Book Review: The Boundless Compassion Journal

Full disclosure: Joyce Rupp and I have encouraged and endorsed each other’s work for 25 years. Her Foreword to my first book, Hidden Women of the Gospels, was key to its success. I’m in awe of her prolific writing; one could say of her as the psalmist did of God: “how many are your works!” She has always focused on What Matters, and continues to do so in her newest book.

The bouquet of dandelions, carefully held in two hands on the cover, should signal: you’re in for a treat. Those familiar with Joyce Rupp’s writings will find here her trademarks: practical, uplifting spirituality without being too limited to one religious tradition. Her frame of reference is the natural world, leading to suggestions like “draw your tree of compassion,” then wonder at how it’s grown, or a poem about the giggling of brooks, dance of ocean waves, cracks of glaciers, all “Earth’s melodies.”

Humans are wired for compassion; it’s in our DNA. Joyce Rupp helps that natural instinct become more consistent, thoughtful and tender. Her book, The Boundless Compassion Journal comes at a good time in the pandemic lockdown: when we’ve seen so few people outside our small pods, we’ve almost forgotten how to interact well. With practical prompts, relevant questions and inspiring quotes, she helps us be more compassionate. And how many books can boast that?

While much of the work on compassion has been done in the Buddhist tradition, Joyce christens it. This journal can stand alone, or be used with other components of the series, companion resources like Boundless Compassion, the DVD or Prayers of Boundless Compassion.  All of them together make a fragrant bouquet.

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