Bread for the Journey

This weekend I am participating in a LOGOS Lenten retreat at the Franciscan Renewal Center in Scottsdale, popularly known as the Casa.  My family has been associated with the Casa since 1974 when our parents moved to the Valley.  My sister, with whom I’m staying while in AZ, was married there. We celebrated my brother Jerry’s funeral there last July.  Many memories ground me in this space — deeply consoling.

Our retreat theme is “the Patriarchs” (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc). Our leaders bring a rich perspective — one earned his doctorate from Hebrew University in Jerusalem, another is an Arab Christian from Egypt and the other is a rabbi from Massachusetts.  We began Friday evening and continue through Sunday until 1 p.m.

With these memories and focus for my weekend, I leave you with two favorite quotes from Henri Nouwen’s Bread for the Journey:

  • The great temptation is to cling in anger to our enemies and then define ourselves as being offended and wounded by them. Forgiveness, therefore, liberates not only the other but also ourselves.
  • Being with a person in pain, offering simple presence to someone in despair, sharing with a friend times of confusion and uncertainty…such experiences can bring us deep joy. Not happiness, not excitement, not great satisfaction, but the quiet joy of being there for someone else and living in deep solidarity with our brothers and sisters in this human family.

Both messages appeal to me for very different reasons.  Each provides good fodder for my Lenten reflection.  Perhaps they will challenge and enrich your day as well.

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