Friday, January 06, 2012

What Is Most Personal Is What Is Most Communal

Woman praying in Church of the Nativity,
Henri Nouwen writes:

"What is most personal proves to be most communal; what is most intimate proves to be the most public; what is most nourishing for our individual lives proves to be the best food for our lives as the people of God living in and acting on behalf of a suffering world." (Nouwen, Spiritual Formation: Following the Movements of the Spirit, K 318)

What does Nouwen mean by this?

For Nouwen, spiritual formation and transformation happens in the "deep waters of the human heart." (Prov. 20:5)

The deeper the Spirit goes in the human heart, the more persons are all the same.

That which is "most personal" about a person is what lies in the deep waters of their heart; in the deepest center of their being.

Since this is the place where all persons are the same, therefore what is mnost personal is most public, and most communal.

I have expressed this in terms of ontological dualities of human personhood.