By Reverend Joseph C. Tizio:
Unlike other Christian traditions, we in the Roman Catholic tradition can sometimes find ourselves intimidated by scripture thinking that the study and meditation of scripture is reserved for professionals only.
Many Catholics have a deep desire to come to know scripture more deeply, especially the gospels but they have no idea where to begin and how to proceed. Many times I have been asked by parishioners: “How do I read the Bible?”
In her new book The Comfort of the Shepherd: Parable Prayer and Meditation, Barbara Garro shows us that the study and meditation of scripture is not just for mystics and professionals.
In a simple and direct manner, Ms. Garro accompanies us on a journey through the many parables of Jesus. As you read, it is clear that her meditations arise from the depth of her own spiritual journey and her own process of reflection on God’s Word.
Ms. Garro reflects upon thirty-three parables of Jesus in a user friendly fashion, a five step process which makes each parable accessible to us and provides food for our own inner reflection.
She shows us that one need not be a scripture scholar to understand the parables of Jesus, you simply need to have an open heart, the ability to reflect upon God’s presence in your life, and an openness to the voice of God’s Spirit.
The book is written in a reflective and non threatening manner, avoiding esoteric and incomprehensible analysis.
I would recommend this book to all who seek a simple, direct, yet profound experience of the parables of Jesus.
THE COMFORT OF THE SHEPHERD
By Barbara Garro
The Comfort of the Shepherd: Parable Prayer & Meditation takes you on an introspective journey through thirty-three of Jesus’s teaching stories from the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The working definition of a parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.
When you see Jesus’s parables as stories that show God’s love for humanity, they come to light for you. Jesus taught the way of Divine love by analogy that drew on everyday experiences.
Surrounding parable study with prayer and meditation I believe broadens our ability to benefit more from Jesus’s parable lessons. How? Scripture grounds you in God’s Word. Prayer grounds you in the goodness of God and provides a holy language to petition God to act on your behalf. Meditation provides the possibility of achieving union with God.
For my parable translations, I chose Count Lev N. Tolstoy’s The Four Gospels Harmonized and Translated, Volumes I and II. Tolstoy, like me, a Russian, a lay person and a writer who wanted to understand Jesus’s parable messages, eagerly did the work. While I have made some contemporary punctuation and language changes, I keep a commitment to stay true to Tolstoy’s 1890’s Russian translation and Leo Wiener’s subsequent 1904 English translation.
What is exciting about this method is that you get the benefit of three writers who struggled to understand Jesus’s parable messages.
For ease of reading and space, I offer one text of each parable with citations for you to use your own Bible to consider reading other Gospel writer’s versions of a parable. This method gives you the greatest perspective.
For Old Testament citations, I use public domain versions, especially the Douay-Rheims translation of the Latin Vulgate.
To the best of my ability, I have researched to give you a credible account of the trail of text that resembles most closely the memories of Jesus’s Apostles that forms the foundation of the Christian faith.
Jesus spoke to mainly illiterate, simple farmers, shepherds and crafts people. How complicated could His short stories have been to need pages and pages of scholarly explanation and footnotes that give numerous opinions about Jesus’s messages?
Scripture helps us understand our faith and the breadth and depth of the love of God in three Persons. God the Father sent Jesus, His only Son, to make salvation possible for people who accept Jesus as their Savior and live according to His teachings. The way of our salvation for Jesus, death by crucifixion, was so terrible a torture that Cicero never wanted Romans to even witness it. Jesus, the Christ, our bridge to everlasting life, willingly suffered so we could accept forgiveness for our sins, His salvation gift to us.
You discover for yourself and can use your personal discoveries to grow spiritually and lead more loving lives from Jesus’s examples.
Barbara Garro, MA,
“Catch yourself loving your life!”
Every day? “Every minute of every day!”
As an artist, author, poet, song-writer, teacher and workshop leader, I help people find happiness creating art, writing and enjoying their lives day by day. And, for some, when devastating medical diagnoses get in their way, Hospice Trained Disease/Disability Coping Coach comes to the rescue.
People tell me they love my being willing to live my truth, my honesty, my clarity of being who I am and saying clearly what I think and feel. They tell me I am pretty and dress nice (at my age “pretty” makes me feel really, really good, a lot better than hearing, “You have such nice skin.”)
I am a lifelong learner, keep working on myself trying to be a better person, more understanding, a better Mom, family member, friend, neighbor, less critical and judgmental, and committed to giving back to the planet through volunteering and helping people God places on my path.
I am on Facebook because I would love to hear from people who knew me when, people who want to get to know me and because I flat out love people and learning what they are up to, especially their success milestones. I am rooting for each of you and all of you together.
I probably will never have thousands of Facebook Friends, because then I would lose track of everyone.
In the 40 years Garro has created art in a variety of mediums, she has also been an author, actress, artist, Campbell Soup kid, consultant, coach, facilitator, grandmother, mother, Mother Goose, poet, risk manager, song writer, speaker, storyteller, teacher, ventriloquist, and writer.