Appleton, WI

Jan. 11: Day by Day with Father Bill


-from Father Henri Nouwen

When Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River, he heard a voice from heaven saying, This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased. (Matthew 3:17) These words revealed the true identity of Jesus as the beloved. Jesus truly heard that voice, and all of his thoughts, words, and actions came forth from his deep knowledge that he was infinitely loved by God. Jesus lived his life from that inner place of love. Although human rejections, jealousies, resentments, and hatred did hurt him deeply, he remained anchored in the love of the Father. At the end of his life, he said to his disciples, Listen: the time will come – indeed has come already – when you are going to be scattered, each going one’s own way and leaving me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. (John 16:32) I know now that the words spoken to Jesus when he was baptized are words spoken also to me and to all who are brothers and sisters of Jesus. My tendencies toward self-rejection and self-deprecation make it hard to hear these words truly and let them descend into the center of my heart. But once I have received these words fully, I am set free from my compulsion to prove myself to the world and can live in it without belonging to it. Once I have accepted the truth that I am God’s beloved child, unconditionally loved, I can be sent into the world to speak and to act as Jesus did.

Father Bill +