Mary T. Burns, CP

January 2, 2022

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.

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