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Yesterday, I posted a wisdom saying from Harry Potter’s mentor Dumbledore. I had to admit I am not familiar with old Dumbledore but found his advice on death being the next great adventure for a person with a  ‘well ordered mind’  to be ripe with wisdom.

One of my mentors is Henri Nouwen and in the Daily Meditation series from his book- Bread for the Journey he shares the following insights into life, death and eternal life. In the first quote below he offers a glimpse into how one might develop a well ordered mind (i.e. through ‘our many spiritual practices’) . In the second is a key to living life without fearing death- in a word Nouwen reminds us that we need to trust.

Nurturing the Eternal Life Within Us

The knowledge that Jesus came to dress our mortal bodies with immortality must help us develop an inner desire to be born to a new eternal life with him and encourage us to find ways to prepare for it.

It is important to nurture constantly the life of the Spirit of Jesus – which is the eternal life – that is already in us.  Baptism gave us this life, the Eucharist maintains it, and our many spiritual practices – such as prayer, meditation, spiritual reading, and spiritual guidance – can help us to deepen and solidify it.  The sacramental life and life with the Word of God gradually make us ready to let go of our mortal bodies and receive the mantle of immortality.   Thus death is not the enemy who puts an end to everything but the friend who takes us by the hand and leads us into the Kingdom of eternal love.

God’s Timeless Time

There is no “after” after death.  Words like after and before belong to our mortal life, our life in time and space.  Death frees us from the boundaries of chronology and brings us into God’s “time,” which is timeless.  Speculations about the afterlife, therefore, are little more than just that:  speculations.  Beyond death there is no “first” and “later,”  no “here” and “there,” no “past,” “present,” or “future.”  God is all in all.  The end of time, the resurrection of the body, and the glorious coming again of Jesus are no longer separated by time for those who are no longer in time.

For us who still live in time, it is important not to act as if the new life in Christ is something we can comprehend or explain.  God’s heart and mind are greater than ours.   All that is asked of us is trust. ” ― Henri J.M. Nouwen

Please click here to visit the Henri Nouwen Daily Meditation Blog for more wisdom from Henri Nouwen.

Click here to visit the website of the : Henri Nouwen Society


One Response to “The Wisdom of Henri Nouwen-Life, Death, Eternal life”

  1. Rosemary says:

    On Nouwen’s point, I find that I agree completely and as a second year university student, I have the opportunity to delve into the studies of all types of religions, and much to my own exploration and fascination, I am studying Far East religions of China and Japan. What is integral in understanding Far Eastern religions is that we must acknowledge that there is a presence (or deities) that closely interact with human beings, and although we are not able to see these influences, we must come to understand that our human minds can only take us so far, and the spirit world just happens to be something that we cannot fully understand, however this is where one is able to see the beauty. Perhaps it is within the mystery of it all that forces us to maintain strength in faith, and to understand, but mostly accept, that we are unable to understand some things beyond our reach. It is at this point, especially, that we must have the courage to put our trust in something that is superior to us all, and all-knowing, because although we are part animals, I believe, we’re also part-divine.