SEND MY ROOTS RAIN: A Spirituality of Justice and Mercy

Megan McKenna, Author . Doubleday $21.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-385-50237-5

McKenna studies the roots of justice and mercy in this pensive book of Christian reflections. She's onto compelling and important themes—especially since, as she says, justice and mercy are so easily misunderstood. "We tend to think of them as opposing forces and actions," she writes. "But the tradition of the Judeo-Christian world is that somehow mysteriously the Holy One holds them bound together, like intertwined roots of a great tree." Drawing upon scripture, Christian poetry and parables from Hindu, Zen, Native American, Jewish and other traditions, McKenna shows how justice and mercy need to be understood in spiritual terms before they can be effectively delivered. As a Catholic retreat leader and spiritual director, McKenna knows how to provoke readers into facing themselves. Which do we want—a merciful God or a just God? How can we really understand "justice" and "mercy" without facing the basic hypocrisy that we want justice for others and mercy for ourselves? Christians who are seeking specific advice on how to live a more merciful and just life will be disappointed; McKenna's ambition is to ponder great poetry and spiritual stories and illuminate them through a Christian lens. This makes for a contemplative, wandering book that's perfect for individual reflection or study groups. The title was inspired from a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins, who prayed, "Mine, O thou Lord of life, send my roots rain." This is not unlike McKenna's mission: to nourish and satiate the deeper teachings of Christianity. (Apr. 15)

Reviewed on: 03/03/2003
Release date: 04/01/2003
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