Nouwen on Individualized Faith

I continue to be inspired by the authentic vision for life and faith that Henri Nouwen inspires his reader towards. The following comment from him on the ills of individualism struck a chord with much of what I am currently wrestling with in my own journey:

It is tragic to see how the religious sentiment of the West has become so individualized that concepts such as “a contrite heart,” have come to refer only to personal experience of guilt and the willingness to do penance for it. The awareness of our impurity in thoughts, words and deeds can indeed put us in a remorseful mood and create in us the hope for a forgiving gesture. But if the catastrophical events of our days, the wars, mass murders, unbridled violence, crowded prisons, torture chambers, the hunger and illness of millions of people and the unnamable misery of a major part of the human race is safely kept outside the solitude of our hearts, our contrition remains no more that a pious emotion.

(Reaching Out – The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life, 1975. pg. 54)


Peter Thurley said...

ouch. that's quite stinging, isn't it?

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