Reading: Walk With Jesus, Introduction, Chapter I and II (pages 1-18)
The poor who walk on the roads and through the deserts and rough places
of the world call me to humility–derived from the Latin word
“humus” which means earth or soil.
Walk With Jesus, Introduction, (p. 5)
We have a wonderful group gathering to walk with Jesus this Lent. It is a joy to greet a number of friends returning for another discussion and and to welcome those of you joining us for the first time. Thank you for your honest and touching introductions. For those of you who shared your pain or suffering, be assured this is a caring, compassionate, and supportive community. We’re glad your here.
The visual arts were an important pathway to the spiritual life for Henri Nouwen. You probably know that his most popular book, The Return of the Prodigal Son–A Story of Homecoming, was a inspired by and a reflection on the famous painting by Rembrandt, a Dutch countryman. Henri was also deeply touched by the work of Vincent Van Gogh, the Dutch post-Impressionist painter and one of the influential figures in the history of Western art. As Henri notes in the Preface, “It has been a real grace for me to reflect on Sister Helen David’s Stations. What moved me most was that these Stations were created
. . . to help us unite our own broken humanity with the humanity of these men, women, and children portrayed in these painting.” In order to fully appreciate Henri’s reflections, I encourage you to sit with and ponder Sister Helen David’s poignant drawings. In a simple yet powerful way they draw us in to the passion and suffering of Jesus, God-with-us, through the trials and tribulations confronting the poor on a daily basis.
Henri follows a threefold approach in his reflection on each Station. First, he places us in Sister Helen David’s picture. He then transports us to Jerusalem to join Jesus on his way to Calvary and shows us how Jesus’s suffering is related to the poor in the picture. Finally, with the suffering of the poor and the passion of Jesus as inspiration, Henri challenges us walk with Jesus and to build God’s Kingdom here and now.
You might consider using Henri’s approach as you stop and pray at each Station.
- Ponder on Sister Helen David’s drawing. Take note of your observations, impressions, reactions, and any questions that my arise.
- Read Henri’s reflection. How does Henri’s reaction to the drawing compare to yours? Does Henri’s description of Jesus’ suffering at this Station give you new insight into your life and faith journey? How do you respond to Henri’s challenge to walk with Jesus? What concrete steps will you take and when?
- 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 to strengthen your spiritual life
Please share with the group the insights you have gained to the degree you are comfortable. This is an opportunity to share and discuss what came up for you when reflecting Sister Helen David’s drawing and Henri’s reflection. You may choose to share your thoughts by responding to the questions above, but please don’t feel bound to them. Please feel free to share whatever is on your heart. While many participants comment at least weekly, you are welcome to comment as frequently as you like You are encouraged to respond to the comments of others. This is how we build community. And if you choose to follow along silently, you are welcome here as well.
Once again, thank you for joining us for this Lenten discussion. We’re glad you’re here and we look forward to hearing from you.
Peace and all good.