Series of little deaths…

“My deep desire to be united with God through Jesus did not spring from disdain for human relationships, but from an acute awareness of the truth that dying in Christ can be, indeed, my greatest gift to others. In this perspective, life is a long journey of preparation – of preparing oneself to truly die for others. It is a series of little deaths in which we are asked to release many forms of clinging and to move increasingly from needing others to living for them. The many passages we have to make as we grow from childhood to adolescence, from adolescence to adulthood, and from adulthood to old age offer ever-new opportunities to choose for ourselves or to choose for others. Questions keep coming up during these passages and confront us with hard choices: Do I desire power or service; do I want to be visible or remain hidden; do I strive for a successful career or do I keep following my vocation? In this sense we can speak about life as a long process of dying to self, so that we will be able to live in the joy of God and give our lives completely to others”

“I know now that the words spoken to Jesus when he was baptized are words spoken to me and to all who are brothers and sisters of Jesus. My tendencies towards self-rejection and self-deprecation make it hard to truly hear these words and let them descend into the center of my heart. But once I have received these words fully, I am set free from my compulsion to prove myself to the world and can live in it without belonging to it. Once I have accepted the truth that I am God’s beloved child, unconditionally loved, I can be sent into the world to speak and to act as Jesus did. The great spiritual task facing me is to so fully trust that I belong to God that I can be free in the world – free to speak even when my words are not received; free to act even when my actions are criticized, ridiculed or considered useless; free also to receive love from people and to be grateful for all the signs of God’s presence in the world. I am convinced that I will truly be able to love the world when I fully believe that I am loved far beyond its boundaries.”

-Henri Nouwen – “Reaching Out” (Ch5 – Recovery)

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