A Letter of Consolation by Henri J. M. Nouwen

By Henri J. M. Nouwen

Discovering religion in a Time of Sorrow loved writer Henri Nouwen displays at the religious importance of demise and lifestyles during this relocating meditation devoted to "all those that undergo the ache that loss of life can carry and who look for new life."

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Many people seem never to befriend death and die as if they were losing a hopeless battle. But we do not have to share that sad fate. Mother’s death can bring us that freedom of which Bakels writes; it can make us deeply aware that her love was a reflection of a love that does not and cannot die—the love that we both will affirm again on Easter Sunday. 36 III In no way do I want to suggest that you have been repressing or denying your mortality. In fact, I know few people who have been so open about their own death.

I do so many other things and have so many secondary identities—teacher, speaker, and writer—that it is easy to consider the Eucharist as the least important part of my life. But the opposite is true. The Eucharist is the center of my life and everything else receives its meaning from that center. I am saying this with so much emphasis in the hope that you will understand what I mean when I say that my life must be a continuing proclamation of the death and resurrection of Christ. It is first and foremost through the Eucharist that this proclamation takes place.

Although you worked quite hard in life to build up a successful career and to give your fam- 48 ily a happy home, some of the main factors that made things develop the way they did were totally out of your hands. Many things that happened to you were as important as the things that happened through you. Fifty years ago, neither you nor anyone else could have predicted your present situation. And how futile it is for us to predict our own immediate or distant future. Things that made us worry greatly later prove to be quite insignificant, and things to which we hardly gave a thought before they took place turn our lives around.

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