- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Ancient Faith Publishing (March 13, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1944967044
- ISBN-13: 978-1944967048
- Package Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,347,417 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Sweetness of Grace: Stories of Christian Trial and Victory Paperback – March 13, 2017
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About the Author
Constantina R. Palmer is from New Brunswick, a quaint province on Canada s Atlantic coast. She lived in Thessaloniki, Greece for almost six years, during which time she received a Master s degree in theology from Aristotle University, studied Cretan style iconography, as well as Byzantine chant. Not one to simply learn from books she also spent significant time at a number of women s monasteries throughout northern Greece. Currently, she lives with her husband, an Orthodox priest, in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada, serving the only Orthodox parish on the island of Newfoundland. She is also a social worker.
Top customer reviews
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I read and enjoyed The Scent of Holiness a few years ago, and I highly recommend both that and this book that continues Presbytera Constantina Palmer's collection of and reflection on spiritually upbuilding stories. Like a modern-day Egeria (a 4th C Christian pilgrim whose writings give us a taste of devotion at her time), Pres. Constantina draws us into the places and lives of holy people well met in monasteries and churches and by God's grace in all places. I savor her writing because it's so encouraging and eye-opening. Like rich foods, I want a little at a time, but I want a lot of it!
The Sweetness of Grace is a perfect book for reading along with one's daily scriptures and saints' lives. It has much in it that could be read aloud to family members for encouragement. The stories are the sort that arise in awed "Guess what?" tones over coffee and dinner tables. I could see it forming the basis of conversation for a busy parents' group at church; only a few pages are needed to come away feeling built up in the community of faith. For seekers and people discerning and healing, this book is a godsend, as it draws attention to the way God is moving amongst His loved ones. It's a prophetic work in the sense of building up the people of God and testifying to the great love God has for us -- all in accessible, very human stories, engaging real life characters and settings, and well-parsed narration as needed. Get this book to keep by your knitting or in the kitchen while you wait for your tea. Get it for your friends and family. Read a bit to your family. You'll start to notice more that God is working in your life, too.
It was easy to read in short bursts. I enjoyed contemplating each story individually.
Also, my husband and I shared the book on kindle, and we discussed favorite quotes from the stories at the end of the day.
Mat. Constantina admits in the introduction that it is her skills as a storyteller, not her masters degree in theology, which bring these stories to life, but I must disagree slightly. Matushka is an exceptional storyteller, but she also has the intimate knowledge of the Holy Fathers and their writings which provides the lens through which the light of the stories shine. Much like my spiritual father who has a (to me) phenomenal and encyclopedic ability to pull out exactly the right anecdote from an elder’s life, a quotation from a saint, verse from holy scripture, or story from the Prologue, Matushka roots every story solidly in the Church’s Tradition. This in turn brings a deeper understanding of the scripture or precept.
All of this might make the book sound too exalted to read! Do not be deceived on this front; just like Matushka Constantina’s first book, The Scent of Holiness, this one is extremely approachable, easy to read, and enjoyable. I read the first third in one sitting because I couldn’t put it down. After all, it is a collection of stories. The Lord himself taught us in parables, or stories, as the best way to capture our attention and instruct us. There is nothing insignificant about the humble story.
I recommend this book very highly. You will likely read it as I did, in huge gulps, but then you will return again and again to savor individual stories. Both The Sweetness of Grace and The Scent of Holiness [review here] should be in every Orthodox Christian’s library. Thank you, Matushka, for your labors in collecting and sharing these stories with us.