Lenten Reading for March 6


We do not make this spiritual journey of life alone; we make it yoked to other human beings. It is not uncommon in this broken world for important relationships in our lives to break down. Where our hearts harden, our souls are poisoned.

Henri Nouwen writes about his experience of drawing near to death following an accident:

The real struggle (of dying) is not a matter of leaving loved ones. The real struggle had to do with leaving behind me people whom I had not forgiven and people who had not forgiven me. These feelings kept me bound to the old body and brought me great sadness to the old body and brought me great sadness. I suddenly felt an immense desire to call around my bed all who were angry with me and all with whom I was angry, to embrace them, ask them to forgive me, and offer them my forgiveness. As I thought of them, I realized that they represented a host of opinions, judgments, and even condemnations that had enslaved me to this world. It almost seemed that much of my energy had gone into proving to myself and to others that I was right in my conviction that some people could not be trusted, that others were using me or were trying to push me aside, and that whole groups and categories of people were falling short of the mark. Thus I kept holding on to the illusion that I am destined to be the evaluator and judge of human behavior.

As I felt life weakening in me, I felt a great desire to forgive and to be forgiven, to let go of all evaluations and opinions, to be free from the burden of judgments.

Knowing that death comes to all of us, where is there a need for reconciliation in our lives?

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