A Letter of Consolation by Henri J. M. Nouwen

By Henri J. M. Nouwen

Discovering religion in a Time of Sorrow liked writer Henri Nouwen displays at the non secular importance of demise and lifestyles during this relocating meditation devoted to "all those that endure the discomfort that demise can deliver and who look for new life."

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Jesus said this immediately after he had told Peter three times to look after his sheep. Here we can see that a growing surrender to the unknown is a sign of spiritual maturity and does not take away autonomy. Mother’s death is indeed an invitation to surrender ourselves more freely to the future, in the conviction that one of the most important parts of our lives may still be ahead of us and that mother’s life and death were meant to make this possible. Do not forget that only after Jesus’ death could his disciples fulfill their vocation.

This might sound harsh and even offensive, but I believe deeply that it is true. Indeed, I believe even more deeply that we will come to experience this ourselves. Although the time is past when widows were burned with their dead husbands—even a con- 57 temporary Phileas Fogg would not encounter such a scene on a trip around the world—still, in a psychological sense, many widows and widowers end their lives with that of their spouse. They respond to the death of husband or wife with a sudden lack of vitality and behavior that turns life into a gruesome waiting room for death.

We might think that we have a certain insight into “what life is all about” until an unexpected crisis throws us off balance and forces us to rethink our most basic presuppositions. In fact, we never really know how deeply our lives are anchored, and the experience of crisis can open up dimensions of life that we never knew existed. 38 Mother’s death is certainly one of the most crucial experiences of both our lives, perhaps even the most crucial. Before her death, it was impossible to know even vaguely what it would do to us.

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