“There is immense pain in the wide world around us; there is immense pain in the small world within us. But all pain belongs to Jesus and is transformed by him into glorified wounds that allow
us to recognize him as our risen Lord.”
Walk With Jesus, Preface
Reading: Publisher’s Note 25th Anniversary Edition and Preface
A warm welcome to each of you as we begin our Lenten journey together. I’m looking forward with joy and anticipation to greeting old friends returning for another fruitful discussion and to meeting new friends joining us for the first time. As in years past, a spirit-filled community of people will gather to read and reflect on the words of Henri Nouwen and to share their wisdom, insights, and stories with each other. Thank you for joining us as we “come apart and rest a while” (Mark 6:31) during this Lenten season. This is a wonderful opportunity to learn, connect, and grow as we prepare for Easter.
This Lent we’re reading and discussing Henri’s Walk With Jesus – Stations of the Cross. Henri’s meditations were written to accompany Sister Helen David’s the powerful illustrations of our suffering brothers and sisters. As Henri’s friend and publisher Robert Ellsberg notes, “Henri Nouwen promoted a central, consistent theme: that the Christian life is a matter of following in the footsteps of Jesus.” I can think of no better way of doing so than by joining Jesus on the Via Dolorosa (Way of Sorrows).
These illustrations were inspired by painful situations affecting specific people in particular locations in the late-20th century. However, the poverty, suffering, violence, and abandonment that are portrayed are ever with us and we are called to respond with love and compassion as Jesus did. Henri was believed that what was most personal was the most universal. These meditations and illustrations are timeless and, as Henri wrote, “able to touch the hearts of people living in very different places, in very different times, and in very different circumstances.” (Nomura and Nouwen, Desert Wisdom, Introduction. Orbis Books, 2001).
But before we get started, let’s briefly describe how the discussion works. If you’ve joined us before, this will serve as review:
Each Sunday during Lent you will discover a new “post,” indicated by the bold title, on the blog’s Home page. Click on the title to enter the post. There you will find the week’s readings and some questions for discussion. To leave a comment scroll down to the bottom of the page where you will find the “leave a reply” box. It works best if you always add any new comment to the newest post, even if you are referring to an earlier post. That way, everyone will see your comment. After you submit a comment, either Ray as moderator or Will at the Nouwen Society need to “approve” it, so it may take a few hours before it actually appears on the blog page. The instructions on how to submit and reply to comments are also included at the bottom of the reading schedule. If you have any questions about the blog, please feel free to ask. To ask a question you can submit a comment or send Ray an email at the address in his bio below.
As we begin our journey together, it’s always nice to learn a little bit about each of you. Over the next few days you are invited to introduce yourself. You may choose to share:
a) Your general geographic location
b) To whom or what you dedicate your days or energy, and why
c) How you came to “know/read” Henri Nouwen and whether or not you participated in a previous discussion.
d) Insights, thoughts or questions that arose as you read the Publisher’s Note and Preface.
e) What you hope to experience during this discussion
Welcome to each of you and I look forward to your introductions!
We begin our Walk With Jesus in earnest this Sunday, March 10th.
RAY GLENNON: Ray volunteers in his parish Confirmation program and other ministries. He and his wife are members of the Secular Franciscan Order (OFS) and a Catholic charismatic community. Ray came to know and trust Henri’s written word in a special way in 2004 when he found The Return of the Prodigal Son for sale after Mass at the cathedral in Singapore at an important point in his life. He is currently leading a six-week adult education course on “Henri Nouwen and A Spirituality of Living.”