‘Here and Now’ Living in the Spirit, by Henri Nouwen. (published by D.L.T.)
This is a slim volume of meditations by Nouwen, a Dutch Catholic Priest, who, after twenty years of teaching in the Netherlands and the United States, went to share his life with people with mental disabilities as pastor of th L’Arche Daybreak Community in Toronto Canada.
Here is a taster for you: ‘The Blessings from the Poor’
Jean Vanier, founder of the ‘LArche Community’ has remarked more than once that Jesus did not say: ‘ Blessed are those who care for the poor.’ but ‘Blessed are the poor’ This simple remark gives us the key to the kingdom of God.
Most of us feel at some times that we want to do something for people in need; that we want to offer consolation to those who are in grief, or to alleviate the suffering of those who are in pain. Such a desire is noble and good – it is a grace-filled desire. But unless we understand that God’s blessing comes to us from those we want to serve, our help will be short-lived, we will soon suffer ‘burn out.’
But how is it possible to keep caring for the poor when the poor only get poorer? How is it possible to keep nursing the sick when healing will not happen, and how can one keep on consoling the dying when their death will only bring more grief and pain? The answer is that they all hold a blessing for me, a blessing that I need to receive. Ministry is about receiving God’s blessing from those to whom we minister. And what is this blessing? It is a glimpse of the face of God. Seeing God is what heaven is all about! We can see God in the face of Jesus, and we see Jesus in all those who need our care.
The mystery of Christian service lies in the following truth – those who serve Jesus in the poor will be fed by him whom they serve; ‘He will put on an apron, set them down at table and wait on them.’ (Luke 12:37)
We all need such blessing – the poor are waiting to bless us. (adapted from pp69-70 : ‘Here and Now by H Nouwen)
There are many such short, pithy, encouraging reflections and teachings contained within the covers of this little unassuming book. It is a real treasure store for your heart and spirit.