Oremus for Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Henri Nouwen

Henri Nouwen
Nouwen, born in Nijkerk, The Netherlands, on January 24, 1932, became one of the most influential and popular spiritual writers of the twentieth century.  He discerned his priestly vocation at an early age.  Our saint, ordained to the priesthood in the Diocese of Utrecht in 1957, studied psychology at the Catholic University of Nijmegan from 1957 to 1964.  Next he studied at the Menninger Clinic, in the United States, in 1964-1966, and became involved in the Civil Rights Movement.
Nouwen was an academic.  He taught at the University of Notre Dame (1966-1968), the Catholic Theological University of Utrecht (1968-1970), and Yale University School (1971-1981).  After spending six months in Bolivia and Peru in 1982-1983, he taught at Harvard Divinity School (1983-1985).  Nouwen was spiritually restless, seeking his proper place.  His moves from one teaching position to another indicated this restlessness. Nouwen also experienced great stress.  He was, by all accounts, a priest who lived according to his wows, including celibacy.  He also had the needs for physical and emotional intimacy all people have.  Our saint struggled with those issues as well as his homosexuality, which he kept secret.  One biographer has suggested that Nouwen made peace with himself toward the end of his life.
Nouwen made a truly disturbing discovery about himself:  In the Parable of the Prodigal Son (perhaps not the best name for the parable, but the traditional one), he was most like the resentful older brother.  This was a spiritual condition he could change, and did address.
Nouwen spent 1986-1996 as the pastor at the Daybreak Community in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  The community specialized in serving severely handicapped people.  In addition to his pastoral duties Nouwen was caregiver to Adam, a young man who could do nothing for himself–not even speak or feed himself.  In taking care of Adam our saint learned the meaning of being beloved by God. Nouwen died of a heart attack on September 21, 1996, when he was in Hilversum, The Netherlands.  He was 64 years old.  He left a fine published legacy, which continues to benefit many people spiritually. 1

Antiphon https://tinyurl.com/2afzv85h

The Spirit of the Lord has filled the whole world
and that which contains all things
understands what is said, alleluia. Wisdom 1

Almighty God,
to whom all hearts are open,
all desires, known,
and from whom no secrets are hid:
Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you
and worthily magnify your holy name;
through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Music: https://tinyurl.com/ycn4djk5

O Lord, open my lips.
And my mouth will declare your praise.
Make haste, O God, to deliver me;
make haste to help me, O Lord.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.
Praise to you, O Christ, Alleluia!

HYMN: Fred Pratt Green ©
Tune: Repton https://tinyurl.com/w3j36vex

1 How clear is our vocation, Lord,
when once we heed your call:
to live according to your word,
and daily learn, refreshed, restored,
that you are Lord of all,
and will not let us fall.

2 But if, forgetful, we should find
your yoke is hard to bear;
if worldly pressures fray the mind,
and love itself cannot unwind
its tangled skein of care,
our inward life repair.

3 We marvel how your saints become
in hindrances more sure,
whose joyful virtues put to shame
the casual way we wear your name,
and by our faults obscure
your pow’r to cleanse and cure.

4 In what you give us, Lord, to do,
together or alone,
in old routines and ventures new,
may we not cease to look to you.
The cross you hung upon—
all you endeavored done.

PSALMS

Psalm 107 (Anglican Chant: https://tinyurl.com/sp6nct3)
1  O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is gracious *
 and his mercy endureth for ever.
2  Let them give thanks whom the Lord hath redeemed *
 and delivered from the hand of the enemy;
3  And gathered them out of the lands, from the east, and from the west *
 from the north, and from the south.
4  They went astray in the wilderness out of the way *
 and found no city to dwell in;
5  Hungry and thirsty *
 their soul fainted in them.
6  So they cried unto the Lord in their trouble *
 and he delivered them from their distress.
7  He led them forth by the right way *
 that they might go to the city where they dwelt.
8  O that men would therefore praise the Lord for his goodness *
 and declare the wonders that he doeth for the children of men!
9  For he satisfieth the empty soul *
 and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.
10  Such as sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death *
 being fast bound in misery and iron;
11  Because they rebelled against the words of the Lord *
 and lightly regarded the counsel of the most Highest;
12  He also brought down their heart through heaviness *
 they fell down, and there was none to help them.
13  So when they cried unto the Lord in their trouble *
 he delivered them out of their distress.
14  For he brought them out of darkness,
and out of the shadow of death *
 and brake their bonds in sunder.
15  O that men would therefore praise the Lord for his goodness *
 and declare the wonders that he doeth for the children of men !
16  For he hath broken the gates of brass *
 and smitten the bars of iron in sunder.
17  Foolish men are plagued for their offence *
 and because of their wickedness.
18  Their soul abhorred all manner of meat *
 and they were even hard at death’s door.
19  So when they cried unto the Lord in their trouble *
 he delivered them out of their distress.
20  He sent his word, and healed them *
 and they were saved from their destruction.
21  O that men would therefore praise the Lord for his goodness *
 and declare the wonders that he doeth for the children of men!
22  That they would offer unto him the sacrifice of thanksgiving *
 and tell out his works with gladness!
23  They that go down to the sea in ships *
 and occupy their business in great waters;
24  These men see the works of the Lord *
 and his wonders in the deep.
25  For at his word the stormy wind ariseth *
 which lifteth up the waves thereof.
26  They are carried up to the heaven, and down again to the deep *
 their soul melteth away because of the trouble.
27  They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man *
 and are at their wit’s end.
28  So when they cry unto the Lord in their trouble *
 he delivereth them out of their distress.
29  For he maketh the storm to cease *
 so that the waves thereof are still.
30  Then are they glad, because they are at rest *
 and so he bringeth them unto the haven where they would be.
31  O that men would therefore praise the Lord for his goodness *
 and declare the wonders that he doeth for the children of men!
32  That they would exalt him also in the congregation of the people *
 and praise him in the seat of the elders!
33  Who turneth the floods into a wilderness *
 and drieth up the water-springs.
34  A fruitful land maketh he barren *
 for the wickedness of them that dwell therein.
35  Again, he maketh the wilderness a standing water *
 and water-springs of a dry ground.
36  And there he setteth the hungry *
 that they may build them a city to dwell in;
37  That they may sow their land, and plant vineyards *
 to yield them fruits of increase.
38  He blesseth them, so that they multiply exceedingly *
 and suffereth not their cattle to decrease.
39  And again, when they are minished, and brought low *
 through oppression, through any plague, or trouble;
40  Though he suffer them to be evil intreated through tyrants *
 and let them wander out of the way in the wilderness;
41  Yet helpeth he the poor out of misery *
 and maketh him households like a flock of sheep.
42  The righteous will consider this, and rejoice *
 and the mouth of all wickedness shall be stopped.
43  Whoso is wise will ponder these things *
 and they shall understand the loving-kindness of the Lord.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son :
and to the Holy Ghost;
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be :
world without end. Amen.

Psalm 107 (Kohlhase: http://oremus.org/chant/Psalm-107-KH.mp3)
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
his love is everlasting.
O let the redeemed of the LORD say so,
redeemed from the hand of their foe
Gathered from lands of east and west,
and from the north and south.
They roamed through the wild and desert lands;
without a place called home.

There they were hungry and full of thirst;
their soul then fainted within.
They cried to the LORD in their distress,
who saved them from their trials.
He also led them by straight paths,
to find a place called home.
Give thanks to the LORD for his great love,
unto the sons of men!

For he satisfies the thirsty soul,
the hungry soul with good.
Some dwelt in the dark, and shades of death,
those bound in anguish and chains,
For they had rebelled against God’s words,
and spurned the Most High’s voice.
He humbled their heart with weariness;
they stumbled with none to help.

They cried to the LORD in their distress,
who saved them from their trials.
Led out of the dark and the shades of death,
and broke their bands apart.
Give thanks to the LORD for his great love,
unto the sons of men!
For he’s broken down the gates of bronze,
and cut the bars of iron.

The fools, set on their rebellious ways,
were humbled for their sins.
Their soul abhorring all kinds of food,
approached the gates of death.
They cried to the LORD in their distress,
who saved them from their trials.
He sent out his word to heal them,
and saved them from their ruin.

Give thanks to the LORD for his great love,
unto the sons of men!
As sacrifice bring thanksgiving,
and tell his works in song.
Of those in ships gone to the sea,
whose work is on great waters;
they’ve seen the works done by the LORD,
his wonders in the deep.

He spoke then to raise a stormy wind,
to lift the waves of the sea.
They rose up to heav’n, sank to the depths;
their soul in sadness sank.
They reeled and they rocked like drunken men,
and were at their wits’ end.
They cried to the LORD in their distress,
who saved them from their trials.

He caused the storm to become still,
the ocean’s waves were hushed.
Then they were glad when it was calm;
led to a pleasant harbor.
Give thanks to the LORD for his great love,
unto the sons of men!
Exalt in the congregation,
praise him in his home of old.

He makes of the streams a wilderness,
the springs a thirsty ground;
makes fruit-bearing land a waste of salt,
when evil dwells therein.
The desert he turns into a lake,
dry land to springs of water;
and there he will make the hungry dwell,
to build a place called home.

Give thanks to the LORD,
for he is good, his love is everlasting.
O let the redeemed of the LORD say so,
redeemed from the hand of their foe
Gathered from lands of east and west,
and from the north and south.
They roamed through the wild and desert lands;
without a place called home.

There they were hungry and full of thirst;
their soul then fainted within.
They cried to the LORD in their distress,
who saved them from their trials.
He also led them by straight paths,
to find a place called home.
Give thanks to the LORD for his great love,
unto the sons of men!

For he satisfies the thirsty soul,
the hungry soul with good.
Some dwelt in the dark, and shades of death,
those bound in anguish and chains,
For they had rebelled against God’s words,
and spurned the Most High’s voice.
He humbled their heart with weariness;
they stumbled with none to help.

They cried to the LORD in their distress,
who saved them from their trials.
Led out of the dark and the shades of death,
and broke their bands apart.
Give thanks to the LORD for his great love,
unto the sons of men!
For he’s broken down the gates of bronze,
and cut the bars of iron.

The fools, set on their rebellious ways,
were humbled for their sins.
Their soul abhorring all kinds of food,
approached the gates of death.
They cried to the LORD in their distress,
who saved them from their trials.
He sent out his word to heal them,
and saved them from their ruin.

Give thanks to the LORD for his great love,
unto the sons of men!
As sacrifice bring thanksgiving,
and tell his works in song.
Of those in ships gone to the sea,
whose work is on great waters;
they’ve seen the works done by the LORD,
his wonders in the deep.

He spoke then to raise a stormy wind,
to lift the waves of the sea.
They rose up to heav’n, sank to the depths;
their soul in sadness sank.
They reeled and they rocked like drunken men,
and were at their wits’ end.
They cried to the LORD in their distress,
who saved them from their trials.

He caused the storm to become still,
the ocean’s waves were hushed.
Then they were glad when it was calm;
led to a pleasant harbor.
Give thanks to the LORD for his great love,
unto the sons of men!
Exalt in the congregation,
praise him in his home of old.

He makes of the streams a wilderness,
the springs a thirsty ground;
makes fruit-bearing land a waste of salt,
when evil dwells therein.
The desert he turns into a lake,
dry land to springs of water;
and there he will make the hungry dwell,
to build a place called home.

To sow their fields and vineyards plant,
to bring a fruitful yield.
He blesses them so they increase,
their herds will never fail.
When they’re diminished and bowed down,
when hurt, oppressed or grieved,
he pours contempt on the princes,
who roam a pathless waste.

But he sets the poor secure on high,
away from all their pains,
his tribes shall become just like a flock;
the just shall see and be glad;
But unrighteousness will shut its mouth.
Now where is the one who’s wise?
Now let him give heed and understand
the kindness of the LORD.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
his love is everlasting.
O let the redeemed of the LORD say so,
who found a place called home
O let the redeemed of the LORD say so,
who found a place called home

PRAYER

O God,
you are light to the lost,
bread to the hungry,
deliverance to the captive,
healing to the sick, eternal vision to the dying,
and harbor to every soul in peril.
Gather the wanderers from every corner of the world
into the community of your mercy and grace,
that we may eternally praise you
for our salvation in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. BCW

THE WORD OF GOD

Reading: Habakkuk 3:17-19

Though the fig tree does not blossom,
   and no fruit is on the vines;
though the produce of the olive fails
   and the fields yield no food;
though the flock is cut off from the fold
   and there is no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
   I will exult in the God of my salvation.
God, the Lord, is my strength;
   he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
   and makes me tread upon the heights.

HYMN: William Cowper
Tune: Offertorium https://tinyurl.com/mmafwzdj

1 Sometimes a light surprises
the child of God who sings:
the light of one who rises 
with gentle, healing wings.
When comforts are declining, 
God grants the soul again 
a season of clear shining,
to cheer it after rain.

2 In holy contemplation 
with joy we shall pursue 
the theme of God’s salvation,
and find it ever new.
Set free from present sorrow 
we cheerfully can say,
let the unknown tomorrow 
bring with it what it may.

3 It can bring with it nothing 
but God will bear us through.
Who gives the lilies clothing 
will clothe the people, too.
Beneath the spreading heavens
no creature but is fed:
the one who feeds the ravens
will give the children bread.

4 Though vine and fig tree neither 
their yearly fruit should bear,
though all the fields should wither, 
nor flocks nor herds be there,
yet God, the same abiding, 
through praise shall tune my voice, 
for while in love confiding 
I cannot but rejoice.

Reading: 2 Thessalonians 1:1-12

Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy,
To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

We must always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. Therefore we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith during all your persecutions and the afflictions that you are enduring.

This is evidence of the righteous judgement of God, and is intended to make you worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering. For it is indeed just of God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to the afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, separated from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes to be glorified by his saints and to be marvelled at on that day among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. To this end we always pray for you, asking that our God will make you worthy of his call and will fulfil by his power every good resolve and work of faith, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

HYMN: John Bunyan
Tune: Monk’s Gate https://tinyurl.com/8v8xrkba

1 He who would valiant be 
‘gainst all disaster,
let him in constancy 
follow the Master.
There’s no discouragement 
shall make him once relent
his first avowed intent 
to be a pilgrim.

2 Who so beset him round 
with dismal stories,
do but themselves confound—
his strength the more is.
No foes shall stay his might, 
though he with giants fight;
he will make good his right 
to be a pilgrim.

3 Since, Lord, Thou dost defend 
us with Thy Spirit,
we know we at the end 
shall life inherit.
Then, fancies, flee away! 
I’ll fear not what men say,
I’ll labor night and day 
to be a pilgrim.

Reading: Luke 9:18-22

Once when Jesus was praying alone, with only the disciples near him, he asked them, ‘Who do the crowds say that I am?’ They answered, ‘John the Baptist; but others, Elijah; and still others, that one of the ancient prophets has arisen.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Peter answered, ‘The Messiah of God.’

He sternly ordered and commanded them not to tell anyone, saying, ‘The Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.’

CANTICLE Isaiah 55:6-11
(Setting by Gregory Wilbur: https://tinyurl.com/yawmg8fp)

Seek ye the Lord while he may be found,
Call ye upon him while He is near.
Let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts:

And let him return unto the Lord,
and he will have mercy upon him;
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
As the heavens are higher than the earth,
My ways and thoughts are higher than yours.

And let him return unto the Lord,
and he will have mercy upon him;
and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.

For as the rain cometh down, and snow from heaven,
And maketh it bring forth and bud that it may give seed to sow,
that it may give bread to eat.

So shall my world be that goeth forth out of my mouth:
It shall not return unto me void,
but it shall accomplish that which I please it shall prosper
in the thing whereunto I sent it.

THE PRAYERS BCW

God of all mercies, we praise you that you have brought us to this new day, brightening
our lives with the dawn of promise and hope in Jesus Christ.
Especially we thank you for
the warmth of sunlight, the wetness of rain and snow, and all that nourishes the earth…
the presence and power of your Spirit . . .
the support and encouragement we receive from others . . .
those who provide for public safety and well-being . . .
the mission of the church around the world. . . .

Merciful God, strengthen us in prayer that we may lift up the brokenness of this
world for your healing, and share in the saving love of Jesus Christ.
Especially we pray for
those in positions of authority over others . . .
the lonely and forgotten . . .
children without families or homes . . .
agents of caring and relief . . .
the church in Asia and the Middle East. . . .

(Plainsong Mode 2: https://tinyurl.com/yctqq8cf)DL

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your Name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread;
and forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours,
now and for ever. Amen.

Give me eyes to see and ears to hear. I know there is light in the darkness that makes everything new. I know there is new life in suffering that opens a new earth for me. I know there is a joy beyond sorrow that rejuvenates my heart. Yes, Lord, I know that you are, that you act, that you love, that you indeed are Light, Life, and Truth. People, work, plans, projects, ideas, meetings, buildings, paintings, music, and literature all can only give me real joy and peace when I can see and hear them as reflections of your presence, your glory, your kingdom.

Let me then see and hear. Let me be so taken by what you show me and by what you say to me that your vision and hearing become my guide in life and impart meaning to all my concerns.

Let me see and hear what is really real, and let me have the courage to keep unmasking the endless unrealities, which disturb my life every day. Now I see only in a mirror, but one day, O Lord, I hope to see you face to face. Amen. Henri Nouwen

Music: https://tinyurl.com/y9efvwm5
Let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God,
and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with us all. Amen. 2 Cor. 13:14


Since 1993, Oremus has been done on a volunteer basis. If you are able, please consider supporting this work at the PayPal link below. For software reasons, I’ve set the value at $10.00, but feel free to change it. Thank you.

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BCW Book of Common Worship, Presbyterian Church U.S.A., 1993.

RCLP Revised Common Lectionary Prayers. © 2002 Consultation on Common Texts admin. Augsburg Fortress.

1 https://neatnik2009.wordpress.com/2018/08/20/feast-of-henri-nouwen-september-20/

The scripture readings are from the The New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Edition, The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

The traditional language psalms are from The Book of Common Prayer (1662). The modern language version of Psalm 107 is in the version sung by Karl Kohlhase http://www.k4communications.com/karl/index.html.

Musical links are usually either to artists’ albums posted on Spotify or to recordings made available at smallchurchmusic.com. Audio stripped from YouTube videos is footnoted accordingly above.

Compilation © 2021 Stephen T. Benner. All links worked at the time they were created, but I cannot accept responsibility for their content or any damage resulting from their use. The linked content is under the control of the respective content creators and is subject to change at any time. Any copyright texts included in this compilation are provided for non-commercial purposes related to study or worship. Please contact the respective copyright holders for permission to use the texts in other contexts.

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