Reflection of the Week - 19th September 2023

By Henri Nouwen

Posted in Faith

Facing our Mortality

To befriend death, we must claim that we are children of God, sisters and brothers of all people, and parents of generations yet to come. In so doing, we liberate our death from its absurdity and make it the gateway to a new life.

In our society, in which childhood is something to grow away from, in which wars and ethnic conflicts constantly mock brotherhood and sisterhood among people, and in which the greatest emphasis is on succeeding in the few years we have, it hardly seems possible that death could be a gateway to anything.

Still, Jesus has opened this way for us. When we choose his way to live and die, we can face our death with the mocking question of the apostle Paul: ‘Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting?’ (1 Corinthians 15:55). This is a choice, but a hard choice.

The powers of darkness that surround us are strong and easily tempt us to let our fear of death rule our thoughts, words, and actions.

But can we choose to befriend our death as Jesus did? We can choose to live as God’s beloved children in solidarity with all people, trusting in our ultimate fruitfulness. And in so doing, we can also become people who care for others. As men and women who have faced our mortality, we can help our brothers and sisters to dispel the darkness of death and guide them toward the light of God’s grace.


Henri Nouwen Society,

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Reflection of the Week - 12th September 2023

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