March 2008

The Road to Daybreak
A Spiritual Journey

by Henri J M Nouwen

Leaving Harvard   Continue from ......

These thoughts came to me as I was reaching one of St Francis Xavier's letters from his mission field. In his youth he was a student and ambitious lecturer at the University of Paris. There he met Ignatius of Loyola and became one of his first companions. He writes:

Francis Xavier wrote this many years after he had left the university. His new milieu, in which many people asked him to enlighten them with faith, made him see how many of those with whom he had lived and studied had been wasting their talents in the search for power and success and thereby were not available for the work of salvation that needed so urgently to be done.

Little has changed since the sixteenth century. After only a few weeks away from the competitive, ambitious, career-oriented life at Harvard Divinity School, I already feel the desire to say some of the things that Francis Xavier said. But it seems better not to play the prophet. I am not a Francis Xavier, nor do I wish to be. My dominant feeling toward Harvard is not indignation, but gratitude. Notwithstanding its pretentiousness, Harvard was the place where I met some of my most caring friends, where I became most acutely aware of my desire to love Jesus without compromise, and where I discovered my vocation to live and work with mentally handicapped people. Without a Harvard there probably would not have been a L'Arche for me either.

- To Be Continued -

© Copyright Shalom 2008. All rights reserved.