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January 31, 2017

Book: Availability: The challenge and the gift of being present
Author: Robert J. Wicks
Sorin Books. Notre Dame, IN. 2015. Pp. 141

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

Drawing insights from his spiritual mentors Henri Nouwen and Thomas Merton, Wicks shows how entering into the turmoil and joy of other people's lives freely --- without compulsion, desperation, or obligation --- can lead to deeper self-knowledge and a powerful encounter with Christ. In this simple, accessible book, Wicks adeptly shows how self-awareness, compassion for others, and prayer are but different turns on the same road of finding and living the truth.

An Excerpt from the Book:

The choice is simple - but admittedly hard. We can move through life as if nothing but "getting ahead" and some religious awareness or practices are sufficient. The advantage: we don't have to take time to look at ourselves honestly and openly; we don't have to disturb anything. The disadvantage: we will always be aware we are missing something --- more than something., the element that can make us feel complete. Thus, we will always be anxious and prey to what people think, what we own, what we have accomplished in our eyes and the eyes of others.

The other choice: we can look at ourselves not in front of an angry God but in front of a loving God in whose presence we stand always, whether we admit it or not. The advantage: we will be open to a life of true gratitude, a life with meaning and purpose. The disadvantage: we will have, in Rahner's words, to leave the temporary security fed by our own denials and that of others avoiding reality and move out of "our little huts into (God's) night.

Table of Contents:

1. Being Available to . . . .Ourselves

1. Uniqueness
2. Failure and forgiveness
3. Self-awareness
4. Clarity

II. Being available to . . . . Others

5. Relationships
6. Their pain, our fears

III. Being available to . . . . God

7. Idols, anxieties, and letting go in the dark
8. Experiencing the Lord
In the presence of God: an epilogue
Annotated bibliography on prayer, prayerfulness, and the spiritual life