Embraced By Compassion

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Embraced By Compassion

On Human Longing and Divine Response

Employing a 'theology by immersion' tactic, this inspirational guide reveals how our search for ourselves can and should lead us to God, and how our search for God will be rooted in our own deeply personal experience, revealing the ways in which faith development and human development can, and do, mutually enrich each other.

Reviews and endorsements

While helping her readers discover God within their own human experience, Barbara Fiand challenges them to deepen their faith in the incarnation. She calls for an active, practical faith that can heal such splits as those between sacred and secular, science and mysticism.

When competitiveness, conflict, consumerism and the need to control determine social relationship, we cannot accept unconditional love; it becomes impossible to experience the creativity that comes from surrendering to the mysterious breath of God within. Fiand shows how failure to accepts self is rejection of Jesus, while self-acceptance is redemption experienced. Wholeness is brokenness owned and thereby healed.
Lenora Black, OSB, Spirit & Life

,

In Embraced by Compassion, Barbara Fiand invites the reader to “marinate” in her reflections on what she terms “theology by immersion.” In four chapters, Fiand offers thought and ideas that perhaps may take a lifetime to assimilate. It is the author’s opinion that some of the tenets promoted by Western culture through the centuries have resulted in a dichotomy between spirit and matter. This has led us to look for God “up there” and view ourselves as "down here.” Fiand’s thesis is that our search for God has to be rooted in our experience, the only place where God can be found.

In Chapter 1 she invites the reader to go “In Search of a Dancing God.” We encounter God in a way similar to dance, one step leading to the next and eventually to the realization of the unconditional love of God.

The following chapters urge to consider the openness, receptivity and response that are necessary to continue the dance and how these characteristics are concretized in our human development. Fiand believes that our faith development is initially linked to our human maturation with all its periods of dying and rising.

By continuing the dance we gradually come to the awareness of depth encounters: the grace that has been ours since we were first created and which continually surprises, heals, confronts, and calls us forth to be Embraced by Compassion.

By Fiand’s own admission, parts of her book are not easy reading. She has, however, helped the reader by including questions related to each chapter. This is not a book that can be absorbed in one reading; but it can provide valuable reflection for a long time to come.
Mary T. Burns, CP

,

Fiand believes that the dualism in which many of us were formed, by keeping God apart in the realm of the sacred, “has denied the very Incarnation it was itself proclaiming.” Drawing heavily upon such writers as Meister Eckhart, Dorothy Soelle, Karl Rahner, Sebastian Moore, Martin Heidegger, John Macquarrie, Bernard J. Boelen, as well as her own previously published material, she presents a text that is at times overly dependent upon these sources. At the same time, however, she manages to weave the many citations into a coherent presentation that asks the reader to consider “the human condition where, alone, our relationship with the divine can become real.”

Following Heidegger, she speaks of the innate and existential “attunement” of the human being to God. This uniquely tuned human being “cannot be imprisoned in objective certainty, in abstraction, in dogmatism.” The author maintains that too often we have been enslaved by our “own created absolutes” and that we do not often enough defer to “the particular human story.”

She speaks of “creedal baggage” that gets in the way of our realization that grace is simply “being gazed upon” with a steadfast benevolence that all at once cradles, confronts, heals, challenges, surprises, and secures. Along with this impediment of creed comes out “overeager intellectual distinctions” which have tended to constrict and contract the all-encompassing nature of grace.

What Barbara Fiand propose is radical and possibly life-transforming. She seems to be saying that redemption consists not in intellectual assent to dogma, nor in the performance of attendance at “compulsory” ritual, not even in the expending of self in good works for the sake of others. Rather, it lies in our acknowledgment of and our surrender to the love that surpasses all understanding. “Self-acceptance,” she writes, “is redemption. . . .”

Throughout my reading, I yearned for some amplification of what she was saying. I hoped for some down-shifting from the theoretical to the realm of example or story. But she, perhaps wisely, refrains from doing this. With Rahner she invites each one “to the ‘endurance of ourselves’ as a necessary prerequisite for the depth experience of God.” Fiand offers the reader the chance to accept responsibility for one’s own quest, exploring what it means to be the recipient of “total gift . . . , the end toward which we are striving . . . already at the center of our being where it defines us even as it draws us beyond ourselves towards the authenticity that we truly are.”

Lacking concrete example of how some of these concepts might play out in one’s life, the reader is impelled to go to someone, point to parts of the text, saying, “What do you think about this? Could she possibly mean. . . .?” It could be a community-building book where we could discuss together the final item in the questions which the author has provided to go with each chapter:

“What are the implications of such a view for your own spirituality and maturation?”
Beatrice Ganley, S.S.J., Sisters of St. Joseph

,

Grace is all around us, encompassing us with the embrace of compassion. “We are grounded in wholeness even as we struggle to gather our scattered selves. We are surrounded by depth, even as we flounder in the seeming absence of all that is significant,” says Barbara Fiand. Returning to issues she first explored in Releasement, Fiand offers a rich understanding of Christian existence founded on the mystical awareness of God’s ever present love.

Fiand eloquently shows that our journey toward God is not a quest for a God who is above and beyond us, but for a God deep within us. Fiand offers four chapters which reflect in turn on the false dualism that much of our religious language employs, on our inherent emptiness and receptivity to the holy, on the cyclical, spiralling nature of psycho-spiritual growth, and on the embrace which occurs when our longing for God encounters God’s longing for us.

While the theological depth of the work may seem somewhat imposing, rich rewards await those who undertake this journey.
Spiritual Book Association

,

Barbara Fiand’s Embraced by Compassion: On Human Longing and Divine Response is a book that goes to the very heart of the human / divine connection, the place where God and the human person meet. Employing a “theology by immersion,” Fiand shows how our search for ourselves can and should lead us to God, and how our search for God will be rooted in our own personal experience. She reveals the ways in which faith development and human development can and do mutually enrich on another. Embraced by Compassion is a book for personal enrichment and private reading as well as for courses on spirituality and psychology.
Wisconsin Book Review

While helping her readers discover God within their own human experience, Barbara Fiand challenges them to deepen their faith in the incarnation. She calls for an active, practical faith that can heal such splits as those between sacred and secular, science and mysticism.

When competitiveness, conflict, consumerism and the need to control determine social relationship, we cannot accept unconditional love; it becomes impossible to experience the creativity that comes from surrendering to the mysterious breath of God within. Fiand shows how failure to accepts self is rejection of Jesus, while self-acceptance is redemption experienced. Wholeness is brokenness owned and thereby healed.
Lenora Black, OSB, Spirit & Life

,

In Embraced by Compassion, Barbara Fiand invites the reader to “marinate” in her reflections on what she terms “theology by immersion.” In four chapters, Fiand offers thought and ideas that perhaps may take a lifetime to assimilate. It is the author’s opinion that some of the tenets promoted by Western culture through the centuries have resulted in a dichotomy between spirit and matter. This has led us to look for God “up there” and view ourselves as "down here.” Fiand’s thesis is that our search for God has to be rooted in our experience, the only place where God can be found.

In Chapter 1 she invites the reader to go “In Search of a Dancing God.” We encounter God in a way similar to dance, one step leading to the next and eventually to the realization of the unconditional love of God.

The following chapters urge to consider the openness, receptivity and response that are necessary to continue the dance and how these characteristics are concretized in our human development. Fiand believes that our faith development is initially linked to our human maturation with all its periods of dying and rising.

By continuing the dance we gradually come to the awareness of depth encounters: the grace that has been ours since we were first created and which continually surprises, heals, confronts, and calls us forth to be Embraced by Compassion.

By Fiand’s own admission, parts of her book are not easy reading. She has, however, helped the reader by including questions related to each chapter. This is not a book that can be absorbed in one reading; but it can provide valuable reflection for a long time to come.
Mary T. Burns, CP

,

Fiand believes that the dualism in which many of us were formed, by keeping God apart in the realm of the sacred, “has denied the very Incarnation it was itself proclaiming.” Drawing heavily upon such writers as Meister Eckhart, Dorothy Soelle, Karl Rahner, Sebastian Moore, Martin Heidegger, John Macquarrie, Bernard J. Boelen, as well as her own previously published material, she presents a text that is at times overly dependent upon these sources. At the same time, however, she manages to weave the many citations into a coherent presentation that asks the reader to consider “the human condition where, alone, our relationship with the divine can become real.”

Following Heidegger, she speaks of the innate and existential “attunement” of the human being to God. This uniquely tuned human being “cannot be imprisoned in objective certainty, in abstraction, in dogmatism.” The author maintains that too often we have been enslaved by our “own created absolutes” and that we do not often enough defer to “the particular human story.”

She speaks of “creedal baggage” that gets in the way of our realization that grace is simply “being gazed upon” with a steadfast benevolence that all at once cradles, confronts, heals, challenges, surprises, and secures. Along with this impediment of creed comes out “overeager intellectual distinctions” which have tended to constrict and contract the all-encompassing nature of grace.

What Barbara Fiand propose is radical and possibly life-transforming. She seems to be saying that redemption consists not in intellectual assent to dogma, nor in the performance of attendance at “compulsory” ritual, not even in the expending of self in good works for the sake of others. Rather, it lies in our acknowledgment of and our surrender to the love that surpasses all understanding. “Self-acceptance,” she writes, “is redemption. . . .”

Throughout my reading, I yearned for some amplification of what she was saying. I hoped for some down-shifting from the theoretical to the realm of example or story. But she, perhaps wisely, refrains from doing this. With Rahner she invites each one “to the ‘endurance of ourselves’ as a necessary prerequisite for the depth experience of God.” Fiand offers the reader the chance to accept responsibility for one’s own quest, exploring what it means to be the recipient of “total gift . . . , the end toward which we are striving . . . already at the center of our being where it defines us even as it draws us beyond ourselves towards the authenticity that we truly are.”

Lacking concrete example of how some of these concepts might play out in one’s life, the reader is impelled to go to someone, point to parts of the text, saying, “What do you think about this? Could she possibly mean. . . .?” It could be a community-building book where we could discuss together the final item in the questions which the author has provided to go with each chapter:

“What are the implications of such a view for your own spirituality and maturation?”
Beatrice Ganley, S.S.J., Sisters of St. Joseph

,

Grace is all around us, encompassing us with the embrace of compassion. “We are grounded in wholeness even as we struggle to gather our scattered selves. We are surrounded by depth, even as we flounder in the seeming absence of all that is significant,” says Barbara Fiand. Returning to issues she first explored in Releasement, Fiand offers a rich understanding of Christian existence founded on the mystical awareness of God’s ever present love.

Fiand eloquently shows that our journey toward God is not a quest for a God who is above and beyond us, but for a God deep within us. Fiand offers four chapters which reflect in turn on the false dualism that much of our religious language employs, on our inherent emptiness and receptivity to the holy, on the cyclical, spiralling nature of psycho-spiritual growth, and on the embrace which occurs when our longing for God encounters God’s longing for us.

While the theological depth of the work may seem somewhat imposing, rich rewards await those who undertake this journey.
Spiritual Book Association

,

Barbara Fiand’s Embraced by Compassion: On Human Longing and Divine Response is a book that goes to the very heart of the human / divine connection, the place where God and the human person meet. Employing a “theology by immersion,” Fiand shows how our search for ourselves can and should lead us to God, and how our search for God will be rooted in our own personal experience. She reveals the ways in which faith development and human development can and do mutually enrich on another. Embraced by Compassion is a book for personal enrichment and private reading as well as for courses on spirituality and psychology.
Wisconsin Book Review


9780824513825
Paperback / 144 pages
CROSSROAD, 2003

Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5