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Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite
What does it feel like to be in constant contact with the pain and misery of others, to touch the brokenness and fragility of another human being — the strangers, the homeless people brought straight from the gutters of life, the ones glued to their addictions, the elderly — people who are hopeless, floating through life without any direction? In fact, what does the life of a psychiatrist look like? Joe Michael Pritchard recounts his routine and experiences with psychiatric patients in the Faith General, Nashville hospital. And the Greatest of These is a journey of hope, faith, and love, but most of all, a journey towards ultimate inner freedom.
In this beautiful book, Joe Michael Pritchard describes the transforming power of service, a power that led him down a road he’d vowed never to walk again, the path towards “unconditional love.” Just in the first part of the book, he describes a moving scene that left an indelible mark on him: “It was past my clock-out time, when I should have been home sipping bourbon and self-stimulating the night away with my TV buttons that I saw Maggie Dalton stroke John's haggard face. That picture ripped right through my Hollywood persona to the core of my soul. In that instant, I saw Mom stroking Pop's deceased face and fighting back tears, that little-girl-lost look in her hazel eyes a replica of Maggie's eyes that night. It was a line I'd vowed never to cross again -- unconditional love of another human being.”
This book will unveil the face of suffering humanity to many readers, but it exalts humanity in a very beautiful way. I enjoyed how the author allowed himself to be touched by the sufferings of others. This book rings powerfully with the truth that the wounds in the lives of others can become a path through which we journey towards a life of meaning. Written in very beautiful language and a compassionate voice, And the Greatest of These will inspire readers to embrace the challenge of finding meaning in love and service. I couldn’t help thinking about From Brokenness to Community by Jean Vanier, and the writings of Henri Nouwen. It’s a beautiful story of how service can transform our work into an experience of freedom and joy. This is my book of the year.