Practice what you preach...

One of the things I LOVE about Henri Nouwen is that he is as bad as I am about practicing what he preached:  that is, his humanity was always showing as he tried to live a faithful albeit broken life.  Sometimes he hated the fact that he couldn't get it right - like me - and had to keep returning to the truth that only God can bless and heal and nourish us.

In his collection of Nouwen writings organized according to the liturgical seasons, Eternal Seasons, journalist Michael Ford writes:

Henri Nouwen was troubled by demons throughout his life. He knew that his temptation was actually to be so obsessed by his sins and failings that he could become stuck in a paralysing guilt. This led him to introspection. Guilt became an idol and therefore a form of pride. Lent, he concluded, was the time to break down this idol and direct his eys to a loving God.

Somewhere I remember reading that Nouwen once visited Mother Theresa and begged her for her insights about living in God's grace.  And essentially she told him, "Shut up, Henri.  Be silent and spend an hour every day in the quiet."  I know that both listening and solitude are essential for letting go and hearing the still, gentle and healing voice of the Lord.  I preach it all most constantly.  My defining passage of Scripture is Matthew 11:28: come unto me all ye who are tired and heavy laden and I will give you... rest. And all of my life I have wrestled with practicing what I preach about rest and renewal. 

In this, Nouwen and I are soul mates.  He once noted that in every day we can bounce around from grace to despair  and back - and that it is often and mostly beyond our control.  For years I was practicing a measure of solitude every 6-8 weeks but this was interrupted during Advent - and I hit the wall earlier this week.  So... I'm outta here for three days of quiet.  See you again after Sunday.

(My man C shared this with me this morning and damn but it gets this season just right!)


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