Reflection of the Week - 5th September 2023

By Henri Nouwen

Posted in Faith

The older we become, the more we realise how limited we are in our ability to love, how impure our hearts are, and how complex our motivations are. And there is a real temptation to want to look inside of ourselves and clean it all out, and become people with a pure heart, unstained intentions, and unconditional love.

Such an attempt is doomed to failure and leads us to ever greater despair. The more we look into ourselves and try to figure ourselves out, the more we become entangled in our own imperfections. Indeed, we cannot save ourselves. Only Jesus can save us.

That is why it is so important to remove your inner eye away from the complexities of your own broken heart toward the pure but broken heart of Jesus. Looking at him and his immense mercy will give you the ability to accept your own imperfections and to really let yourself be cared for by the mercy and love of Jesus.

I remember how Thomas Merton once wrote: ‘God is mercy in mercy in mercy.’

This means that the more we come to know ourselves, the more we come to know God’s mercy, which is beyond the mercy we know. Letting go of the desire to be perfect lovers, and allowing God to love our people through us, that is the great spiritual call that is given to you and to me. There in the pure heart of God, embraced by his unconditional love, you will find the true joy and peace your heart is longing for.

‘The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.’
Matthew 13: 44 (NIV)


Henri Nouwen,

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Reflection of the Week - 12th September 2023

From whom do you need forgiveness? What have you done? Have you hurt someone you love? Does the guilt or shame gnaw at you? Have you caused pain and anguish? Are you trapped in the wreckage of your actions with no visible means of escape?


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