Monday, April 4, 2011

A Henri Nouwen Quote to Start Your Week Right

Sunday's reading from Henri Nouwen's Show Me the Way:  Readings for Each Day of Lent really spoke to me.  I thought it might speak to you too:

"Secularity is a way of being dependent on the responses of our milieu.  The secular or false self is the self which is fabricated, as Thomas Merton says, by social compulsions.  'Compulsive' is indeed the best adjective for the false self.  It points to the need for ongoing and increasing affirmation.  Who am I?  I am the one who is liked, praised, admired, disliked, hated, or despised.  . . .  The compulsion manifests itself in the lurking fear of failing and the steady urge to prevent this by gathering more of the same--more work, more money, more friends.

These very compulsions are at the basis of the two main enemies of the spiritual life:  anger and greed.  They are the inner side of a secular life, the sour fruits of our worldly dependencies." (p. 81; quote originally appeared in Nouwen's Way of the Heart).

1 comment:

Norma said...

Liberation theology doesn't say anything to me, but it does whisper marxism. Henri Nouwen's writing was the subject of our advent readings (Lutheran church), and I must say I've never read anything that said so little. Give me Luther any day for real freedom, real faith, real Jesus.