From The Inner Voice of Love

Being a child of God does not make you free from temptations.  You might have moments when you feel so blessed, so in God, so loved that you forget you are still living in a world of powers and principalities.  But your innocence as a child of God needs to be protected. Otherwise you will be easily pulled out of your true self and experience the devastating force of the darkness surrounding you…

When you are temporarily pulled out of your true self, you can have the sudden feeling that God is just a word, prayer is fantasy, sanctity is a dream, and eternal life is just an escape from true living.  Jesus was tempted in this way, and so are we.

Do not trust your thoughts and feelings when you are pulled out of yourself.  Return quickly to your true place, and pay no attention to what tricked you.  Gradually you will come to be more prepared for these temptations, and they will have less and less power over you.  Protect your innocence by holding on to the truth: you are a child of God and deeply loved.

-Henri Nouwen

You are a child of God and deeply loved.  We face so many temptations in the world today and can very easily forget this truth.  It is is not uncommon to find ourselves in competition with those around us, calculating our own value and the value of others by how well we do this, or how good we are at that. Quite simply, we forget that our value comes from our identity as children of God.  

We hear of Jesus being tempted by the devil--to turn stones to bread, to throw himself down and be caught by angels, to have all the kingdoms in the world.  He is being tempted to give in to the ways of the world and to test God. He is being tempted to forget his identity.  At yet, he counters each temptation, each possibility to give in to the “devastating force of darkness” surrounding him, with trust in the love of God.  

In the L’Arche Identity statement we say, “Mutual relationship and trust in God are at the heart of our journey together.” We seek to be people who rely on each other and God on this journey.  In our lives, and in community, there will be moments of joy and love, as Henri explains, where we celebrate together our identities as children of God.  And there will also be moments when we will be tempted to forget that we are children of God.  We may give in to the world telling us that we are only as important as what we do and who we know.  

But, in L’Arche, we have made the commitment to mutual relationship and trust in God. Because we have made this commitment together, we can, as Nouwen says, “protect our innocence” together.  We can work together each day to remind each other that we are children of god, and that we are deeply loved. And we can invite each person we encounter to join in this work.  Hold on to the truth. Hold on to the truth. Hold on to the truth.