Listenings: The Essence of It All

We are finding the richness of the opening pages of Nouwen’s book.  We are in no hurry to move on.  In fact, this week, I just want to post what I believe is a key sentence in the book, and a key understanding of the spiritual life we’re exploring.

We never escape the temptation to categorize and compartmentalize the spiritual life.  But Nouwen will not let us do that, even while he seeks to help us prioritize it….

“Spiritual formation requires taking an inward journey to the heart.  Although this journey takes place in community and leads to service, the first task is to look within, reflect on our daily life, and seek God and God’s activity right there” (p. xix).

I like to think of it this way.  God is the divine writer of all our formation. The revelation we receive from God in Scripture and Tradition is like the ink which becomes the words God intends to instruct and shape us.  Our lives are the paper upon which the words are written.  Ink cannot stay in the pen.  The paper cannot remain blank.  God’s “literature” is only written when the ink and the paper come together, under the wise and moving hand of the Author.

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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