Merton’s Voice:

Chesed (mercy) is also fidelity, it is also strength. It is the faithful, the indefectible mercy of God. It is ultimate and unfailing because it is the power that binds one person to another, in a covenant of hearts. It is the power that binds us to God because He has promised us mercy and will never fail in His promise.

A Merton Reader, ed. by Thomas P.  McDonnell, (New York: Image Books, 1989) 351.

Psalm: 33: 4:

For the word of the Lord is upright, and all his work is done in faithfulness.


“This is my Son, the beloved; he enjoys my favor. Listen to him.” (Matthew 17)

Nouwen’s Voice: If you are anxious and nervous and tense and upset, you don’t listen because your anxiety allows you no space to listen. You can’t receive the voice of God that assures us, ‘You are with me always, and all I have is yours’. Let us try to give time and space to that amazing voice, speaking in our hearts. Listening is creating the space in which you can hear the voice that says, ‘You are my beloved son, you are my beloved daughter, you are special to me. All that is mine is yours.


Discerning the Presence – by Henri Nouwen

The Gospels are filled with examples of God’s presence in the word. Personally, I am always touched by the story of Jesus in the synagogue of Nazareth. There he read from Isaiah:

The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
for he has anointed me
to bring good news to the afflicted.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives,
sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim a year of favor from the Lord.

(Luke 4:18-19)

After having read these words, Jesus said, “This text is being fulfilled today even while you are listening.” Suddenly, it becomes clear that the afflicted, the captives, the blind, and the oppressed are not people somewhere outside of the synagogue who, someday, will be liberated; they are the people who are listening. And it is in the listening that God becomes present and heals.

The Word of God is not a word to apply in our daily lives at some later date; it is a word to heal us through, and in, our listening here and now.

The questions therefore are: How does God come to me as I listen to the word? Where do I discern the healing hand of God touching me through the word? How are my sadness, my grief, and my mourning being transformed at this very moment? Do I sense the fire of God’s love purifying my heart and giving me new life? These questions lead me to the sacrament of the word, the sacred place of God’s real presence.