The aim of the paper “Surprises of The God of Surprises” is to analyze many attributes to God and to make Him tangible to us. Spiritual writers have been giving God different names based on the spiritual experience of the faith community…
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The book is built around some of the cardinal pillars of traditional Christian spirituality. The aim of Christian spirituality is to establish an intimate partnership with God the Father, which encompasses the entire creation. Hughes analyses the spiritual malaise of the contemporary life and seeks to show the way to set it aright, drawing heavily on the Word of God and the perennial sources of traditional Christian spirituality whose relevance is undying and a valid tool for the moral reawakening of the sordid world of ours.
interiority. There is a cleavage in our thinking, between the spiritual and temporal. This prevents us from achieving an integrated spiritual life. The book invites us to make a journey to our own inner self and there encounter God, the God of surprises. This encounter will integrate us to ourselves and to the world around and in the process, we will see how the creation is permeated with the all-encompassing touch of a benign Father.
Through out the book Hughes seems to warn the danger of creating a God in our own image. The point that he reiterates in his work is the mystery of God's ways with the world and men. Some times God gives us the bread of adversity and the water of affliction. However to balance this view of God, Hughes has delineated the Prodigal Father. The chief delight of this Father is to share his everything in banquets to which all are invited. The invitees are not the best specimens of humanity, rather the poor, the cripple, the blind and in fact all who are interested in sharing His generosity. In the parable of the prodigal son, the father's prodigality towards the son who defamed the status of family in wasteful debauchery shocks the reader. To our prudent and well-measured dealing to others based on their merit and our future benefit from them, the God of surprises is foolishly lavish in his blessings, which is gratuitously given to all. The foolish prodigality of the God of surprises who leaves the ninety-nine to look for the one that is missing baffles our logic trained in the Aristotelian idea of virtue which is the choice of the golden mean avoiding extremes. Similarly the system of paying all who worked in the same measure at the end of the day, irrespective of the time they joined for duty, puzzles us who are used to time punching cards and attendance registers.
As we progress through the pages of The God of Surprises, the picture of God that looms large before us is that of a God who is more close to all of us than we can ever imagine in our wildest dreams. It is also a book of spiritual pilgrimage to discover the treasure hidden with in us. The book helps us to discern the unexpected ways in which God shows Himself. We see the image of God delivered to us by the stars and storms. Just like the Spiritual Exercises, the book is not meant for gulping at one sitting. The book can transform the person to enable him to surrender his will to the will of God, if relished in small meditative tonic dozes.
Personal Reflections on The God of Surprises
Gerard Hughes' The God of Surprises is one of the books worth reading a second or third time. The work of Holy Spirit is to renew the God's people constantly and to make them fit to fulfil the purpose for which God has made them.
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