Henri Nouwen

Caring Community

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“This leaves us with the urgent question: How can we be or become a caring community, a community of people not trying to cover the pain or to avoid it by sophisticated bypasses, but rather share it as the source of healing and new life? It is important to realize that you cannot get a Ph.D. in caring, that caring cannot be delegated by specialists, and that therefore nobody can be excused from caring. Still, in a society like ours, we have a strong tendency to refer to specialists. When someone does not feel well, we quickly think, ‘Where can we find a doctor?’ When someone is confused, we easily advise him to go to a counselor. And when someone is dying, we quickly call a priest. Even when someone wants to pray we wonder if there is a minister around.”

~ Henri Nouwen

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Radical Stance

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“The spiritual life is a life in which we wait, actively present to the moment, trusting that new things will happen to us, new things that are far beyond our own imagination, fantasy, or prediction. That, indeed, is a very radical stance toward life in a world preoccupied with control.”

~ Henri Nouwen

Painting by Salvador Dalì, Archaeological reminscence of Millet’s Angelus

Free World

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“Freedom belongs to the core of the spiritual life; not just the freedom which releases us from forces that want to oppress us, but the freedom also to forgive others, to serve them, and to form a new bond of fellowship with them. In short, the freedom to love and to work for a free world.”

~ Henri Nouwen, Letters to Marc About Jesus

Painting by Camille Pissarro (1898)

Did I Offer Peace Today

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“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. I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and the life to come.”

~ Henri Nouwen

Painting by Gerald Harvey Jones

Remain Connected

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“Whatever we do or do not do in our lives, we need always to remain connected with the rest of the Holy Saturday when Jesus lay buried in the tomb and the whole of creation waited for all things to be made new.”

~ Henri Nouwen, Walk With Jesus, Stations of the Cross

Movements of Grace

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“To be healed of resentment and move into gratitude requires me to dance — to believe again, even amid my pain, that God will orchestrate and guide my life. The mystery of the dance is that its movements are discovered in taking the steps one by one: Some slow, some quick. Some smooth, some not. If all steps on the journey are movements of grace, we can be grateful for every moment we have lived, knowing that all is grace.”

~ Henri Nouwen, Spiritual Formation

Ever hear someone remark about your “gracefulness” when you have had an accident? Maybe you make the remark yourself trying to cover up embarrassment over falling, bumping into something, etc. “I’m so graceful!”

Turns out those words and a humble smile really do allow grace into our lives. Life is full of “happy accidents” if we just allow ourselves to see them for what they are. Movements of grace.