henri nouwen: reading spiritually about spiritual things

Reading often means gathering information, acquiring new insight and knowledge, and mastering a new field. It can lead us to degrees, diplomas, and certificates. Spiritual reading, however, is different. It means not simply reading about spiritual things but also reading about spiritual things in a spiritual way. That requires a willingness not just to read but to be read, not just to master but to be mastered by words. As long as we read the Bible or a spiritual book simply to acquire knowledge, our reading does not help us in our spiritual lives. We can become very knowledgeable about spiritual matters without becoming truly spiritual people.

As we read spiritually about spiritual things, we open our hearts to God’s voice. Sometimes we must be willing to put down the book we are reading and just listen to what God is saying to us through its words.

daily reflection: the bondage of resentments

. . . harboring resentment is infinitely grave. For then we shut ourselves off from the sunlight of the spirit.

— AS BILL SEES IT, p. 5

It has been said, “Anger is a luxury I cannot afford.” Does this suggest I ignore this human emotion? I believe not. Before I learned of the A.A. program, I was a slave to the behavior patterns of alcoholism. I was chained to negativity, with no hope of cutting loose.The Steps offered me an alternative. Step Four was the beginning of the end of my bondage. The process of “letting go” started with an inventory. I needed not be frightened, for the previous Steps assured me I was not alone. My Higher Power led me to this door and gave me the gift of choice. Today I can choose to open the door to freedom and rejoice in the sunlight of the Steps, as they cleanse the spirit within me.