Experiencing God's Amazing Embrace
by William A. Barry, SJ
Reviewed by Eileen Quinn Knight, PhD
A Friendship Like No Other: Experiencing God’s Amazing Embrace by William Barry, S.J. is a book worthy of our attention. The author starts the book with a beautiful prayer: Primary Wonder by Denise Levertov
Days pass when I forget the mystery. Problems insoluble and problems offering their own ignored solutions jostle for my attention, they crowd its antechamber wearing their colored clothes cap and bells And then Once more the quiet mysteryIs present to me, the throng’s clamorrecedes the mystery that there is anything, anything at alllest alone cosmos, joy, memory, everything,rather than void: and that O Lord Creator, Hallowed One, You still, hour by hour sustain it
Barry assists us in finding out what God wants from us. In Chapter two Barry desires us to experience God as a friend. The same friendship we have with our mortal friends. He purports that this friendship with God mirrors the same stages as our friendship with others. It forms into a sense of discipleship, a sense of this is our family business.
In the next four chapters, Barry gives us ways to test the sense of friendship by exercises that he writes for us. We are called to this discipleship to sustain this wonderful friendship. There are plenty of very poignant poems that bring us constantly to the embrace of Christ. In Chapter 5, Barry gives us ways to have compassion for Jesus as He has for us. Christ’s suffering and death warrants our love and compassion for all His suffering both physical, spiritual and moral. Christ reveals Himself in friendship and shows us His unwavering devotion to the friendship He has with us. For me, He often calls me to be with Him in prayer especially the Eucharist. In the Eucharist, He sustains and guides me so that I can bring His graces and blessings to the world in which I work and live. Barry’s book asks us the question: How do we experience God in our everyday life, in our homes and in our friendship with Him and others? It is a delightfully faith grounded book.