Reading: Letters from Dec. 29, 1973 to Don and Claude (page 7) through Feb. 26, 1982 to Jim and Cindy (page 60)
A very warm welcome to our first week of discussion. Thank you to all who took the time to introduce yourself last week, and we also gratefully acknowledge those who are following along silently. We are excited to finally dive into the letters this week.
1. As mentioned in the Preface, in many ways these letters represent Henri’s invitation to all of us, to move from the house of fear to the house of love by living a spiritual life, praying at all times, and thus breathing God’s breath.
a) As you consider your daily experience in life, in what ways do you find yourself living in the house of fear?
b) As you read over the letters Henri wrote, what specific words or instructions stand out to you to help you make the journey into the house of God’s love?
2. In the letter written to “George” on August 11, 1981 (page 45) Henri responds to a question about our whether our world will survive the present difficult times. Henri re-frames the question and instead asks “if we can continue to live with hope?” regardless of the circumstances of our world. He suggests the answer is affirmative because “our Lord has given us his promise.” He then challenges us to avoid the temptation to despair by deepening our awareness of God.
a) How do you see these words of Henri applying to our world 35 years later?
b) How do you deepen your awareness of God and avoid despair?
3. In the letter written to “Mike and Pat” on October 6, 1981 (p51) Henri wrote of the centrality of the sacramental presence of Jesus in the Eucharist to his life as a Catholic.
a) Based on this letter, what do you understand Henri to mean when he says “the Christ life [is] something radically different form a life inspired by the ideas and stories about Jesus.”
b) Regardless of denomination / background – how can each of us live a “Christ life” day by day?
4. Generally speaking, these letters reflect the way Henri cared for people around him, often by sharing from the heart his own experiences.
a) In this set of letters, does anything inspire you or stand out to you about the way that Henri cares for others, and responds to their life experiences?
As is always the case, please feel free to reflect on whatever stands out to you from the reading. These questions are only meant to provide us a starting point to the discussion.
Looking forward to hearing from each of you,
Ray and Brynn