Dec 9 to Dec 15: Disciplined Living, Spiritual Life, Prayer, & Compassion

ReadingHere and Now, Chapter V to Chapter VIII (pages 85-153)

The purpose of spiritual reading, however, is not to master knowledge
or information, but to let God’s Spirit master us… 
it helps us to give meaning to our lives.
Here and Now, Five (p. 95) & Six (p. 96)

Wow!  It’s a great blessing to be a part of this wonderful, Spirit-filled,  and joyful virtual community sharing our Advent journey together. Last week was a truly amazing week of thoughtful, honest and thought-provoking sharing. A sincere thanks to each of you who shared.  And thanks to the many folks who are following along, but may be be less active in sharing comments.  Your presence strengthens our community. 

In our readings this week, Henri encourages us to continue our conversion and to claim and share God’s love by being disciplined, prayerful, and compassionate. We are presented with 31 meditations that encourage us to go deeper in our spiritual life and our relationships with the Lord and our community, especially those who suffer.

Henri highlights the discipline of spiritual reading and reading spiritually (quote above)– a discipline that is clearly evident among this community here and now.  In reflecting on Henri’s meditations last week, many of you recalled and shared insights from a variety of sources that broadened our perspective and enriched our understanding.  Thank you.  Henri then challenges us to look at how we are living our life today.  He reminds us that prayer is the way to know the Lord and that it is through compassion that we build up community.  There’s lots to ponder here and what we discover may be life-changing.

As always, you are invited to share the insights you have gained to the degree you are comfortable.  Several of you found the reflection process suggested last week to be helpful;  it is included again below. Finally, it seems to be a good time to say that your comment doesn’t have to be perfect, profound or polished.  You are not being evaluated based on your comment.  We will all gain by hearing from you as we continue what has quickly become a fruitful discussion among friends brought together by our shared interest in Henri Nouwen.

Once again, thanks for joining us this Advent as we prepare ourselves to receive the only gift of Christmas that matters–the Lord Himself.  We very much look forward to hearing from you in the week ahead!

May the Lord give you peace.

Here is a process that you might find helpful as you explore the readings.

  1. Concentrate on one chapter per day.
  2. Read all of the meditations in the selected chapter in the order presented to gain insight into Henri’s approach to this element of the spiritual life.
  3. Select a few (perhaps 2 or 3) of the meditations that stand out to you, and read them thoroughly, perhaps several times and reflect on what they are saying. Consider:
    1. The thought or concept that stands out to you
    2. How does it relate to your personal experience? Look at your experience with the benefit of Henri’s insight.  Does that help you to see things differently or to know yourself better?
    3. What is God speaking to your heart?  Henri turned to scripture daily and that is reflected in many of these meditations.  You might find it fruitful  to seek out  the Scriptural truths that Henri mentions or that God is speaking to your heart.
    4. How you will respond? Carefully (prayerfully) consider how your heart responds to the insights gained during your reflection. Are there small steps you can take to incorporate these insights and to apply this element to strengthen your spiritual life?
    5. Pray!
    6. You might also consider the questions in the Guide for Reflection (p. 203)
  4. Move on to another chapter.
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