Category Archives: Henri Nouwen

Chosenness

The truth, even though I cannot feel it right now, is that I am the chosen child of God, precious in God’s eyes, called the Beloved from all eternity and held safe in an everlasting embrace… We must dare to opt consciously for our chosenness and not allow our emotions, feelings, or passions to seduce us into self-rejection.

——Henri Nouwen

Ponder on the reality that you are a child of God and perhaps life will be a lot lighter.


Prayer

Lord we acknowledge that you have chosen  us to be the centerpiece of your creation. Let us accept that privilege and live in a manner worthy of it. In doing so we can manifest your glory in our lives. That glory makes us and the world an easier and lighter place.

Amen

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Let the Son Show the Way

“While my friend always spoke about the sun, I kept speaking about the clouds, until one day I realized that it was the sun that allowed me to see the clouds.”
   

—Henri Nouwen

What will your topic of conversation be today?

 

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None is Higher than Hospitality

Henri Nouwen, the great spiritual writer, was going to a monastery for a retreat. The monks observed vows of silence and the retreat was to be meditative and prayerful. Nouwen was delayed and was late getting to the Monastery on a verywelcome miserable, rainy night. Upon his arrival, he rang the bell and was met at the door by one of the brothers. He warmly greeted Henri, took his wet coat, took him to the kitchen and made him a cup of tea. They chatted into the late night hours and Nouwen began to relax and feel ready for the retreat. He knew this monk was supposed to observe silence, so he finally asked him, “Why are you willing to sit and talk with me?” The monk replied, “Of all the duties of the Christian faith and the rules of my order, none is higher than hospitality.”

The church is a community as well, and hospitality should be a primary focus. Today’s church should be a place of welcome to all who come our way. There should be no connotation that only “rule followers” are welcome at the church. I fear that we have forgotten the concept of radical hospitality and confused it with assimilation into our group. If the church is to practice true hospitality, it must practice inclusiveness. That means no one is barred from total participation in the life of the church. I am concerned that we have lost sight of a most important tenet of Christianity. I thank the monastics for giving us a reminder.

Prayer Thought – Lord help me to remember that the open door of hospitality can have eternal consequences.

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Have Mercy on Us

Henri Nouwen in his L’Arche journal ‘The Road to Daybreak’ gives a really helpful example of this by quoting a summarized version of ‘The Three Hermits’ story written by Leo Tolstoy in the 19th century, that for me gets to the very heart of prayer.

“Three Russian monks lived on a faraway island. Nobody ever went there, but one day their bishop decided to make a pastoral visit. When he arrived, he discovered that the monks didn’t even depressedknow the Lord’s Prayer. So he spent all his time and energy teaching them the “Our Father” and then left, satisfied with his pastoral work. But when his ship had left the island and was back in the open sea, he suddenly noticed the three hermits walking on the water – in fact, they were running after the ship! When they reached it, they cried, “Dear Father, we have forgotten the prayer you taught us.” The bishop overwhelmed by what he was seeing and hearing, said, “But, dear brothers, how then do you pray?” They answered, “Well, we just say, ‘Dear God, there are three of us and there are three of you, have mercy on us!’” The bishop, awestruck by their sanctity and simplicity, said, “Go back to your land and be at peace.”

We are caught so much in the “how to” of life that we never get to the real thing. Prayer and faith are things we just do.

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The Voice

But what I would like to say is that the spiritual life is a life in which you gradually learn to listen to a voice that says something else, that says, “You are the beloved and on you my favor rests.”… I want you to hear that voice. It is not a very loud voice because it is an intimate voice. It comes from a very deep place. It is soft and gentle. I want you to gradually hear that voice. We both have to hear that voice and to claim for ourselves that that voice speaks the truth, our truth. It tells us who we are. That is where the spiritual life starts – by claiming the voice that calls us the beloved.

 

———Henri J. M. Nouwen

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Friendship

Nouwen

Henri Nouwen

“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.”

― Henri J.M. Nouwen

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The Good of the Gospel

From:George Whitefield: a biography,

From:George Whitefield: a biography, (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Stripped image of John Wesley

Stripped image of John Wesley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Although George Whitefield disagreed with John Wesley on some theological matters, he was careful not to create problems in public that could be used to hinder the preaching of the gospel. When someone asked Whitefield if he thought he would see Wesley in heaven, Whitefield replied, “I fear not, for he will be so near the eternal throne and we at such a distance, we shall hardly get sight of him.”

Every day I pray that God might get me to George Whitefield’s point and really mean it. This point of is commitment to the good of the mission and totally suppresses my ego and allows me to rejoice with all who disagree with me so we may strive together as we offer the world hope. This worthy goal is my daily prayer. Our world desperately needs the type of peace that can only come from a total commitment to the Good News of Christ. This week there have been two instances of violence that have made the news in a big way. The shootings at the MLK parade in New Orleans and the Lone Star Community College in Houston. Both undoubtedly were connected to disagreements that certainly were not bad enough to end in such violence. They were rooted in ego and the need to have things “my way”. May our God guide us to respect and cherish one another even in the midst of our differences.

 

 The word patience means the willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us.”

― Henri J.M. Nouwen

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