I found the following selection for last Sunday, the First Sunday of Lent, to be particularly insightful – and especially recommend it to LGBT youth and indeed anyone who feels oppressed by the rhetoric and actions of homophobic individuals and institutions. Of course, one can only wonder how much Nouwen's writing of this reflection was influenced by his own experience as a gay priest in the profoundly homophobic Roman Catholic clerical caste.
He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan. (Mark 1:13)
Yes, there is that voice, the voice that speaks from above and from within and that whispers softly or declares loudly: "You are my Beloved, on you my favor rests." It certainly is not easy to hear that voice in a world filled with voices that shout: "You are no good, you are ugly; you are worthless, you are despicable, you are nobody – unless you can demonstrate the opposite.
These negative voices are so loud and so persistent that it is easy to believe them. That's the great trap. It is the trap of self-rejection. 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 be a great temptation, but their seductive power 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.
God, help me to appreciate just how much you have blessed me in so many ways.
See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Quote of the Day – March 6, 2011
The Challenge to Become Ourselves
Can You Hear Me, Yet, My Friend?
In the Garden of Spirituality – Henri Nouwen
Recommended Off-site Links:
Wounded Prophet: A Portrait of Henri J.M. Nouwen
Feast of Henri J.M. Nouwen, September 21 – Kenneth Randolph Taylor (Sundry Thoughts, September 2, 2009).
Henri Nouwen: Love Deeply – Therese J. Borchard (Beyond Blue, May 8, 2008).