"When we open our hearts to each other we allow grace to enter. It is as simple as that. And suffering — events that break open the heart — can become the refiner's fire that leaves us fully open to the truth about love and compassion," writes Jungian-oriented clinical psychologist and psychotherapist Kathleen A. Brehony (Awakening at Midlife). She has subtitled this book An Examination of the Roots of Compassion, Altruism, and Empathy, and the Ordinary Individuals Who Help Others in Extraordinary Ways. Her message is clear: All too often we forget that there are good people in our communities who are pushing back the tide of violence, greed, and self-interest with meaningful acts of kindness.

Brehony has gathered together stories that signal "the abundant presence of grace in the world." They include organ donors, people who bake bread and prepare stew for the homeless, physicians who work for peace, a couple who turned their grief into a catalyst for the creation of an innovative playground for handicapped children, and a man who has given away $1,000 checks to 81 deserving individuals. In addition, the author delineates seven characteristics of these individuals who model acts of benevolence for the rest of us. She closes this thoughtful and inspiring book with helpful tips on ways we all can unleash our generous instincts for goodness and grace in the world.