it starts in small corners

Wednesday, August 28, 1996

During the Eucharist we spoke about courage. The word courage comes from Coeur, which means “heart.” To have courage is to listen to our heart, to speak from our heart, and to act from our heart. Our heart, which is the center of our being, is the seat of courage.

Often we debate current issues and express our opinions about them. But courage is taking a stance, even an unpopular stance, not because we think differently from others but because from the center of our being we realize how to respond to the situation we are in. Courage does not require spectacular gestures. Courage often starts in small corners: it is courageous not to participate in gossip, not to talk behind someone’s back, not to ridicule another. It is courageous to think well of other people and be grateful to them even when we live different lives than they do. It is courageous to reach out to a poor person, to spend time with a troubled child, to participate in action to prevent war and violence, abuse and manipulation.

Often we praise prophets after they are dead. Are we willing to be prophets while we are alive?

Henri J. M. Nouwen, Sabbatical Journey The Diary of His Final Year



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