Mar 10 to Mar 16: Intro. I Walk With Jesus – I. Jesus is Condemned – II. Jesus Carries His Cross

ReadingWalk 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.

  1. Ponder on Sister Helen David’s drawing.  Take note of your observations, impressions, reactions, and any questions that my arise.
  2. 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?
  3. 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.
Ray

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36 Responses to Mar 10 to Mar 16: Intro. I Walk With Jesus – I. Jesus is Condemned – II. Jesus Carries His Cross

  1. Patrice Donnelly says:

    Station II: Jesus Carries His Cross.
    The man carrying the burden (wood for coffins) is doubly burdened. He knows he is carrying a heavy load, but he knows that the purpose he is carrying this load is to bury those who have died unjustly at the hands of murderers. We know this from the text. In the drawing we can see a deep determination and also pain. He is determined to carry the load because it is needed for coffins. He is in pain, we know from the picture because of the heavy load, but also because of the unjust deaths. Many of us here in this discussion have never seen such horror, although maybe some have. Living in this kind of fear of persecution and death at the hands of murderers every day, simply because one is poor, is a kind of cruelty that all of humanity stands against in asylum. God offers immediate love and mercy, which we can understand despite our differences, because of our own crosses and our own need for the very same love and mercy.

    I generally don’t jump to conclusions about other people’s burdens in life, but we all, no matter how tolerant or compassionate we already are, can continue to reflect on the need for compassion.

  2. Patrice Donnelly says:

    I saw in the drawing the face of a man behind bars in darkness, who is fearful but at the same time has a window open and can glance at something outside that gives him hope. As the viewer looking in, we can walk with him as a person alone, in darkness, who will always have access to a loving God.
    Nouwen states that the hunger for truth cannot be satisfied without being given a cross to bear, “but also not without the immense joy of being already now part of the divine life that reaches beyond any barred fence or gallows” (Station I: Jesus is Condemned)

  3. Joe says:

    It is easy to say that he deserves it. He broke the law. He violated. It is hard to look him in the eye and say, he made a mistake. When did we make a mistake? Does God forgive us but not him? Who are we to judge anyway? Can we help judging others? Can others help judging us? So many questions so we fall silent into thought. Realizing that Jesus paid the price for all of us but we do we truly believe.

  4. Chris Hoffman says:

    In chapter two on page 16 Henri Nouwen states:

    “The time of action is past. He (Jesus) does not speak any more; he does not protest; he does not reproach or admonish. He has become a victim. He no longer acts, but is acted upon. He has entered his passion.”

    On the next page 17 we read:

    “As long as I agonize over the pain of others far away but cannot carry the pain that is uniquely mine, I may become a activist, even a defender of humanity, but not yet a follower of Jesus.”

    Yesterday, we were made known of the horrific massacre of life in New Zealand of the killings of Muslims in their Mosques while worshipping. This act of evil saddens us to our core. It may drive us to want to act to make changes to render such tragedy from recurring. However this vicious cycle of death continues. Violence is ingrained in humanities DNA. We are unable as a world to eradicate it. It is a plague which blemishes this rock we call Earth that we live on. Yet, God seeing differently says that Earth and all of creation he fashioned is good.

    We cannot understand such cruelty. Yet, we can find a place as we bow our heads in humility before God where joy and peace and hope infiltrates our deepest sorrows.

    “When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourselves. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions: Wait for hope to appear.” (Lamentations 3:28-30, The Message translation).

    I appreciate Henri’s encouragement for us to consider our steps. Are we distracted by the fragility of the human condition in such a way that we are consumed with activity that drives us to remedy all of life’s ills. I think we are to allow our compassion to serve our hunting world while we are carrying a cross understanding that we go beyond a rescue mission and allow God to sow us into fields he broadcast us into to so that our wills die so life may grow.

  5. Ray Glennon says:

    From Patrice Donnelly
    Hello and Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Our Easter cactus is now in bloom. It seems to like Thanksgiving and St. Patrick’s Day (instead of Christmas and Easter!). It’s a little early. My introductory post, however, is on the other end of the spectrum…a little late!
    I am glad to be here with you. I live in Maryland. In the past, when a loved one has passed away, I have dedicated some time to that person and his/her soul. Generally, though, I don’t think so much about who I dedicate my days/energy to, so it is a good question. I guess it is to all those I love and hold dearly, perhaps without always realizing it.
    I was introduced to Henri Nouwen’s writing several times in my life, once in graduate school (working on an MBA of all degrees!), and from friends. I have participated in a prior Lenten discussion, which I enjoyed. In this Lent, I am taking steps to reduce procrastination on several things…opps! Well, not everything has made it quite so well! But I am trying! I have conquered procrastination around exercise, which is terrific.
    I will post again with insights from the reading… I look forward to our discussion!

  6. Ernie Rivard says:

    Sr. Helen’s art has drawn me to recall and reflect on several experiences of Haiti and El Salvador. The images she gives us clearly call to mind brothers and sisters I encountered in those places. In the sketch of one taking up their cross, I can see the “cart men” of Haiti. These are poor who act as beasts of burden pulling huge carts loaded with supplies or piles of used tires. They act as the local UPS service if you will. A friend who is a doctor and priest and lives there told me that once someone takes up the job of a cart man they rarely live more than four years because the work is so brutal. Oh the burdens we heap on one another! Yet the love that so many quietly display taking on burdens to support others! It is the image of the living Jesus.

    When I returned home in 1989 after my first trip of accompaniment to Haiti, I recall entering my home and falling into my wife’s arms. I began to weep and all I could utter was, “I can never tell you what I have seen.” Though I could show her pictures and tell her stories, I could never adequately express the depth of poverty and sorrow, the graciousness and gratitude I had experienced in the Haitian people. They had moved me deeply to witness true beauty, thanksgiving, resolute faith and hope. And I was humbled.

    I am grateful to both Sr. Helen and Henri for helping me begin our Lenten journey this year. They have renewed in me the simplicity of prayerful contemplation I have found in the encounter with the crucified. I look forward to walking the rest of our journey of faith with all of you this Lent. I am grateful for your sharing of hearts and insight. Thank you.

  7. Elaine M says:

    In my ministry with the St. Vincent DePaul Society, we often encounter people with great needs but also with the great baggage of fear and anger that comes with the stresses of deprivation, endless red tape at social services, possibly physical or emotional abuse, and almost always a lack of acceptance by mainstream society. Sometimes as we serve them (wash their feet, so to speak), they may avert their eyes in shame, or they may even lash out at us in frustration that we can’t do more to alleviate their suffering. Service does not always come with a boatload of “warm fuzzies.” Some enter service expecting to feel the rosy glow of self-sacrifice, of playing “savior” but give up in frustration. Other volunteers fear they will not be up to the task of providing substantive material or spiritual support. Others fear becoming so emotionally involved with the families that they can barely sleep. Others fear entering a home in a reputedly dangerous neighborhood. I must admit that I have felt all of those things at one time or another.

    Still the key is to “look into their eyes” and try to see what Jesus sees in them. What must it be like to have to choose between the abusive spouse who is, practically speaking, still the breadwinner or going it alone with perhaps more physical safety but without a steady income? What must it be like to raise a handicapped child as a single mom? What must it be like to live paycheck to paycheck and then to have the car break down or the water pipes burst? What must it be like to be racially profiled? What must it be like to be raised by unsupportive parents who constantly remind you that you are not smart enough, attractive enough, worthy of love?

    The gorgeous paintings and compelling narratives in WALK WITH JESUS remind us to see our brothers and sisters through a different lens, through Jesus’ eyes.

    • Liz Forest says:

      Amen, Elaine. How easy to walk by those in need, turn off the radio, tv or news feed which portrays suffering people. The newscaster will forewarn, “Some of these images are disturbing.”
      In a large city like ours we see the poor on the streets. We don’t know their stories but like you describe, there are many reasons why they are in need.
      There’s a Rescue Mission that has small cards to carry with info about the mission services. These can be given to someone needing a place to go. I don’t want to open my wallet on the street, but I can give the person a gift card for a local eatery. Yes, looking into the eyes of the person and promising to pray for him/her is a good way to remind us that we are all created by God’s goodness.

  8. Chris Hoffman says:

    In chapter one we are peering through a window and see a man behind bars imprisoned. He is starved and marginalized from the companionship of his community of friends and family. He is alone.

    This aloneness resulting in a hunger is a place that that is not invisible to God. We need such hunger in our own lives. From this place of hunger, not being full we search for God and he fills us. Mary in her song tells us the same when we read from Luke 1:53 the following:

    “He (God) has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.”

    The parenthesis are mine. This verse speaks so much more than mere monetary wealth when it speaks of riches. It speaks to our hearts capacity for yearning for more of God than what he has already provided. When we are hungry and searching he will fill us with the gift of his presence satisfying our hunger. However, when we think we know all there is to know and are full where we set our searching aside what God has blessed us with his presence slips away from our awareness. God is always there whether we are hungry or full but our awareness of his presence is enhanced in our hunger.

    Henri Nouwen speaks to this filling on page ten:

    “The truth of which Jesus speaks is not a thesis, or a doctrine, or an intellectual explanation of reality. It is the very relationship, the life-giving intimacy between himself and the Father of which he wants us to partake.”

    And as God fills us Henri encourages us not to consider the fullness as an end inself but that life is a series of emptiness and fullness as we remain on a pilgrimage in our heart. He shares with us on page 11:

    “I hunger for the truth, for that communion with God that Jesus lived. But every time that hunger is satisfied, I will be condemned again and given a heavy cross to bear”.

    Thank you God for you abundant care in pursuing us in such a fashion creating a consistent hunger in our desire to search for more of you than what we already have.

    • Liz Forest says:

      Page 10 resonated with me as it did with you, Chris. Thanks for jogging my mind! I wondered if Pilate had actually taken time to have a deeper dialogue with Christ, would he have understood? Was it because his heartwas hardened, he could not imagine why this nobody would be able to cure, attract crowds, feed them and read Scripture in the temple, explaining the meaning. Could he have given Christ more time in a private setting or was his next consul luncheon meeting making him anxious to wrap this inquiry up fast?
      It’s all about my relationship with God, says Henri when he speaks of the truth Jesus knows. I can know all theology, understand doctrines, and even process intellectually the prevalent contemporize morals. Yet what matters most is filling my heart with God’s love until that love overflows to others.
      Henri call this living love a filling and an emptiness.(Page 11)
      How to keep the infilling…the flow of Divine Love…be in step with the Divine Dance of the Trinity?(Title of book by Richard Rohr)? I renew my belief in God’s unconditional love for me; I act upon that and walk with Jesus on the Calvary road. Not always easy, sometimes frightful, often dark!

      • Chris Hoffman says:

        Liz,
        Not sure if Pilate’s heart was hardened as Pharoah’s. He possessed a concern that the requests of the religious leaders had no warrant for Jesus’ death. He acquiesced to their demands against his better judgement. Most likely he may have been motivated to keeping the peace in Jerusalem in order not incur the wrath from Rome. Scripture informs us as to how God draws us to him. Without such drawing we continue in our lives without God’s presence near to us if we do not respond to his drawing. Perhaps Pilate didn’t recognize God’s drawing or if he did the distractions of his life entangled him to the extent that he was unable to step towards God.

  9. Chris Hoffman says:

    In the Introduction on page four Henri Nouwen tells us:

    “The God of Creation is the same God who sent him to announce good news to the poor, sight to the blind, and freedom to the prisoners.”

    The song Amazing Grace tells us “ I once was blind but now I see”.

    These words confront me as to my relationships with people I meet. How do I see them? Do I see them with the distractions of the world embedded in them and since their distractions may run counter to my sensibilities? I think God encourages us to not judge others based on where we may be or may not be in our relationship with Him. Instead, with compassion and generosity we recognize the poverty, the blindness, and the prisons which confines people to a life not experiencing the fullness of God and care for them in a manner which lifts them from their confinements. Jesus laid it all down to show us his undeserved generous love. This is our path also.

  10. Chris Hoffman says:

    I appreciate the windows throughout this book. There is a definite purpose in Henri Nouwen walking us to the windows so we are able to view outside into the expanse of God’s love which surrounds us. Without the windows we may draw inward and focus on our challenges. We may be found in a place in our lives where we love Jesus yet don’t realize how near he is to us. Looking beyond ourselves through the window we soar to heights even though we walk through the calamity of our world. We are filled with an understanding that Jesus in us is our hope.

    Henri Nouwen says in the preface on page xi:

    “There is, indeed, no pain or human joy that Jesus has not taken into himself. And because of this we are enabled to see our world through the window of the cross, to face terrible reality of human sorrow while not giving into despair.”

    For me I am encouraged by these words to allow all of my expectations to be channeled through the Cross. A place of death. What I hold dear needs to be buried at the cross. If a societal expectation I hold dear is not appreciated by others in our world I need to lay it at the cross. If any political persuasion that I hold as being right which is not appreciated by others I need to place it at the cross. It is in doing this that God allows our despair to be replaced by joy as he brings us through the windows.

    • Ann F says:

      Today, while attending church service, I looked up at the crucifix and was reminded of a past practice during lent of leaving issues such as fear at the cross. The above comment reminded me of that practice once again….leaving these painful issues and “not taking them back” is key for me and something I work on always.

  11. Marge says:

    What happens “when the subject is no longer newsworthy and remains hidden from the eyes of the world”? Certainly, not thinking in terms of persons being subjects, but I do get that the big attention grabbers often receive, while the deeper needs of those hidden from the world’s eyes are overlooked. Reminds me of a Natalie Sleethe song, “In the bulb there is a flower, in the seed an apple tree, in cocoons a hidden promise, butterflies will soon be free…in the cold and snow of winter there’s a spring that waits to be…unrevealed until it’s season, something God alone can see”. Today, looking beyond the surface…allowing another’s loneliness to look like my own, perhaps offering a way without being in the way….m

    • Liz Forest says:

      Thanks for sharing this song called “Hymn of Promise” which is new to me. Many good deeds go unnoticed and many needs go unmet. There is a weekly feature on one TV station called “Changemakers” which highlights the good an individual has done.
      Hear the song https://youtu.be/8RHek8k5WoY

    • Chris Hoffman says:

      Marge,

      I appreciate your words of lives and events not noticeable to the world and the song you referenced. Their is so much importance found in them. As we rest in them our perspective of events external to us is altered. We begin to see with new eyes and hear with new ears. I am mindful of St. Paul’s words from I Thessalonians 4:11-12:

      “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and that you will not be dependent on anybody.”

      And this quote compliments this passage:

      “In its gathered, visible form in the granary, seed is useless. To serve the purpose for which it exists, it must be scattered. It disappears into the soil and literally dies. When seed is doing the work for which it was intended, it is invisible.” — Gordon W. Lathrop

      I think what you may be saying is that our significance is not found in the passing of the world before us and it’s lack of recognition of who we are. I like this. I like the quiet life where God nourishes us as invisible seed to be scattered in the earth, unrecognizable yet full of life that God matures into a new life we may never see or participate in while on this earth.

  12. Liz Forest says:

    While waiting for my book to arrive at my local library, I found a video of Pilate questioning Jesus and then handing him over to the people. What is truth? seems like something we could ask today as we are bombarded with media that often sends out biased or even fake news. How important to know the source! We can rely on Jesus’ truth based on the life he lived and the death he accepted and his risen presence seen by hundreds of witnesses. How do I filter out the outside noise of information? My living the Calvary road daily is a walk that I can do only if Jesus companions me. “Be a light unto my path; a lamp for my feet.” Psalm 119
    The video is at https://www.lds.org/bible-videos/videos/jesus-is-condemned-before-pilate?lang=eng

    • Chris Hoffman says:

      In my Bible part of this conversation from the video has been underlined for a very long time and when I have changed Bibles I underline it in the new one.

      “Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

      I like coupling the above verse with Romans 14:17 as follows:

      “For the kingdom of God is (not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy) in the Holy Spirit.”

      The parenthesis are mine. I have learned that the parenthesis fit well into the way this verse is written. And that a reading of “For the kingdom of God is in the Holy Spirit” is a reading to consider.

      God constantly brings to me that His kingdom is buried deep in my heart. And it is there that I need to be rooted in. It is easy to focus our gaze outward and look for sustenance and identity which cannot satisfy us to the extent that residing with Jesus in our heart is able to do so. Anchoring our lives where Jesus resides in our heart allows us not to remain in a state of exhaustion, anxiety, agitation, despair and reaction as we face life unfolding in front of our eyes.

      Thank you for sharing this video.

  13. Patricia Hesse says:

    In “Jesus is Condemned,” Henri writes… “He is condemned to death…is put in the category of the ‘damned’…no longer considered worthy to live.. become the enemy… the rebel, the outsider, a danger to society…has to be put away, cut out of the communal life…Why? Because he is different.”

    Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor whose memoirs have been read by millions, wrote: “The principle that governs the biblical vision of society is, ‘Thou shall not stand idly by when your fellow man is hurting, suffering, or being victimized. It is because that injunction was ignored or violated that the catastrophe involving such multitudes occurred. The victims perished not only because of the killers, but also because of the apathy of the bystanders. Those who perished were victims of Nazism and of society – though to different degrees. What astonished us after the torment, after the tempest, was not that so many killers killed so many victims, but that so few cared about us at all.” (Elie Wiesel)

    Those words are haunting. I am forced to acknowledge that NOT doing anything to help is just as deliberate a decision as being a perpetrator. I see struggle and hurting all around me. Dear Lord, help me remember Wiesel’s words and see my Savior’s passion. Help me to see the faces of those I dearly love in the faces of those I choose to ignore. Help me to see your face, and not excuse my excuses.

    • Patricia,

      I so appreciate your offering here. Particularly referencing Elie Wiesel. I’m an advocate for sexual abuse victims and the stories I hear over and over is how as children even their parents did not say what they saw. To your point people who saw what was happening stand “idly by” and children are majestically broken because of the “apathy of the bystanders.” That point was made clear in Gayle King’s recent interview this past week with R. Kelly. So the point you make happens everyday in our society and in our churches.

      Thank you for this profound insight, Patricia.

      Beverly

    • Liz Forest says:

      He is different? The idea of being different strikes me as being related to counter-cultural. Jesus was different by the way he lived. Not residing in a richly decorated stone mansion like Pilate’s. Not wearing fancy silk clothing. Not saying the same old things the religious leaders then were spouting. He lived a life of a poor person, a wanderer, walking long distances or travelling on boat. He spoke words of compassion and justice. He worked miracles. He spent time with a rag-tag bunch of guys and several caring women. He made his presence known not by costly sacrificial offerings but by reading Scripture from the Biblical scrolls in the temple. He told truth by parables that contained stinging messages. The officials were threatened by his ability to attract crowds. They decided to kill the messenger but they could not kill his message!

  14. Joe says:

    I walk with Jesus, but only when I choose to. I walk with Jesus is just like a hobby for me. I walk with Jesus as sort of a hint that I want to be like him. Because of my blessings that He has granted me has offered me the choice to not walk with him all the time. And when I don’t walk with him I choose to complain about my neighbors who may or may not be walking with Jesus. Sometimes I feel like my neighbors are more of an annoyance than an opportunity to continue the journey and walk with Jesus. So many people are walking, so many people simply don’t care and so many people don’t know. So here I sit, or lay in comfort, while “they” walk. I have the choice but they don’t. When will I learn that to serve is to walk? When will I learn to how to take my own cross and walk?

    • Patricia Hesse says:

      I find great insight in the word “choice” and “choose” that you address. So true. Perhaps living a life where walking with Jesus is a choice is, in many ways, a curse. At some point in time, our circumstances strip us of choice –our eyes are opened, and in our silence we are brought low and truly know… We’ve all been there and will be there again.

  15. Laurie Best Silva says:

    Hello, my name is Laurie Best Silva. I live in a small town in Northern Vermont with my husband and son. I am a mother of four (three out-of the house girls and a teenage son) and our oldest daughter has two children and one on the way. I am a ski instructor and a I love to work in the local schools as a soccer coach and a substitute teacher (I taught Elementary School until we had our third child). My husband and I like to work together with kids and teenagers as he is a coach as well. I work with my friends in a homeless ministry in a nearby city. I have learned so much from Henri Nouwen. I have followed your Advent and Lent discussion for the past two years. Thank you so much. God bless you all.

  16. Ray Glennon says:

    From Carol K
    I live in Maine, semi-retired, but still run several seasonal businesses, as well as volunteer work. I feel particularly needful of nouwen’s insights and subsequent spiritual growth as I start on my own writing venture.
    I first discovered nouwen twelve years ago, via return of prodigal son. I did a Lenten retreat with you several years ago and do look forward to this one, though historically, it’s been difficult to to stay somewhat abreast of the readings/thoughts, let alone comment on the topics.

  17. Ray Glennon says:

    From PJ
    I am PJ, a hospice home care and bereavement social worker in Michigan. I learned of Henri Nouwen from a hospice chaplain over 25 years ago. After reading the devotional she provided, I read many more. However I haven’t returned to a book by Henri for many years; only daily snippets. It’s time to review and relearn. I’m looking forward to this Lenten series.rom PJ

  18. Phyllis Hepp says:

    So to carry my own cross is to follow the example of Jesus and – like the man imprisoned and the man carrying wood – give up my personal ambitions (to die to them), instead living and dying in service to God.

    Some parts of my life are well aligned with service to God and others. But there’s plenty that I do, deliberately or thoughtlessly, that puts myself before God & others. How to change that – how to follow Jesus, what to do or not do – requires daily discernment and obedience. Kinda tricky in my North American culture – or maybe not that tricky. Just difficult.

  19. Henri’s language and memories of seeing people walking on the “dusty roads of Boliva, Peru, and Guatemala” made my heart leap remembering two men I watch walk on a busy city street. Both make several passes by the coffee shop window I sit in every Saturday.

    One is engaged and intentional; walking with what looks like a shepherd’s crook. The other is meandering, smiling at others and talking to himself. Both walk the same streets recusively and reclusively circling like a labyrinth. Both seem homeless, and “carrying heavy burdens trying to survive” (Kindle Ed: St 1, p2).

    I’m always gripped by these men and turn my gaze toward them when they walk by. It seems right to turn toward tham because they serve as witnesses to me of the solidarity Henri speaks of (Kindle Ed: St 1, p8). Holding their gaze, looking them in the eye I know we are not unlike. But equal in God’s eyes and three Beloved.

    Beverly

  20. Caroline Hill says:

    Greetings from western Canada. I have been so looking forward to this time of Lent where I can sit with Henri and learn how to walk with my Lord. Then from the very beginning in the introduction when Henri talks about the people walking along the road while he drove by in a car I was moved. I realized just how far I was removed from the lives of the poor and marginalized. How sheltered my life has been even though I would not consider myself rich I am not poor either. I need to honestly learn to pray to open my heart to understand and love theses people just as Jesus does

  21. Ray Glennon says:

    From Janet Edwards
    Hi, my name is Janet Edwards and I live near Asheville, NC. I have been receiving the Henri Nouwen emails for years. I think the first book I read was The Return of the Prodigal Son and I have participated in these online discussions before. His writings about how we are God’s Beloved really enrich me spiritually and I hope to grow closer to God during this study.

    I am a retired pre-k kindergarten teacher. My husband and I enjoy spending time with our young grandchildren who live nearby. I am seeking to be a spiritual mentor to them as my grandmother was to me. I am also an oblate of St. Meinrad Archabbey and serve on the healing prayer team and help with the Food Pantry at Calvary Episcopal Church.

  22. Brenda says:

    I find that the more I belong to God, the more I retreat from the world. I see a lot of it as frivolous waste of time. The worldly things I used to enjoy, just don’t amuse me anymore. The more I seek God, the more I want to seek Him. My relationship with our Blessed Mother has deepened my need for Jesus. As I walk through this Lenten season, I need more of Jesus and my sharing in his pain and sorrow are the way to get it.

  23. Ray Glennon says:

    From Cel
    Time got away from me and I never did my introduction. Better late than never, I guess. I’m in northern Wyoming. My Lent began early when I woke up Monday with no water. A lot of people are having that trouble due to our long, cold winter, and it took the plumber almost a day and a half to first get here and then find the problem and fix it. In between shoveling snow, I did read the introduction and, as usual, enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to this book, one of many of Henri’s that I have benefited for since the 80’s. I was Director of Religious Education in our parish for 23 years and am now retired. I continue to lead our Bereavement Ministry, which I began during my tenure as DRE and which has been active for about 27 years now. For enrichment, we read and discuss a segment of one of Henri’s books at our monthly meetings. Currently we are working through “A Sorrow Shared”. I have done several of these studies and am looking forward to the wisdom people so generously share.

  24. Ray Glennon says:

    From Suellen Nelson
    Hello
    My name is Suellen and I live in Beacon, New York. I am a Physician Assistant for over 35 years presently working in Dermatology. I hope to retire this year. I have read Henry for many years but much more since major back surgery 2 1/2 years ago that resulted in severe pain for many months. His daily emails get me through many days of chronic pain. I have not done one of these online discussions before so am privileged to participate. My Deacon brother and I often discuss Henri’s thoughts and ideas and I am privileged to have Henri’s spiritual wisdom in my life!

  25. Ray Glennon says:

    From Deb Gustafson
    I am Deb Gustafson and have participated in many of the online Advent & Lent studies. I am a retired teacher from North Carolina currently working part time mentoring new teachers and am waiting on the book to arrive! As soon as it makes its way into my hands, I will join you in the discussion.

  26. Marge says:

    Simply, for today, “He (Jesus) knows because He walks so much and feels in His own body the harshness and the vitality of the seasons.” p. 4 Both, harshness/vitality, together moving me to fall in step with Jesus, in the company of others. Reminds me of a quote shared this past week by a good friend…”Stagger onward, rejoicing” W.H. Auden…..can it be? will it be? Taking first steps, trustingly……

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