“Please, Lord, be with me at every moment and in every place. Give me the strength and courage to live this season faithfully, so that, when Easter comes, I will be able to take with joy the new life which you have prepared for me” (p137)
Reading: sections 11 to 15
Thank you all for another wonderful week of sharing last week. You will find much to reflect upon in this week’s reading as well.
1_ At the beginning of section 11, Henri talks about being present to the present. He quotes Rilke as describing this as living “without loss.”
a) Do you struggle with living in the present? Are you often in the past or in the future?
b) What are the losses we experience when we are not living in the present? Generally? Spiritually?
c) What does the Bible say about living in the present?
d) How do we do it?
2_ Also at the beginning of section 11, Henri receives a clear “call” from the L’Arche Daybreak community. Although this call is not “immediately attractive” Henri has a deep sense that this is God’s will and direction for his life, and so he prays for the “strength and courage to be truly obedient to Jesus, even if he calls me to where I would rather not go” (p95). Just a few pages later we learn of his growing friendship with Nathan. He discovers Nathan also plans to live at Daybreak in the years ahead. Henri is “filled with gratitude and joy that God is not only calling [him] to a new country and a new community, but also offering [him] a new friendship to make it easier to follow that call (p99).
a) You are invited to share a story of a time that God was calling you somewhere you would rather not go, but as you chose to obey Him, he also provided you with a clear blessing or grace that made it easier to “follow the call.”
3_On page 113 Henri discusses with his friend Wim a struggle with a sense of meaninglessness. “What am I doing here? Is this really our world, our people, our existence? What is everybody so busy with?”
a) Have you had moments of similar searching, despair? Was there an event in your life that brought this on?
b) As they continue to reflect, Henri describes this extremely painful experience as “the way to a deeper connection.” How can we direct these painful questions in ourselves or in others to a deeper connection “with the one whose name is love, leading to a new discovery that we reborn out of love and are always called back to that love…to a new realization that God is the God of life who continues to offer us life wherever and whenever death threatens” (p114)?
4_ Throughout the book Henri shares of a deep desire to be faithful in prayer, while he constantly struggles to pray “well.” He shares a small piece on prayer by Dom John Chapman (see page 116 and 117).
a) How does this piece also encourage you in your prayer life?
5_ As Henri is going through another emotionally hard time, he is invited to reflect on Deuteronomy 30. He considers the opportunity we all have every single day, to choose life, and “one aspect of choosing life is choosing joy” (p138). He describes choosing joy as “the determination to let whatever takes place bring us one step closer to the God of life.”
a) What would this look like for you, in the situation you are in right now?
Looking forward to another great week!
Ray and Brynn