Mar 7th to 13th: Lent Week 3 – Henri’s Birthday, Adam, and Community

Reading: January 13 to March 14, pages 87 to 126

I’ve come to see with a clarity I never had before that Adam was the living
Christ among us. Where else did we have to go to be with the man
of sorrow and the man of joy? Where else did we
have to look for the presence of God? p. 109

It has been another week of thoughtful, rich, and spirit-filled sharing. Thanks to everyone on our journey–those posting and those reading along. There were a number of wonderful comments posted on Saturday. If you have not read them, you are encouraged to do so by following the link in the Recent Posts section in the right hand column or by clicking here.

The central event in this two month period is the death of Henri’s beloved friend Adam Arnett of whom Henri writes, “Our relationship has had such a deep impact on my life journey.” (p. 107) We see Henri simultaneously grieving the loss of his dear friend and consoling the members of the community at Daybreak as their pastor. Henri’s journal reflections became the core of the book Adam: God’s Beloved that he began writing shortly after Adam’s death. Henri had the book outlined and largely written when he died unexpectedly seven months later. The book was finished by Sr. Sue Mosteller based on Henri’s notes.

Bracketing Adam’s death in mid-February were Henri’s 64th (and last) birthday on January 24th and his promising meeting with his new friend and potential editor Jim in early March about the Rodleigh’s and the writing of the “trapeze book.” About his birthday Henri wrote, “This was probably the most quiet birthday of my life. But I will always remember it as the most peaceful.” (p. 94) Jim challenged Henri to write the trapeze book saying, “Yes, it feels risky, and it is difficult, but you have no choice.” Jim said the book should be “About community in the most universal sense. Through the Rodleigh’s story you can express the longing of all people. . . It all has to do with community. And that’s your final subject.” (p. 122). The trapeze book remained unwritten at Henri’s death. Our reading this week also includes entries on Prague, Lent, and coping with depression.

Last week Beverly said that she found the suggested reflection process below to be helpful. Giving credit where it is due, this process is adapted from the one that former Henri Nouwen book discussion moderator Brynn Lawrence developed for use during the Advent 2015 discussion of Henri’s The Inner Voice of Love–the Winnipeg journal that he was working on during his sabbatical.

  1. Select a few journal entries that stand out to you, and read them thoroughly, perhaps several times. In your careful reading and reflection, consider:
    1. The experience, thought, or concept that stands out to you
    2. How does it relates to your personal experience?  Look at your experience with the benefit of Henri’s insight.  Does that help you to see things differently or to know yourself better?
    3. What is God speaking to your heart through Henri’s experience and words? How have you been touched, inspired, challenged, and comforted on your spiritual journey.
    4. How you will respond?  Carefully (prayerfully) consider how your heart responds to the insights you gained. Are there small steps you can take to incorporate these insights and to move toward spiritual freedom in your life?  What changes will you make?
  2. Please share your reflection and insights with the group to the degree you are comfortable.

There’s much to reflect on as we reach the midpoint of our Lenten journey. We look forward to hearing from many of you. Please share whatever is on your heart. Be blessed and be well.

May the Lord give you peace.