With Burning Hearts: A Meditation on the Eucharistic Life Henri J. M. Nouwen
Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 2003 (illustrated version).
Using the story of the walk to Emmaus (Luke 24) as his guide, Nouwen invites us to sit with the sacrament of communion and find ways to bring the awe and wonder back to this sacrament.
We are reminded that we can bring our broken hearts to Christ’s table and there we will be joined with others who have broken hearts too. We are called to respond to our losses not with resentment but with gratitude (34). Nouwen urges us to take responsibility for our part in human brokenness. Only after accepting responsibility can we respond in gratitude.
I first read this book while in the midst of deep grief and wondered how do you hold in your heart all nature speaking of her and the new beginning when you still miss her so much? After much reflection, the answer is to come to the table as I am and be willing to be transformed. Eating at Christ’s table and being part of a faith community doesn’t immediately remove your pain. It does give you a place to share with others who have had pain in their lives. It gives you a place to be a giver and a receiver and a call to go out into the world with what you have learned. The word transforms us and transforms our worldview.
“That’s the Eucharistic life, the life in which everything becomes a way of saying “Thank you” to him who joined us on the road” (126). I recommend this book to anyone who wants to think more about living a life filled with thanksgiving. While the book is not challenging to read, it may challenge the way you think about others, the sacrament of communion, and yourself. [Read more…]