Reading: Letters starting with the letter addressed to Jeff on July 13, 1988 (page 176 in book) through to the end of Part II.
Welcome to our first week of readings! The letters we are reading this week cover a short but important period in Henri’s life from mid-1988 until December 1989. To better understand this time in Henri’s life, read the introduction to Part II beginning on page 117. The first letters we read this week are from mid-1988 as Henri is returning to Daybreak following seven months of intensive therapy at a retreat center in Winnipeg for clergy needing spiritual and psychological help. Henri shares with friends the personal and spiritual difficulties he faces as he returns to Daybreak. Fortunately, he also shares some of the deep spiritual truths he has been learning through this time.
1. In a letter to Jurjen dated September 5, 1989 (p 225) Henri explores the practical application of the first and second commandments. Henri reminds us that “Jesus calls us to… love without wanting anything in return.” Henri also refers to the great Saints in history “who were so passionately in love with God that they were completely free to love other people in a deep, affective way without strings attached.”
a) How does one cultivate this type of love?
b) How is this different than the meaning of “love” commonly understood and practiced in our society?
2. If the concept of love highlighted above seems daunting, refer to Henri’s letter to Brian of February 6, 1989 (p 199). Brian admits he feels incapable of loving people for who they are, rather than for what they bring him.
a) How do you understand Henri’s caution and encouragement to Brian in this letter?
3. Many of the people we are called to love are members of our church community. In a letter to Rose dated March 12, 1989, Henri encourages us to continue to build the church despite obvious criticisms. Additionally, in a letter to Seth dated September 26 1989 Henri affirms the church “will never cease to be also the way to God.”
a) If you’ve been struggling in relation to the church, what stands out to you from these to letters?
4. In love/relationships there is so often a struggle for power. In a letter written to Ed dated June 23, 1989 (p 219) Henri distinguishes between a power that come from God’s love flowing through us,verses a power that relates to our own need for affirmation and success.
a) How are you currently experiencing power in your closest relationships?
b) Henri reminds us that in order for the power in our life/relationships to come from God, we must be deeply rooted in Him. As you consider this letter and many others in this week’s reading, what is Henri’s advice to us as to how to develop deep roots in the Father?
5. In a letter to Annice date October 31, 1988 (p194), Henri clarifies what he means by the concept of the Wounded Healer.
a) Based on these letters, how do you understand Henri’s concept of the Wounded Healer?
b) How does it apply in your own life?
As always, these questions are meant to get our discussion going, but please do not feel bound to them in any way. You are welcome to share whatever comes up for you in the readings.
Ray and Brynn