Daily Riches: Meeting God in the Poor (Henri Nouwen and Dean Brackley)

“We all suspect that the world is a crueler place than we dare to admit. Since the poor confront us with this evil, it is tempting to avoid them. But if we let their stories break our hearts, they can open our eyes to marvels we scarcely dared imagine. They reveal the revolution of love that God is bringing about in the world. There is a lot of dying going on, but a lot of rising as well. That is the deepest meaning of history and of our lives. But we perceive the daily resurrections only if we open our eyes to the crucifixions. To share the hope of the poor, we must let their suffering move us and place us before the Holy Mystery laboring among us.” Dean Brackley

“When we are not afraid to confess our own poverty, we will be able to be with other people in theirs. The Christ who lives in our own poverty recognises the Christ who lives in other people’s. Just as we are inclined to ignore our own poverty, we are inclined to ignore others’. We prefer not to see people who are destitute, we do not like to look at people who are deformed or disabled, we avoid talking about people’s pains and sorrows, we stay away from brokenness, helplessness, and neediness. By this avoidance we might lose touch with the people through whom God is manifested to us. But when we have discovered God in our own poverty, we will lose our fear of the poor and go to them to meet God. …The poor have a treasure to offer precisely because they cannot return our favours. By not paying us for what we have done for them, they call us to inner freedom, selflessness, generosity, and true care. Jesus says: ‘When you have a party, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; then you will be blessed, for they have no means to repay you and so you will be repaid when the upright rise again.’  (Luke 14:13-14).” Henri Nouwen

“He will rescue the poor …
for their lives are precious to him.”
Psalm 72:12-14

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you honest with yourself about “poverty” in your life?
  • Are you inclined to ignore people who make you uncomfortable? …what in you makes you uncomfortable?
  • Do you think a poor person could teach you anything about “inner freedom, selflessness [or] generosity?”
  • Is that even logistically possible – do you ever actually make a point to speak with or know someone who is poor?

Abba, thank you for truly poor friends who love, inspire, encourage and instruct me.

For More: Bread for the Journey by Henri Nouwen

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“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

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