Feb 21st to 27th: Lent Week 1 – The Sabbatical Begins

Reading: September 2 to October 31, pages 3 to 45

I have always dreamt of a whole year. . . completely open to let something
radically new happen. But can I do it? Can I let go of all the things
that make me feel useful and significant?

September 2, 1995, p. 3

A warm welcome to everyone and thanks to the many people that introduced themselves. Thus far our virtual global community includes participants from across the USA and Canada, the UK, South Africa, and Indonesia. As we enter this second Lent during the COVID pandemic, I want to especially recognize the efforts and sacrifice of the healthcare and other essential workers that are joining us for this discussion. You have our deepest gratitude.

More so than some other books, each reader will be drawn to different entries in Sabbatical Journey based their life’s experiences or where they are in their spiritual journey. In the Foreward, Sr. Sue Mosteller suggests the approach we will take for our discussion. “This book begs to be read slowly, the reader paying attention to, and reflecting with Henri on the meaning of a particular encounter, of the event in Scripture or the news, of the insights from a new book, or of the background shaping the concert or the artifact. There is so much hidden depth and beauty here that the rapid, curious reader risks disappointment.”

Following Sr. Sue’s advice, rather than identifying particular thoughts or ideas that spoke to me and posing reflection questions to prompt your thinking as we done in recent discussions, I’d like to offer the following process that may guide your personal reflections and comments to the group.

  1. Read through Henri’s daily entries in the suggested reading above to get an overall sense of what Henri was involved with at the time and the experiences and ideas that captured his interest. This might be considered the rapid reading that Sue cautions against.
  2. Then select a few journal entries that stand out to you, and read them thoroughly, perhaps several times. In your careful reading and reflection, consider:
    1. The experience, thought, or concept that stands out to you
    2. How does it relates 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 through Henri’s experience and words? How have you been touched, inspired, challenged, and comforted on your spiritual journey.
    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 move toward spiritual freedom in your life? 
    5. Pray!
  3. Finally, please share with the group to the degree you are comfortable.

Please don’t feel bound to this process. As always, you are free to share whatever comes up for you in the readings, something from your personal experience, or feedback prompted by the comments of others. The thoughts and insights shared by the participants provide the heartbeat for every Henri Nouwen book discussion and we look forward to hearing from many you. However, we also know that some participants choose to read and journey with us without commenting. We’re grateful that you’re here whether you comment or not.

May the Lord give you peace during this first week in Lent.

Posted in Lent 2021 - Sabbatical Journey | 52 Comments