The Sermon on the Mount in St. Matthew’s Gospel is a good synopsis of Jesus’ teaching and the Beatitudes summarize the Sermon on the Mount. Bonnie Thurston reflects on the Beatitudes and their focus on the kingdom of heaven. She shows how the Sermon on the Mount deepens understanding of the spiritual virtues the vows are intended to nurture and how the values embodied in the vows are central to all Christian living. Thurston begins with a study of the Beatitudes that introduces what Jesus might have meant by Kingdom of Heaven. She then looks at passages from the Sermon on the Mount and discusses their implications for religious vows. The book closes with a discussion of how monastic vows might enrich the spirituality of marriage.
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A refreshing approach: Bonnie Thurston squarely faces the fact that the Beatitudes carry public and, yes, political implications. Only this starting point gives them leverage to change our personal lives in depth. Christian monastics at their best have typically seen this clearly, and so conceived their vision of the vows. In light of this approach, the vows reveal their significance for every Christian. Thurston is right on target.
. . . her eagerness and her devotion to Scripture remain rich and fruitful.
Thurston displays her poet's keen sense of wordcraft. She builds upon her thorough knowledge of Scripture, Greek and Hebrew to ground the reader-lay and religious-in these primary `marching orders' we call Beatitudes.
The real benefit of Thurston's study is her solid confidence in the applicability of Christ's teachings . . . it is a creative engagement of the Lord's message and one that is intent on exposing how Christ's teachings remain immediate and integral to the Christian's daily life.
New Testament scholar Bonnie Thurston offers religious rich biblical resources for meditating on their life not as an alternative to Christian life but as one specific way of living the faith they share with all Christians, Catholic and non-Catholic alike. She devotes one chapter to a discussion of the complementary vocations of vowed married life and vowed religious life as embodying in distinctive ways the Gospel calls to the traditional monastic values of poverty, celibacy, obedience, hospitality, and conversion. This book could provide a basis for enriching conversation among religious about their own life and between religious and their colleagues in other walks of life about how different vocations in the church respond to the `marching orders' of the reign of God embodied in the Sermon on the Mount.
This engaging volume by Bonnie Thurston on the liberating expansion of love is really the essence of Gospel living as described in the Sermon on the Mount. It should find a wide audience among seekers of every kind. Highly recommended.
The title of the book is very fitting for it shows the relationship of the religious vows with Matthew's Sermon on the Mount and how it is influential to every Christian.
Thurston gives us this fresh perspective and manages to do the nearly impossible: open up the Sermon on the Mount as an undiscovered treasure!
Biblical scholar and Disciples of Christ minister Bonnie Bowman Thurston adds another contribution to her thoughtful works on biblical spirituality.
. . . it is rather wonderful. It gracefully illuminates its title, for both religious and lay readers.
This short book is rich in insights into the Sermon on the Mount and its application to the life of Christ's disciples. . . . the book can be read with profit by any disciple committed to the life of the Gospels, lay, religious professing the traditional vows, and monastic.
... shows how the Sermon on the Mount can deepen our understanding of the spiritual values that religious vows are intended to nurture.
Bonnie Thurston is a biblical scholar, a contemplative, and a poet. She brings those diverse gifts to bear powerfully on the Beatitudes of Jesus. Delivered originally to a community of religious women, this book will enrich anyone who understands that the Sermon on the Mount constitutes the marching orders for any serious follower of Jesus. Beautifully written and spiritually enriching, this is a work of high seriousness elegantly presented.
Bonnie B. Thurston, PhD, lives in West Virginia in solitude. She is a Disciples of Christ minister and the author of several books, including Fruit of the Spirit, Growth of the Heart and Philippians in the Sacra Pagina series published by Liturgical Press.