Wednesday, March 5, 2008

More from Fr. Henri Nouwen

Another good reflection by Father Nouwen, from The Genesee Diary: Report from a Trappist Monastery

Today I imagined my inner self as a place crowded with pins and needles. How could I receive anyone in my prayer when there is no real place for them to be free and relaxed? When I am still so full of preoccupations, jealousies, angry feelings, anyone who enters will get hurt. I had a very vivid realization that I must create some free space in my innermost self so that I may indeed invite others to enter and be healed. To pray for others means to offer others a hospitable place where I can really listen to their needs and pains.

Compassion, therefore, calls for a self-scrutiny that can lead to inner gentleness. If I could have a gently "interiority" -- a heart of flesh and not of stone, a room with some spots on which one might walk barefooted -- then God and my fellow humans could meet each other there. Then the center of my heart can become the place where God can hear the prayers for my neighbors and embrace them with His love.

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