Choosing Joy

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Published in: on 10/21/2016 at 9:22  Leave a Comment  
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We haven’t arrived

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He who thinks that
he is finished is finished…
Those who think that
they have arrived, have lost their way.
Those who think they have
reached their goal, have missed it.
Those who think they are saints,
are demons.

–Henri Nouwen
The Genesee Diary

We need to hear His voice

IMG_2587The farther I run away from the place where God dwells the less I am able to hear the voice that calls me the Beloved, and the less I hear that voice, the more entangled I become in manipulative power games of the world.

–Henri Nouwen
The Return of the Prodigal

Published in: on 05/17/2015 at 9:12  Leave a Comment  
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The truth that sets us free

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Jesus sends the Spirit so that we may be led to the full truth of the divine life. Truth does not mean an idea, concept, or doctrine, but the true relationship. To be led into the truth is to be led into the same relationship that Jesus had with the Father. . . . Thus Pentecost is the completion of Jesus’ mission.

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On Pentecost the fullness of Jesus’ ministry becomes visible. When the Holy Spirit descends upon the disciples and dwells with them, their lives are transformed into Christ-like lives, lives shaped by the same love that exists between the Father and the Son. The spiritual life is indeed a life in which we are lifted up to become partakers of the divine life.

–Henri Nouwen
Making All Things New

God is the seeker

Bluebell Walk

I am beginning now to see how radically the character of my spiritual journey will change when I no longer think of God as hiding and making it difficult as possible for me to find him, but, instead, as the one who is looking for me while I am doing the hiding.

–Henri Nouwen
(1932 – 1996)

Image: Stephen Darbishire

His faithful presence

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Our life is full of brokenness—
broken relationships,
broken promises,
broken expectations.
How can we live with that brokenness
without becoming bitter and resentful
except by returning again and again
to God’s faithful presence
in our lives?

–Henri Nouwen

Love does not mean approval

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We often confuse unconditional love
with unconditional approval.
God loves us without conditions but does not
approve of every human behavior.

God doesn’t approve of betrayal, violence, hatred, suspicion, and all other expressions of evil, because they all contradict the love God wants to instill in the human heart. Evil is the absence of God’s love. Evil does not belong to God.

God’s unconditional love means that
God continues to love us even when
we say or think evil things.

God continues to wait for us as a loving parent waits for the return of a lost child. It is important for us to hold on to the truth that God never gives up loving us even when God is saddened by what we do. That truth will help us to return to God’s ever-present love.

–Henri Nouwen
(emphasis added)

The seduction of power

What makes the temptation of power so seemingly irresistible? Maybe it is that power offers an easy substitute for the hard task of love. It seems easier to be God than to love God, easier to control people than to love people, easier to own life than to love life. Jesus asks, “Do you love me?” We ask, “Can we sit at your right hand and your left hand in your Kingdom?” (Mt. 20:21). …We have been tempted to replace love with power.

–Henri Nouwen

Published in: on 11/02/2012 at 11:00  Leave a Comment  
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Return of the Prodigal

Rembrandt’s embrace remained imprinted on my soul far more profoundly than an temporal expression of emotional support. It has brought me into touch with something within me that lies far beyond the ups and downs of life, something that represents the ongoing yearning of the human spirit, the yearning for a final return, an unambiguous sense of safety, a lasting home.

–Henri Nouwen

Unconditional love

We often confuse unconditional love with unconditional approval. God loves us without conditions but does not approve of every human behavior. God doesn’t approve of betrayal, violence, hatred, suspicion, and all other expressions of evil, because they all contradict the love God wants to instill in the human heart. Evil is the absence of God’s love. Evil does not belong to God.

God’s unconditional love means that God continues to love us even when we say or think evil things. God continues to wait for us as a loving parent waits for the return of a lost child. It is important for us to hold on to the truth that God never gives up loving us even when God is saddened by what we do. That truth will help us to return to God’s ever-present love.

–Henri Nouwen

Published in: on 02/12/2012 at 20:45  Leave a Comment  
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The Joy of Being Like Others

 

At first sight, joy seems to be connected with being different. When you receive a compliment or win an award, you experience the joy of not being the same as others. You are faster, smarter, more beautiful, and it is that difference that brings you joy. But such joy is very temporary. True joy is hidden where we are the same as other people: fragile and mortal. It is the joy of belonging to the human race. It is the joy of being with others as a friend, a companion, a fellow traveler.

This is the joy of Jesus, who is Emmanuel: God-with-us.

–Henri Nouwen

Published in: on 12/03/2011 at 8:30  Leave a Comment  
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More than you thought

If you recognize the gift that you are forever loved, claim it, share it, and celebrate it, it multiplies. In sharing your love with others you suddenly discover there is more than you thought and you only begin to know how much more there is when you give it away.

–Henri J. M. Nouwen (1932 – 1996)

Published in: on 04/19/2011 at 12:37  Leave a Comment  
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Better than we dared to hope

When we really look at what the Bible says and grasp the implications of the Gospel according to Jesus then we soon discover that this Good News is better than we could have ever dared to hope. It is a story of recovering something that was once thought to be totally lost, redeeming something that was once thought to be absolutely hopeless.

It is a story of God bringing
something wonderfully good
out of something terribly evil.

It is a story of God bringing Life and Light out of so much death and darkness. It is a story of love, and the incredible lengths to which that Love will go to secure the object of its affection.

–Henri Nouwen
(1932 – 1996)

Published in: on 03/13/2011 at 13:56  Leave a Comment  
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The still, small voice of Love

Many voices ask for our attention. There is a voice that says, “Prove that you are a good person.” Another voice says, “You’d better be ashamed of yourself.” There also is a voice that says, “Nobody really cares about you,” and one that says, “Be sure to become successful, popular, and powerful.”

But underneath all these often very noisy voices is a still, small voice that says, “You are my Beloved, my favor rests on you.” That’s the voice we need most of all to hear. To hear that voice, however, requires special effort; it requires solitude, silence, and a strong determination to listen.

That’s what prayer is. It is listening to the voice that calls us “my Beloved.”

–Henri Nouwen
(1932 – 1996)

Published in: on 02/07/2011 at 10:43  Leave a Comment  
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