Listenings: A Time for Review

I realize that not everyone who follows Oboedire has the various texts in hand as we move through them on different days.  I know that will be the case for some of you as we spend our Mondays on Nouwen’s Spiritual Formation. 

We have come to the end of the first chapter: “From Opaqueness to Transparency,” which is itself one of three chapters under the larger category of early movements in spiritual formation.  Henri Nouwen believed that we should seek to cleanse our minds and open our hearts, so we could then receive God’s truth, beauty, and wisdom (p. 13).

Furthermore, he believed that the movement from opaqueness to transparency was a responsive endeavor—an engagement of our will in response to grace.

I like the fact that Henri’s editors (Michael Christensen and Rebecca Laird), who knew Henri very well, have chosen to end each chapter with some exercises to facilitate the kind of formation Nouwen wrote about.  I want to honor that commitment by Michael and Rebecca (whom Jeannie and I have known for a long time) by bringing each Oboedire segment to a conclusion through the use of one of those exercises.  I know that some of you will not have the book in hand, so I want to give you the same opportunity as those who do have it…..

Consider bringing this segment of early formative movement (from opaqueness to transparency) to an end by imagining your life as a cup overfull with opinions, ideas, and activities.  Make a list of the many distractions that you might want to ask God prayerfully to remove in order to make room for a wider view of your life in God’s world (p. 14)

And if you have the book, don’t omit the “visio divina” exercises which are also part of the end of each chapter.  Nouwen joined with the saints of the ages in believing that the eye-gate was a “window” into the soul.  So, allow yourself the blessing and benefit of each “visio divina” experience offered in the book.

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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