Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Whose eyes?

I'm not sure it's widely understood just how radicial this is:

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.

-- Henri Nouwen


  1. Much as I like Henri Nouwen's writings the image of Jesus living his life through mine just doesn't work for me. The distinction between Jesus and Christ has over the years become to me very important. I believe the primary reason it is important is because everyone has their own mental image of Jesus. For some it is Jesus, my best buddy. For some Jesus my betrothed, for some Jesus who validates me through the wealth and the easy life he has given me, etc., etc. But I never hear people use Christ in that idolatrous manner. For me Christ is a cosmic term that transcends person or even religion.

  2. I think you’ll understand when I say I much prefer the singular chorus of fromThe Lorica or St. Patrick’s Breastplate - thought of as a prayer –
    Christ be with me, Christ within me,
    Christ behind me, Christ before me,
    Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
    Christ to comfort and restore me,
    Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
    Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
    Christ in hearts of all that love me,
    Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

  3. Yes, I love St. Patrick's Breastplate.

    I sort of have an idea that's really what Henri Nouwen meant.

  4. I don't doubt that is what Henri Nouwen meant. But the number of people who are able to take his words and understand them with his degree of wisdom is miniscule compared with the number of people who imagine that they know Jesus personally and imagine that their choices and values are validated by that imagined personal knowledge of Jesus. I don't like to use language that can be used to reinforce that latter view. But, beyond that, I choose to be me, speaking and acting as me, even if it does mean that I'm pretty screwed up sometimes.


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