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Henri Nouwen was also a person whose heart was to serve the Lord. And as a world-renown Catholic educator and teacher he had a great deal of success in encouraging others in their faith. Yet one day, God asked him to leave that and become a house parent in the Le Arche community, an organization that gives homes to mentally and physically handicapped children. So he did. He left the world of the high flying speaker and entered a home where none of the people he was ‘father’ to knew of his fame and success. Believing that he would be serving them, Nouwen soon found that the shoe was on the other foot. When Nouwen came into a room he saw the faces of the children light up. Each day he was greeted with smiles and hugs, openly involved in the sorrows and success of the children, and generally made to feel like a valuable part of the community. Before long, Nowen found himself in the deepest pit of depression that he had ever experienced. In the face of the profound love and acceptance that these handicapped children had given him, Nouwen’s reliance on his ability to dazzle with knowledge crumbled and the loss was devastating. Yet it was in this breaking point that Nouwen experienced the unconditional love of God at the very core of his being and he understood that God can and does use the handicapped and wounded to do His will. Out of that experience came the wonderful book, The Wounded Healer, which ends with the statement that “the wound which causes us to suffer now will be revealed to us later as the place where God made his new creation in us most intimately known.

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