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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Self-Rejection and the Truth of Our Existence...

“Over the years, I have come to realize that the greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity, or power, but self-rejection. Success, popularity, and power can indeed present a great temptation, but their seductive quality often comes from the way they are part of the much larger temptation to self-rejection. When we have come to believe in the voices that call us worthless and unlovable, then success, popularity, and power are easily perceived as attractive solutions. The real trap, however, is self-rejection. As soon as someone accuses me or criticizes me, as soon as I am rejected, left alone, or abandoned, I find myself thinking, 'Well, that proves once again that I am a nobody.'... [My dark side says,] I am no good... I deserve to be pushed aside, forgotten, rejected, and abandoned.  Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the 'Beloved.'  Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence." 

-- Fr. Henri Nouwen, internationally renowned priest, college professor and author, who wrote 40 books on the spiritual life, including one of my favorites, The Return of The Prodigal Son; A Story of Homecoming, and taught at the University of Notre Dame and the Divinity Schools of Yale and Harvard. 

The Dutch-born clergyman and scholar was heavily influenced by hospital chaplain and educator Anton Boisen, Trappist monk and author Thomas Merton, Dutch impressionist artist Vincent van Gough and philosopher, theologian and humanitarian Jean Vanier.

During the 70's, Nouwen lived and worked with the Trappist monks in the Abbey of the Genessee in New York.  In the early 80's, he lived with the poor in Peru and Bolivia.  He went on to work with mental and physically handicapped people in France and Canada before his death in 1996.

His books have sold over 7 million copies and have been published in over 30 languages.  Since his death, his popularity has increased among readers, teachers and seekers...

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