It has been sometime since I picked up a book for my own enjoyment. The last book I remember reading (in part) was John Eldredge’s book, Wild at Heart. I still plan to finish it – for it is a great book! It’s not that I haven’t been reading, in fact, I have never read so many books in my life, but all of the books have been associated with my doctoral studies and/or used for class preparation at ESEPA where I teach. But anyway, I actually snuck a book off of my colleagues shelf (Gracias Osias – I promise I will return it) called Wounded Prophet: A Portrait of Henri J.M. Nouwen by Michael Ford. I have long been a fan of the Catholic writer Henri Nouwen for his transparency and authentic spirituality. In fact, his journal entitled Gracias, is on my all time book list I keep in my head, not to mention it’s influence on my ministry in Latin America. Another tremendous book written by Nouwen is: In the Name of Jesus. It is well known that Nouwen left behind a prestigious academic position at YALE to work with those mentally challenged at the L’Arche daybreak community in Toronto, Canada. That in itself is reason enough to pick up one of his books. I guess I turned to the book out of a search for something deeper to encourage my own spiritual life. While I have thoroughly enjoyed my studies on empowerment and street children in Latin America, I have neglected reading books that truly nurture my soul. What I have found, thus far in the Wounded Prophet is a man concerned with authentic Christian spirituality despite feelings of isolation and loneliness. Nouwen was a man plagued with hurt and doubt, yet still able to inspire the multitudes that have poured through the pages written by him. Here is a quote from Nouwen worth mulling over…
“There is within you a lamb and a lion. Spiritual maturity is the ability to let lamb and lion lay down together. Your lion is your adult, aggressive self. It is your initiative-taking and decision making self. But there is also your fearful, vulnerable lamb, the part of you that needs affection, support, affirmation and nurturing. . . . the art of spiritual living is to fully claim both your lion and your lamb. Then you can ask for affection and care without betraying your talent to offer leadership.”
Fr0m the Inner Voice of Love, by Nouwen.
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