Author Archives: greg w

About greg w

I believe chocolate in virtually any configuration is the finest dessert in the history of mankind. I believe my wife is the sexiest woman in the world. I believe modern capitalism will never be replaced by a different -- or better -- form of economics. I believe in clutch hitting in baseball. I believe the Kimber 1911 .45 ACP is the finest handgun ever made in America. I believe the Mossberg Flex 500 pump-action 12 gauge shotgun is the best home defense ever made in America. I believe Tom Waits is the best songwriter of my generation. I believe unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. I believe in equality for everyone, except reporters and photographers. As CS Lewis once beautifully wrote, I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else. I believe that, on balance, Christianity has done more good for humans than bad. I believe it is better to tell the truth than a lie. I believe it is better to be free than to be a slave. I believe it is better to know than to be ignorant, With that being said, I believe there is a profound difference between knowledge and wisdom. Finally, I believe if I yell at the TV during a Colts game, they will play better.

henri nouwen: embracing the universe

Living a spiritual life makes our little, fearful hearts as wide as the universe, because the Spirit of Jesus dwelling within us embraces the whole of creation. Jesus is the Word, through whom the universe has been created. As Paul says: “In him were created all things in heaven and on earth: everything visible and everything invisible – all things were created through him and for him – in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:16-17). Therefore when Jesus lives within us through his Spirit, our hearts embrace not only all people but all of creation. Love casts out all fear and gathers in all that belongs to God.

Prayer, which is breathing with the Spirit of Jesus, leads us to this immense knowledge.

nouwen

daily reflection: vital sustenance

Those of us who have come to make regular use of prayer would no more do without it than we would refuse air, food, or sunshine. And for the same reason. When we refuse air, light, or food, the body suffers. And when we turn away from meditation and prayer, we likewise deprive our minds, our emotions, and our intuitions of vitally needed support.

— TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 97

Step Eleven doesn’t have to overwhelm me. Conscious contact with God can be as simple, and as profound, as conscious contact with another human being. I can smile. I can listen. I can forgive. Every encounter with another is an opportunity for prayer, for acknowledging God’s presence within me.

Today I can bring myself a little closer to my Higher Power. The more I choose to seek the beauty of God’s work in other people, the more certain of His presence I will become.

henri nouwen: the fruit of our communal life.

Our society encourages individualism. We are constantly made to believe that everything we think, say, or do, is our personal accomplishment, deserving individual attention. But as people who belong to the communion of saints, we know that anything of spiritual value is not the result of individual accomplishment but the fruit of a communal life.

Whatever we know about God and God’s love; whatever we know about Jesus – his life, death, and resurrection – whatever we know about the Church and its ministry, is not the invention of our minds asking for an award. It is the knowledge that has come to us through the ages from the people of Israel and the prophets, from Jesus and the saints, and from all who have played roles in the formation of our hearts. True spiritual knowledge belongs to the communion of saints.

nouwen

daily reflection: intuition and inspiration

. . . we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought or a decision. We relax and take it easy. We don’t struggle.

— ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 86

I invest my time in what I truly love. Step Eleven is a discipline that allows me and my Higher Power to be together, reminding me that, with God’s help, intuition and inspiration are possible. Practice of the Step brings on self-love. In a consistent attempt to improve my conscious contact with a Higher Power, I am subtly reminded of my unhealthy past, with its patterns of grandiose thinking and false feelings of omnipotence. When I ask for the power to carry out God’s will for me, I am made aware of my powerlessness. Humility and a healthy self-love are compatible, a direct result of working Step Eleven.

henri nouwen: hearts as wide as the world

The awareness of being part of the communion of saints makes our hearts as wide as the world. The love with which we love is not just our love; it is the love of Jesus and his saints living in us. When the Spirit of Jesus lives in our hearts, all who have lived their lives in that Spirit live there too. Our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents; our teachers and their teachers; our pastors and their pastors; our spiritual guides and theirs – all the holy men and women who form that long line of love through history – are part of our hearts, where the Spirit of Jesus chooses to dwell.

The communion of saints is not just a network of connections between people. It is first and foremost the community of our hearts.

nouwen

daily reflection: looking outward

We ask especially for freedom from self-will, and are careful to make no requests for ourselves only. We may ask for ourselves, however, if others will be helped. We are careful never to pray for our own selfish ends.

— ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 87

As an active alcoholic, I allowed selfishness to run rampant in my life. I was so attached to my drinking and other selfish habits that people and moral principles came second. Now, when I pray for the good of others rather than my “own selfish ends,” I practice a discipline in letting go of selfish attachments, caring for my fellows and preparing for the day when I will be required to let go of all earthly attachments.

henri nouwen: in memory of jesus and the saints

Belonging to the communion of saints means being connected with all people transformed by the Spirit of Jesus. This connection is deep and intimate. Those who have lived as brothers and sisters of Jesus continue to live within us, even though they have died, just as Jesus continues to live within us, even though he has died.

We live our lives in memory of Jesus and the saints, and this memory is a real presence. Jesus and his saints are part of our most intimate and spiritual knowledge of God. They inspire us, guide us, encourage us, and give us hope. They are the source of our constant transformation. Yes, we carry them in our bodies and thus keep them alive for all with whom we live and work.

nouwen