters.  Its not something I do well.  However, with Gaze Upon Jesus, I don't have to do it well; the authors already have. 

Each chapter in the book includes "the rest of the story".  Have you every wondered how Joseph found out Mary was pregnant?  Did Mary tell him?  Did he find out in the dream?  Did someone else tell him?  In this book, Joachim got the job, and after he had decided to take her into his home, Joseph traveled with Joachim to Elizabeth's house.  I'll let you read the book for the full story, but you can see where I'm going with this--the authors fill in the blanks left by Scripture.  I find these types of stories make Biblical characters much more real.

The book also contains prints of great pieces of art that depict the written about incidents, with the idea that you can use them as mediation aids.

I've really enjoyed this book and give it a B+.  Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy via NetGalley.  

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