henri nouwen: jesus is gentle

Jesus, the Blessed One, is gentle. Even though he speaks with great fervor and biting criticism against all forms of hypocrisy and is not afraid to attack deception, vanity, manipulation, and oppression, his heart is a gentle heart. He won’t break the crushed reed or snuff the faltering wick (see Matthew 12:20). He responds to people’s suffering, heals their wounds, and offers courage to the fainthearted.

Jesus came to bring good news to the poor, sight to the blind, and freedom to prisoners (see Luke 4:18-19) in all he says, and thus he reveals God’s immense compassion. As his followers, we are called to that same gentleness.

daily reflection: progressive gratitude

Gratitude should go forward, rather than backward.

AS BILL SEES IT, p. 29

I am very grateful that my Higher Power has given me a second chance to live a worthwhile life. Through Alcoholics Anonymous, I have been restored to sanity. The promises are being fulfilled in my life. I am grateful to be free from the slavery of alcohol. I am grateful for peace of mind and the opportunity to grow, but my gratitude should go forward rather than backward. I cannot stay sober on yesterday’s meetings or past Twelfth-Step calls; I need to put my gratitude into action today. Our co-founder said our gratitude can best be shown by carrying the message to others. Without action, my gratitude is just a pleasant emotion. I need to put it into action by working Step Twelve, by carrying the message and practicing the principles in all my affairs. I am grateful for the chance to carry the message today!

henri nouwen: jesus is poor

Jesus, the Blessed One, is poor. The poverty of Jesus is much more than an economic or social poverty. Jesus is poor because he freely chose powerlessness over power, vulnerability over defensiveness, dependency over self-sufficiency. As the great “Song of Christ” so beautifully expresses: “He … did not count equality with God something to be grasped. But he emptied himself, … becoming as human beings are” (Philippians 2:6-7). This is the poverty of spirit that Jesus chose to live.

Jesus calls us who are blessed as he is to live our lives with that same poverty.

daily reflection: “happy, joyous, and free”

We are sure God wants us to be happy, joyous, and free. We cannot subscribe to the belief that this life is a vale of tears, though it once was just that for many of us. But it is clear that we made our own misery. God didn’t do it. Avoid then, the deliberate manufacture of misery, but if trouble comes, cheerfully capitalize it as an opportunity to demonstrate His omnipotence.

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 133

For years I believed in a punishing God and blamed Him for my misery. I have learned that I must lay down the “weapons” of self in order to pick up the “tools” of the A.A. program. I do not struggle with the program because it is a gift and I have never struggled when receiving a gift. If I sometimes keep on struggling, it is because I’m still hanging onto my old ideas and “. . . the results are nil.”