HENRI NOUWEN SOCIETY | MEDITATIONS | JESUS COMES TO US IN THE POOR
Jesus Comes to us in the Poor
What finally counts is not whether we know Jesus and his words but whether we live our lives in the Spirit of Jesus. The Spirit of Jesus is the Spirit of Love. Jesus himself makes this clear when he speaks about the last judgment. There people will ask: "Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?" and Jesus will answer: "In so far as you did this to one of the least ... of mine, you did it to me" (Matthew 25:37, 40).
This is our great challenge and consolation. Jesus comes to us in the poor, the sick, the dying, the prisoners, the lonely, the disabled, the rejected. There we meet him, and there the door to God's house is opened for us.
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HENRI NOUWEN SOCIETY | MEDITATIONS | CLAIMING OUR RECONCILIATION
Claiming our Reconciliation
How do we work for reconciliation? First and foremost by claiming for ourselves that God through Christ has reconciled us to God. It is not enough to believe this with our heads. We have to let the truth of this reconciliation permeate every part of our beings. As long as we are not fully and thoroughly convinced that we have been reconciled with God, that we are forgiven, that we have received new hearts, new spirits, new eyes to see, and new ears to hear, we continue to create divisions among people because we expect from them a healing power they do not possess.
Only when we fully trust that we belong to God and can find in our relationship with God all that we need for our minds, hearts, and souls, can we be truly free in this world and be ministers of reconciliation. This is not easy; we readily fall back into self-doubt and self-rejection. We need to be constantly reminded through God’s Word, the sacraments, and the love of our neighbours that we are indeed reconciled.
Hiddenness, a Place of Purification - from Henri Nouwen`s Bread for the Journey
One of the reasons that hiddenness is such an important aspect of the spiritual life is that it keeps us focused on God. In hiddenness we do not receive human acclamation, admiration, support, or encouragement. In hiddenness we have to go to God with our sorrows and joys and trust that God will give us what we most need.
In our society we are inclined to avoid hiddenness. We want to be seen and acknowledged. We want to be useful to others and influence the course of events. But as we become visible and popular, we quickly grow dependent on people and their responses and easily lose touch with God, the true source of our being. Hiddenness is the place of purification. In hiddenness we find our true selves.
For further reflection...
Unless the Lord had given me help, I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death. When I said, "My foot is slipping," your love, O Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul. - Psalm 94: 17-19 (NIV)
Being Living Signs of Love - from Henri Nouwen's Bread for the Journey
"Jesus' whole life was a witness to his Father's love, and Jesus calls his followers to carry on that witness in his Name. We, as followers of Jesus, are sent into this world to be visible signs of God's unconditional love. Thus we are not first of all judged by what we say but by what we live. When people say of us: "See how they love one another," they catch a glimpse of the Kingdom of God that Jesus announced and are drawn to it as by a magnet.
In a world so torn apart by rivalry, anger, and hatred, we have the privileged vocation to be living signs of a love that can bridge all divisions and heal all wounds."
For further reflection...
"If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even those who do not believe love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even those who do not believe do that." - Luke 6: 32, 33 (NIV)
Transcendence - from James B. Torrance's Worship, Community and the Triune God of Grace
"He lifts us up out of ourselves to participate in the very life and communion of the Godhead, that life of communion for which we were created."
Incarnation - from James B. Torrance's Worship, Community and the Triune God of Grace
"The prime purpose of the incarnation [incarnation = the birth of Emmanuel] [Emmanuel = God with us], in the love of God, is to lift us up into the life of communion, of participation in the very Triune life of God."