Henri Nouwen was a Dutch Catholic priest and prolific author. In the forward to his book, The Inner Voice of Love he describes a period of mental and spiritual anguish catalyzed by the sudden interruption of a friendship. To heal from this agony, he took a six month retreat during which he wrote down spiritual imperatives that were his notes on working through his pain and healing.
He never intended for these notes to anything other than private. But eight years after he’d worked through his anguish, a friend convinced him they could be helpful to others. The last note of the book, it includes a quote that knocked me over with its power: “Your future depends on how you decide to remember your past.” Here’s the passage:
As you conclude this period of spiritual renewal, you are faced once again with a choice. You can choose to remember this time as a failed attempt to be completely reborn, or you can also choose to remember it as the precious time when God began new things in you that need to be brought to completion. Your future depends on how you decide to remember your past. Choose for the truth of what you know. Do not let your still anxious emotions distract you. As you keep choosing God, your emotions will gradually give up their rebellion and be converted to the truth in you.
You are facing a real spiritual battle. But do not be afraid. You are not alone. Those who have guided you during this period are not leaving you. Their prayers and support will be with you wherever you go. Keep them close to your heart so that they can guide you as you make your choices.
Remember, you are held safe. You are loved. You are protected. You are in communion with God and with those whom God has sent you. What is of God will last. It belongs to the eternal life. Choose it, and it will be yours.The Inner Voice of Love by Henri Nouwen
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