Helping our Hiddenness

Henri Nouwen Society - Daily Meditation

The Henri Nouwen Society send out daily snippets from his work each day, which often scratch where I itch. Perhaps as a paid-up introvert this one was always going to do that – but in fact, surely we all have our hiddennesses that need to be nurtured. And clergy especially, who spend so much time in the public eye and share so much of themselves, need to take especial care. Help and encouragement to do that (by e.g. giving permission and support to take a retreat) can be very special. I remember one time when I was totally shattered and the churchwardens ganged up with Jean to do just that. A life-saver. Here’s the Henri Nouwen piece:

Protecting Our Hiddenness – from Henri Nouwen’s Bread for the Journey
If indeed the spiritual life is essentially a hidden life, how do we protect this hiddenness in the midst of a very public life?   The two most important ways to protect our hiddenness are solitude and poverty.  Solitude allows us to be alone with God.  There we experience that we belong not to people, not even to those who love us and care for us, but to God and God alone.  Poverty is where we experience our own and other people’s weakness, limitations, and need for support.  To be poor is to be without success, without fame, and without power.  But there God chooses to show us God’s love.
Both solitude and poverty protect the hiddenness of our lives.
- Henri J. M. Nouwen
For further reflection…
“One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.  When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them…” – Luke 6: 12,13 (NIV)


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Text excerpts taken from Bread for the Journey, by Henri J.M. Nouwen, ©1997 HarperSanFrancisco. All Scripture from The Jerusalem Bible ©1966, 1967, and 1968 Darton, Longman & Todd and Doubleday & Co. Inc. Photo by V. Dobson. Scripture chosen by L. Yeskoo.