Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Midweek Meditation: "Nouwen on Discernment 2"

TITLE: Discernment: Reading the Signs of Daily Life

"Whoever or wherever you are in your life, as I see you in front of me in prayer, I feel very close to you, not in any sentimental way, but as a man who has lived your lives interiorly and knows about the pain and joy you hold in your hearts. As I let my eyes look deeply into my own heart and yours, I am increasingly aware of how lost we are. Those of us who are wealthy and successful are no less lost than those of us who are poor and experience life as a failure. Those of us who are healthy and strong are no less lost than those of us who are frail and weak. Those of us who are priests and ministers are no less lost than those of us who are lawyers, doctors, or business people. Those of us who are active in the church and society are no less lost than those of us who have resigned ourselves to passive waiting for the end of life. Those of us who are excited about new projects or full of energy to bring about changes here and there are no less lost than those who have become skeptical or cynical about the possibility of a better world.

Apart from the love of God in our lives, we are people lost at sea, without anchors. We stand alone without supporting walls, without a floor to walk on, without a ceiling to protect us, with-out a hand to guide us, without eyes that look at us with love, without a companion to show the way.

Dear friends, we have to know the darkness to be able to search for the light. We first must come to know our lostness if we want to find meaning, purpose, and direction in life. What I want to share with you is a way out of the darkness, a way to find the light.

The way of discernment begins with prayer. Praying means breaking through the veil of existence and allowing yourself to be led by the vision that has become real to you, whatever you call that vision—“the Unseen Reality,” “the Numen,” “the HigherPower,” “the Spirit,” or “the Christ.” Our prayers are directed not to ourselves but to Another, who wants to turn us around, who longs to be present, and who is able to guide us. The one who prays to God pierces the darkness and senses the source of all being. "

(Henri Nouwen, on "When There is Darkness, Light" in Discernment, New York: NY, HarperOne, 2013, xxvii-xxix)

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