Saturday, May 30, 2020

Thoughts on solitude

Hear the Voice that Calls You the Beloved
Solitude is listening to the voice that calls you the Beloved. It is being alone with the One who says, “You are my Beloved, I want to be with you. Don’t go running around, don’t start to prove to everybody that you’re beloved. You are already beloved.” That is what God says to us. Solitude is the place where we go in order to hear the truth about ourselves. It asks us to let go of the other ways of proving, which are a lot more satisfying. The voice that calls us the beloved is not the voice that satisfies the senses. That’s what the whole mystical life is about; it is beyond feelings and beyond thoughts.

Henri Nouwen

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Thoughts on community

We Are Windows to God’s Love
The discipline of community makes us persons; that is, people who are sounding through to each other (the Latin personare means “sounding through”) a truth, a beauty, and a love that is greater, fuller, and richer than we ourselves can grasp. In true community we are windows constantly offering each other new views on the mystery of God’s presence in our lives. Thus the discipline of community is a true discipline of prayer. It makes us alert to the presence of the Spirit who cries out “Abba,” Father, among us and thus prays from the center of our common life. Community thus is obedience practiced together. The question is not simply “Where does God lead me as an individual person who tried to do his will?” More basic and more significant is the question “Where does God lead us as a people?”

Henri Nouwen

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Thoughts on enemies

Forgive Your Enemies
Christians mention one another in their prayers (Romans 1:9; 2 Corinthians 1:11; Ephesians 6:8; Colossians 4:3), and in so doing they bring help and even salvation to those for whom they pray (Romans 15:30; Philippians 1:19). But the final test of compassionate prayer goes beyond prayers for fellow Christians, members of the community, friends, and relatives. Jesus says it most unambiguously, “I say this to you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44); and in the depth of his agony on the cross, he prays for those who are killing him, “Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). Here the full significance of the discipline of prayer becomes visible. Prayer allows us to lead into the center of our hearts not only those who love us but also those who hate us. This is possible only when we are willing to make our enemies part of ourselves and thus convert them first of all in our own hearts.

Henri Nouwen

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Thoughts on prayer

Through Prayer We Enter Into God’s Compassionate Heart
Prayer is far from sweet and easy. Being the expression of our greatest love, it does not keep pain way from us. Instead, it makes us suffer more since our love for God is a love for a suffering God and our entering into God’s intimacy is an entering into the intimacy where all of human suffering is embraced in divine compassion. To the degree that our prayer has become the prayer of our heart we will love more and suffer more, we will see more light and more darkness, more grace and more sin, more of God and more of humanity. To the degree that we have descended into our heart and reached out to God from there, solitude can speak to solitude, deep to deep, and heart to heart. It is there where love and pain are found together.

Henri Nouwen

Friday, May 1, 2020

Thoughts on Joseph

Joseph’s work in Nazareth was a labor of love. He understood the importance of the home life of the Holy Family, and he thoughtfully and sensibly carried out the stewardship necessary. While the work of raising a child is not always easy, Joseph’s task was even weightier. Mary and her son didn’t need just any man; they needed this one, the one whom God had chosen for them. Joseph gave himself completely to this holy undertaking. Was he aware of what was taking place? We don’t know. We do know that every opportunity Joseph had to instruct Jesus was an opportunity to grow in the knowledge of God. Imagine being the one to teach the Son of God how to use a hammer or the one to watch anxiously the first time Jesus used a saw. The work in Nazareth, while truly the stuff of ordinary life, was carried out by an extraordinary man. This work wasn’t only for Mary and Jesus but also for all women and men united with God in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. Joseph continues his work for us in the Church today.
—from the book Joseph, the Man Who Raised Jesus by Fr. Gary Caster