How can I Pray? – Three Rules

A careful look at the lives of people for whom prayer was indeed “the only thing needed” (see Luke 10:42) shows that three “rules” are always observed: a contemplative reading of the word of God, a silent listening to the voice of God, and a trusting obedience to a spiritual Guide. Without the Bible, without silent time, and without someone to direct us, finding our own way to God is very hard and practically impossible.

~ Henri Nouwen, Reaching out
Seeds of Hope p. 120


Quiet Time for God

Secondly, we simply need quiet time in the presence of God. Although we want to make all our time time for God, we will never succeed if we do not reserve a minute, an hour, a morning, a day, a week, a month, or whatever period of time for God and God alone.

This asks for much discipline and risk-taking because we always seem to have something more urgent to do and “just sitting there” and “doing nothing” often disturbs us more than it helps. But there is no way around this. Being useless and silent in the presence of our God belongs to the core of all prayer. In the beginning we often hear our own unruly inner noises more loudly than God’s voice. This is at times very hard to tolerate. But slowly, very slowly we discover that the silent time makes us quiet and deepens our awareness of ourselves and God. Then, very soon, we start missing these moments when we are deprived of them, and before we are fully aware of it an inner momentum has developed that draws us more and more into silence and closer to that still point where God speaks to us.

Contemplative reading of the holy scriptures and silent time in the presence of God belong closely together. The word of God draws us into silence; silence makes us attentive to God’s word…

~ Henri Nouwen, Reaching out
Seeds of Hope, p. 122

Letting Go

Detachment is often understood as letting loose of what is attractive. But it sometimes also requires letting go of what is repulsive. You can indeed become attached to dark forces such as resentment and hatred. As long as you seek retaliation, you cling to your own past. Sometimes it seems as though you might lose yourself along with your revenge and hate – so you stand there with balled-up fists, closed to the other who wants to heal.

~ Henri Nouwen, With Open Hands
The Dance of Life p. 44

Up Close & Personal

There is this one song that I like very much, it’s just been released recently. I’ve been listening to it every single day, especially when I’m driving alone at night. The song is so personal as if it’s written to me. But no, I’m not going to say which song this is. Ask me again a few months time, and then you might get lucky.

I have a few social media that I frequently use; Blog, Facebook, Instagram, Path, Twitter, Foursquare, etc. I do share a lot of stuff; writings, photos, music, film, etc on my Social Media, but I have tons of stuff which I never share.  Some things are meant a lot to me and I don’t think they should be published for public consumption. Even if I published it, the viewers won’t understand the sentiment and meaning of it.

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Final Integration

It is not enough that Jesus is my teacher, my guide, my source of inspiration. It is not even enough that he is my companion on the journey, my friend and my brother. Jesus must become the heart of my heart, the fire of my life, the lover of my soul, the bridegroom of my spirit. He must become my only thought, my only concern, my only desire. The thousands of people, events, ideas, and plans, that occupy my inner life must become all one in the one and only name: Jesus.

I know that I have to move from speaking about Jesus to letting him speak within me, from thinking about Jesus to letting him think within me, from acting for and with Jesus to letting him act through me. I know the only way for me to see the world is to see it through his eyes. Everything has to become very simple, very unified, very focused. It is no longer a question of being up-to-date or well-informed. At this moment in history – my own as well as that of the world – I have to go to the very center of being: the center where time touches eternity, where earth and heaven meet, where God’s Word become human flesh, where death and immortality embrace. There is really no longer a question of options. With an unmistakable clarity I have heard a voice saying, “Give me everything, and I will give you everything.”

~ Henri Nouwen, Jesus and Mary: Finding Our Sacred Center
Seeds of Hope, p. 5

Awkward Situation

I hate the situation where people pretend that I don’t exist. It just feel so awkward. I don’t even know what to do.

One very clear example happened in a religious house that I visited a few years ago. I was visiting a seminary for its anniversary. When I arrived, my priest friend asked me whether I would like to accompany him to a retreat house because he had to give sacrament of reconciliation for the young people doing retreat there. Since I had no plan, so I tagged along.

After the confession, the sisters invited the priests (there were a few of them) for tea. My priest friend asked me to come along, so I happily joined them. One of the sister welcomed them at the door of the religious house, so the priests shook hand with the sister. I was the last one, so when it was my turn, the sister suddenly went inside the house. So I thought she didn’t see me. We went in, we sat down. The sisters started serving teas and it was getting weird. She served a cup of tea to every single one of the priest, except me. Not only that, none of the sisters actually talked to me, and I just seemed invisible to them. Honestly, I didn’t even know what to do at that point because it never happened to me before. I never visited the place after that and I rather not to. I just dislike awkward situation where I don’t know what to do.

By far, it was the worst experience I had with religious sisters.

Even thinking about it made me uncomfortable.