Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone’s face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions. — Henri Nouwen
One of the greatest acts of faith is to believe that the few years we live on this earth are like a little seed planted in a very rich soil. For this seed to bear fruit, it must die. We often see or feel only the dying, but the harvest will be abundant even when we ourselves are not the harvesters. — Henri Nouwen, Life of the Beloved
Praying means to stop expecting from God that same small-mindedness which you discover in yourself. To pray is to walk in the full light of God, and to say simply without holding back, “I am a man [or a woman] and you are God.” At that moment, conversion occurs, the restoration of the true relationship. Man is not the one who once in a while makes a mistake and God is not the one who now and then forgives. No, man is a sinner and God is love. (Henri Nouwen)
I am in constant need of being delivered from small-mindedness.
Henri Nouwen in his wonderful little book titled In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership shows just how “out of touch” he was in his day. Irrelevant leadership? Puh-leeeaaze!
The temptation is to be relevant. To show power, ability, or rightness.
“Words like right-wing, reactionary, conservative, liberal, and left wing are used to describe people’s opinions and many discussions then seem more like political battles for power than spiritual searches for the truth.”
“Christian leaders cannot simply be persons who have well-informed opinions about the burning issues of our time. Their leadership must be rooted in the permanent, intimate relationship with the incarnate Word, Jesus, and they need to find there the source for their words, advice, and guidance.”
God, help us. God… help me.
I am headed out on Monday to three days of silence. It is a rhythm I work to put into my life every year now. Henri Nouwen helps explain why:
“Somewhere we know that without silence words lose their meaning, that without listening speaking no longer heals, that without distance closeness cannot cure.”