I read a lot of Fr. Henri Nouwen. I tend to read one of his many books, drift away for a time, then find myself coming back to Nouwen again and again. As I was finishing my last Nouwen book titled, Spiritual Formation, I was saddened by the news of yet more violence in our nation and not just violence, but more racial violence.
These words struck me in light of the recent and ongoing news of violence last night: “The world is waiting for new saints — prophetic women and men who are so deeply in the love of God that they are free to envision and create a new world where justice reigns and war is no more, where the old order of things has passed away.”
The world is waiting for the church to be the church, where the disciples that we claim to be and create within the church become prophetic, saintly, and so in love with God that the world would be changed for the better. If we live out this call from Nouwen to become saints, then the world would change. We would no longer have hatred, racism, and violence. Let’s create a world where justice reigns and this old order of injustice toward the African American community and other communities is changed.
Nouwen continues, “Those who dare to join in the circle of God’s intimacy and hospitality are the new St. Francises of our time. They offer a glimpse of a new order that is being born out of the ruin of the old.”
Our world, our church really, needs some new saints. Maybe we need some new St. Francises who let go of our privilege just like Francis did. We need some new St. Francises who denounce violence and work against the violent culture in which we live just as Francis did. We are only able to accomplish this when we live in the house of love, as Nouwen describes.
All ministry comes from a place of love. When we hear of more violence toward two African American men, we grieve at the loss of life from a place of love. When we sense the injustice of what has happened, we seek justice and reconciliation out of a place of love.
We need some new saints. Are you in? Will you follow the way of Jesus, the way of Francis, and the way of the saints? The world is waiting for us.
The book quoted in the post is by Henri Nouwen titled, Spiritual Formation: Following the Movements of the Spirit.