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We live in a success oriented world.My experiences over the past seven years of ministry to those touched by crime is that it requires a person to reevaluate what success means.

In his reflection below Henri Nouwen challenges us to find joy in being a witness of Christ through our actions and if the person we extend the hand of friendship too does not find his way to Christ then do not judge your efforts as a failure.

Henri encourages us to put our self imposed success metrics aside and become a  joyful witness!

Being Joyful Witnesses

To speak about Jesus and his divine work of salvation shouldn’t be a burden or a heavy obligation. When we go to people feeling that unless they accept our way of knowing Jesus, they are lost and we are failures, it is hardly possible to be true witnesses.

It is a great joy when people recognize through our witness that Jesus is the divine redeemer who opened for them the way to God. It is a true cause for gratitude and celebration. But we should also be able to live joyful and grateful lives when our witness with deeds and words does not lead people to accept Jesus in the way we do.
By Henri Nouwen : Please sign up for these meditations by clicking on this link for the  Henri Nouwen Society.


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As a young person seeking meaning in a difficult world, I have found Nouwen’s work (every book I’ve read of his, actually) to clearly confront the ills of society, incorporating them into authentic Christian discipleship. Every priest, minister, layperson or questioning individual should pick up this brief – yet poignant – account of what it is to relate to others in the modern world. Nouwen consistently cultivates the meaning of authentic relationships one must have between him/herself, God, and those met in life. This is a must-read.

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