Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Life, Death, and Solidarity

There is much that I have found helpful in Henri Nouwen's book, Our Greatest Gift: A Meditation on Dying and Caring.

Nouwen has a special gift for helping us to see how Jesus listens to our mental and emotional questions and embraces our weak, small, ordinary bewilderment and sorrow in the midst of our sufferings. The strangeness of living and dying touches the immense mystery of how God's love is transforming us and the world.

Here I quote one small passage, from pp. 32-33:

"People ask for solidarity, not only in life, but in death as well. Only when we are willing to let their dying help us to die well, will we be able to help them to live well.

"When we can face death with hope, we can live life with generosity.

"We all die poor. When we come to our final hours, nothing can help us survive. No amount of money, power, or influence can keep us from dying.

"This is true poverty.

"But Jesus said, 'Blessed are you who are poor, the kingdom of God is yours' (Luke 6:20). There is a blessing hidden in the poverty of dying. It is the blessing that makes us brothers and sisters in the same Kingdom. .

"It is the blessing we receive from others who die.

"It is the blessing we give to others when our time to die has come.

"It is the blessing that comes from the God whose life is everlasting."