The Human Experience of the Redeemer
by Joseph A. Tetlow, SJ
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Pub Date 21 Mar 2023 | Archive Date 31 Aug 2023
COME TO KNOW JESUS—ONE EXPERIENCE AT A TIME
Jesus can feel remote to Christians because he stands alone in his flawlessness, his sinlessness. But the reality is that this quintessential human grew in knowledge, insight, influence, and grace exactly as does every human: one day, one experience, one relationship at a time.
Considering Jesus, by renowned author and spiritual director Joseph Tetlow, is a book of, about, and for prayer that explores the characteristics, identity, and spirituality revealed by Jesus through his purposeful actions and relationships during his earthly ministry. Jesus can relate to our joy, suffering, and yearning precisely because he has felt joy, suffering, and yearning, and therefore he understands what’s inside our hearts. As a result of realizing that Jesus’ human heart is so very much like ours, praying with Jesus becomes personal and fulfilling.
“I wrote this book because I want to share my love of Jesus with readers,” notes Fr. Joe. “Our human experiences were just like Jesus of Nazareth’s. Read this book, and you will pray with Him not as an idea but as a human person.”
In this inspiring offering, Tetlow, director of the Montserrat Jesuit Retreat House (Making Choices in Christ), analyzes Jesus’s life from a human perspective. Taking Jesus’s injunction to “learn of me for I am meek and humble of heart” as his cue, Tetlow contends that believers can better live according to Christ’s example by understanding the motivations and values behind his acts, and to that end examines biblical moments to parse his decisions. In one example, Jesus heals a paralyzed man in front of the learned Pharisees; understanding the incident’s context and conditions (the Pharisees’ public influence; Jesus’s knowledge of their rigid view of the law) reveal Jesus’s motivation, namely that forgiving and healing the man would help the “Pharisees open their minds and hearts to profound change.” Elsewhere, the way Jesus approached the master-disciple structure—staying within its constructs, though informing apostles “I came not to be served, but to serve”—provides insight into a sermon he delivered from Peter’s boat that emphasized similar service principles. While Tetlow’s depiction of Jesus might come across as sentimental to the scholarly set, this motivational offering will benefit casual Christians eager to get a firmer handle on the day to day of Jesus’s life. Believers will appreciate this spirited take. (Mar.)
- Publishers Weekly