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Create Space for the Stranger – Henri Nouwen

February 17, 2022

In our world full of strangers, estranged from their own past, culture, and country, from their neighbors, friends, and family, from their deepest self and their God, we witness a painful search for a hospitable place where life can be lived without fear and where community can be found. Although many, we might say even most, strangers in this world become easily the victim of a fearful hostility, it is possible for men and women and obligatory for Christians to offer an open and hospitable space where strangers can cast off their strangeness and become our fellow human beings. The movement from hostility to hospitality is hard and full of difficulties. Our society seems to be increasingly full of fearful, defensive, aggressive people, anxiously clinging to their property and inclined to look at their surrounding world with suspicion, always expecting an enemy to suddenly appear, intrude, and do harm. But still—that is our vocation: to convert the hostis into a hospes, the enemy into a guest, and to create the free and fearless space where brotherhood and sisterhood can be formed and fully experienced.

2 Comments
  1. A thoughtful, thought-provoking and inspiring reflection, Michael. I do admire Henri Nouwen’s lived out faith, example and wisdom, and have been greatly blessed by his words. 😊❤️ He was a delightful soul and early mentor of mine in ministry… The Wounded Healer touched my soul deeply

    • I was honored to meet him in 1991 at the US Air Force Chaplains School. He taught a short course on “Spirituality in Demanding Times.” He said it was weird to be on a military base with military chaplains given his stance on Vietnam and War…

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