Questions from above and below

Henri Nouwen writes about his friend Adam, who had profound physical and mental disabilities:

Could Adam pray? Did he know who God is and what the Name of Jesus means? Did he understand the mystery of God among us? For a long time I thought about these questions. For a long time I was curious about how much of what I knew, Adam could know, and how much of what I understood, Adam could understand. But now I see that these were for me questions from “below,” questions that reflected more my anxiety and uncertainty than God’s love. God’s questions, the questions from “above” were, “Can you let Adam lead you into prayer? Can you believe that I am in deep communion with Adam and that his life is a prayer? Can you let Adam be a living prayer at your table? Can you see my face in the face of Adam?”

2 thoughts on “Questions from above and below

  1. Thanks for sharing John. I’ve been working through 1 Corinthians with the lectionary and Paul’s reflection on foolishness and wisdom has led me to wonder similar things. If God’s wisdom is foolishness, then the life of faith can’t only be about what we state intellectually. There must be something else. Nouwen’s “above” questions point to that something.

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