Sunday, March 14th, 2021
Welcome friends to the Fourth Sunday of Lent 2021! Today I will be sharing from Henri Nouwen, Thomas Merton and some of my own thoughts about the heart of things. Please bear with me as I begin this post with some direct quotes from Henri Nouwen and a couple of word definitions.
💜 1 Samuel 16:7 💜
“God does not see as human beings see; they look at appearances but Yahweh looks at the heart.”
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.(1)
COMPULSION: an irresistible persistent impulse to perform an act; the act itself
SOCIAL: of, relating to, or based on rank or status
Who am I? I am the one who is liked, praised, admired, disliked, hated, or despised.(2)
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.(3)
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.(4)
Solitude is the furnace of transformation. Without solitude we remain victims of our society and continue to be entangled in the illusions of the false self. (5)
Our heart is at the center of our being human. There our deepest thoughts, intuitions, emotions, and decisions find their source. But it’s also there that we are often most alienated from ourselves. We know little or nothing of our own heart. We keep our distance, as though we were afraid of it. What is most intimate is also what frightens us most. Where we are most ourselves, we are often strangers to ourselves. That is the painful part of our being human. We fail to know our hidden center; and so we live and die often without knowing who we really are. If we ask ourselves why we think, feel, and act in such and such a way, we often have no answer, thus proving to be strangers in our own house.(6)
The heart is the very center of both our physical life and our spiritual life.
Our physical heart is at the center of our circulatory system, which is a network of blood vessels that delivers blood to every part of our bodies. Blood carries oxygen and other important nutrients that all our organs need to stay healthy and to work properly.
Our spiritual heart nourishes the soul and provides understanding and illumination to us in the form of intuition through which God interacts with us.
The greatest piece of advice I want to share with you is this…take the time to know yourself. It is so easy to fall prey to the false images of ourselves. I can tell you from experience that living a life that is someone else’s idea of who you are; is an empty and lonely existence. Do not pretend to be someone or something you are not. I have traveled through a season or two of my life seeking the approval of others, only to find it superficial and meaningless. I have tried being who I thought others wanted me to be and it felt just awful. It has taken some time, patience and self acceptance but if God created me with purpose and intention who am I to question him. I accept that not everyone will like me or see my worthiness and that’s ok, I know God loves me and has blessed me with some really incredible friends. Friends who love me for who I am, not for the car I drive, what school I graduated from, the clothes I wear, etc…
Just as our physical bodies need balanced nutrition, our spiritual lives, our souls needs proper nutrition too. We can feed our soul in so many wonderful ways, such as reading our Bibles, attending Bible studies, going to Church, sharing our faith with friends, family and even strangers. We can smile, open doors (literally/metaphorically), pray, take pictures, walk through a park observing God’s creation, etc… Don’t you see that God is ever present in all we do, we need only to open the eyes our hearts to see him.
You are relevant, spectacular and powerful; no matter what the world says because you are a child of God and he loves you with an everlasting love.
Do not be a stranger to yourself, seek to be your authentic self. Love and embrace your uniqueness. Invite Jesus into your heart and place your trust in him. Lord, open the eyes of our hearts so that we will see you. 💟
Lenten M•I•C•R•O Practice for today:
~ Silence – Sunday 4
Find a quiet place, close your eyes and let your thoughts go. As that come to you, imagine that they are floating by you on a river. Let them go.
~ Prayer ~
your eternal word is the true light
that enlightens every human being
Heal the blindness of our hearts,
that we may discern what is right
and love you sincerely.
~Charlotte, the Seeker of unexpected Comfort, Happiness, Joy and Patience.
Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing
(1) Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing • Page 81,paragraph 1.
(2) Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing • Page 81, paragraph 1.
(3) Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing • Page 81, paragraph 1.
(4) Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing • Page 81, paragraph 2.
(5) Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing • Page 81-82, paragraph 4 and 1 respectively.
(6) Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing • Page 82, paragraph 2.
(NIV) New International Version Bible/Translation
(NRSVA) New Revised Standard Version Apocrypha
(NJBV) New Jerusalem Bible Version/Translation