A PROPHETIC CRY

Reviewed by Catherine Keenan, School Chaplain, St Augustine's School, Blackrock, Co. Dublin

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A 215-page book written for those with an interest in relationships between people, people with disabilities and with God, this book is also for those who have an interest in the spiritual dimension of the human person. The book is divided into chapters giving the experiences of different presenters, which gives it additional authority. There are also some provocative poems which evoked strong feelings for me.

My experience of the book is very positive; I got a great sense of really getting to know people with a disability, and through that knowledge to know myself and how I act/react in the company of such people. What is the ‘prophetic cry’? Well, if I can remember what I leearned about the prophets in Scripture, they were the people who spoke the truth, who spoke out against injustice and for inclusiveness. They often didn’t know the effect they were to have on their people. This book clearly presents people with disabilities as true prophets who tell us more about the human condition than we could ever learn from a book–the spiritual dimension of a person as being, rather than doing, of who you are, rather than what you are. My own spiritual response to this awakening is to sit with a person, to be one-hundred-percent present to them, to hold their hand, to be sacredly silent, and to hold that precious moment knowing well that God is there with us.

I felt at that the testimonies of the chapter-writers at times sanitised the pain of people with a disability, or of their parents. I have found that I must be in touch with this pain in my own chaplaincy work. However, A prophetic cry is without doubt a challenge to any reader to look at their concept of and reactions to people with disabilities. The book clearly shows how those with a disability can be evangelists, summoning a deep spiritual response from ‘more able’ people. I recommend this book to anyone interested in all types of relationships.

A PROPHETIC CRY: Stories of spirituality and healing inspired by L’Arche, edited by Tim Kearney. Dublin. Veritas (2000) ISBN 1-85390-429-5. £8.99.

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