Being Merciful with Ourselves

Snow days are good.

Slow down.

Seek some silence.

We need silence in our lives. We even desire it.  But when we enter into silence we encounter a lot of inner noises, often so disturbing that a busy and distracting life seems preferable to a time of silence. Two disturbing “noises” present themselves quickly in our silence: the noise of lust and the noise of anger. Lust reveals our many unsatisfied needs, anger or many unresolved relationships. But lust and anger are very hard to face.

What are we to do? Jesus says, “Go and learn the meaning of the words: Mercy is what pleases me, not sacrifice” (Matthew 9:13). Sacrifice here means “offering up,” “cutting out,” “burning away,” or “killing.” We shouldn’t do that with our lust and anger. It simply won’t work. But we can be merciful toward our own noisy selves and turn these enemies into friends.

[from Bread for the Journey by Henri Nouwen.]

What are the inner noises that disturb you?

We must learn the meaning of mercy and extend it to our own noisy hearts.


Snow from 2006

2 thoughts on “Being Merciful with Ourselves

  1. Spoken by someone who has met the end of herself within that quiet. I always have believed that we can only truly get quiet in our lives when we come to the end of ourselves. That’s where we give up the illusions and distractions and either look at ourselves in the mirror, or we look at the reflection that God gives us. You speak very succinctly and eloquently of both here.


    1. Well, hopefully we don’t have to come to the end to be open to the quiet. But I suppose it does make us listen more intently and with care.


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