August 2nd to August 8th: The Four Paths

Reading: No new reading.  Review and reflect across all four The Path of… essays

Friends, we are nearing the end of our challenging, inspirational, and spirit-filled summer journey together. Thanks to each of you for joining us along the way.  Our community has been enriched by your presence and participation whether you posted comments or followed along silently.

This week we take a step back, as Henri said at the outset of the first essay, to look at our world, our lives, and the four paths from “…the spiritual distance of our faith…with the eyes of  God.” (p  23)  We will consider and reflect on all four readings.  As always, please share whatever is on your mind and in your heart from any of the readings or sharing, any insights you gained during our time together,  things you will take away and incorporate into your spiritual life, or in response to this post.  To get us started, here are a few of my thoughts for your consideration followed by three reflection questions.

During our journey we have reflected on four seemingly dissimilar paths yet, from a distance, we can see that each path, if followed faithfully, is the way that will lead us home. We might find ourselves one one path under certain circumstances and a very different path when the circumstances change–either later in life or, sometimes, later that same day!  Yet even as we change paths the home to which God is calling us remains the same. If that is true, there must be some features common to each path that allows seekers to continue to find the way.

Using Henri’s three-point approach, it seems to me that the common features can be summed up in these words: weakness, community, and Jesus.  Throughout these essays Henri shows us how in our weakness we gain God’s strength and that by traveling these paths in community we strengthen each other by sharing our sorrows and joys.  Most important, Henri shows us that Jesus walked these same paths and he is here to walk with us and guide us if we but choose to follow him.  If we join with Jesus and each other on our life journey we will build the kingdom of God regardless of which path we are on at the time.  Or in the words of St. Catherine of Siena, “All the way to heaven is heaven, because Jesus said, ‘I am the way.'”

Reflection Questions
1. What are the most 2-3 most significant ideas, images, quotations, questions, or sharings that you will take away from our discussion of Finding My Way Home?

2.  Henri’s friend Sue Mosteller concludes her Introduction: “To read it is to experience what Henri would call, “finding home on the way home.” (p 15) How did reading and sharing this book help you to do just that?

3. In the final essay, Henri says, “Fruitfulness in the spiritual life is about love, and this fruitfulness is very different from success or productivity.” What have you learned that will help you live a more fruitful life on whatever path you find yourself?

A Fond Farewell
Finally, as we are concluding our summer book discussion, Maureen Wright is concluding her many years of dedicated service to the Henri Nouwen Society.  She is embarking on  the next phase of her journey  serving the Lord by assisting seniors to remain in their own homes. On behalf of all who have participated in these discussions over the years, I want to thank Maureen for her commitment, dedication, and support to those that have gathered to read and share Henri’s books and have been enriched as a result.  Thanks and Godspeed Maureen! You will be missed, but not forgotten.

I’m looking forward to another fruitful week of sharing and I hope that many of you will join us later this year for our Advent book discussion.

May the Lord give you peace and walk with you as you find your way home.