Nouwen ends Chapter One with the reminder that the “transparency” and “transformation” which we receive in contemplative prayer is intended not only to shape us into greater conformity to Christ, but also send us into the world to make him known.
The clarification we receive in prayer, becomes a message (in word and deed) that shows the way to others. With eyes and ears now opened to see and hear, we now proclaim to others what we have seen and heard (p. 13).
To “proclaim” means that there is a claim to make, and we are making it. It is much more than preaching or teaching; it is becoming what Nouwen called in another book, “a living reminder.”
In our current text, he describes it as the opportunity to share with others this message: “You are a much more loving person than you realize. There is something more beautiful in nature than you may see. There is something more happening in your life than you might think, or be able to see right now” (p.13).
Essentially, this means we are agents of hope, for hope is the ability to see beyond the assessments of a fallen world or an unsurrendered ego—the ability to “believe” that there is a defining and transforming Reality beyond what we may currently think of ourselves and our situation. We become missionaries of hope, no matter where we live or how we work.