Reflection of the Week - 6th December 2022

By Henry Nouwen

Posted in Faith

‘Nobody is so poor that he/she has nothing to give, and nobody is so rich that he/she has nothing to receive.’ These words by Pope John-Paul II, offer a powerful direction for all who want to work for peace. No peace is thinkable as long as the world remains divided into two groups: those who give and those who receive. Real human dignity is found in giving as well as receiving. This is true not only for individuals but for nations, cultures, and religious communities as well.

A true vision of peace sees a continuous mutuality between giving and receiving. Let’s never give anything without asking ourselves what we are receiving from those to whom we give, and let’s never receive anything without asking what we have to give to those from whom we receive.

‘As surely as the Lord lives,’ she replied, ‘I don't have any bread --- only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it --- and die.’ Elijah said to her, ‘Don't be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small cake of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: “The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord gives rain on the land.”' So she went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah. - I Kings 17: 12 - 15 (NIV).

Source: The Dignity to Give and Receive - Henri Nouwen

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