You Are My Friends: Gospel Reflections for Your Spiritual Journey
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Author: Joe Stoutzenberger
5.5 X 8.5" -- 112 pages
Saint Teresa of Avila reminds us that prayer is an intimate conversation with a friend. This little book is designed to help with that conversation. The gospel passages begin the exchange. The reflections then leapfrog from the message of Jesus in the gospels to present-day concerns. Through this conversation, Jesus becomes more alive and more tangible, thereby helping us deepen our relationship with him.
These beautifully written reflections were inspired by a group of students who were learning ABOUT Jesus, but not connecting with him personally. The author began to fear that his strictly academic approach to Jesus might be undermining their faith--which was already under attack from countless forces in the world around them.
They told him that while they appreciated learning new information and theories about Jesus, they also wanted to connect what they were studying to their everyday lives. They wanted to meet the Jesus who makes a difference. "Since Jesus sided with the outcasts of his day, shouldn't we try to figure out who the outcasts of our day are?" they asked. "Did Jesus have feelings, suffer pain, and experience emotional hurts just like us?" "What does Jesus want of us?"
Soon Professor Stoutzengerger began writing reflections on some of these topics--for himself initially. He didn't want to get so bogged down in an academic study of Jesus that he missed his personal message. Eventually he offered these reflections to his students as invitations to spend time with Jesus. In them, Jesus is not an object of study but a friend who wants to share their lives.
Here he invites other readers to enter the conversation. "You are my friends," Jesus said, and in these thirty-six brief reflections readers will get to know him better.
Joseph Stoutzenberger is a professor of religious studies at Holy Family University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He holds a PhD in religion from Temple University and a master's degree in religious education from Loyola University in Chicago
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