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Posted April 6, 2006

Book: Love in a Fearful Land: A Guatemalan Story
Author: Henri Nouwen
Orbis Books, Maryknoll, NY, 2006, pp. 128

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

This book is Henri Nouwenís account of his pilgrimage to Santiago Atitlan, a Mayan town deep in the highlands of Guatemala. There an American priest, Father Stanley Rother of Oklahoma City, was murdered by a death squad.

In traveling to his parish Nouwen hoped to learn more about this modern martyr, about the faith that drew him there, and the love that held him there ó even though his life was at risk.

An Excerpt from the Book:

When John Vesey converted the bedroom where Stan was murdered into a chapel, he acted in the spirit of John Paul II and the Guatemalan bishops. Acting against our instinctual human tendency to avoid places touched by death as frightening or ďspooky,Ē John made Stanís room a place of prayer in which the cry for justice could be heard. Instead of asking people to forget the tragic events of the past and go on with their lives as if nothing had happened, he urged them to remember Stanís death, and draw strength from his memory in their daily struggle for dignity. Instead of maintaining a prudent and safe silence about the man who had given his life for the defense of his people, John didnít let a blessing, teaching, or sermon pass without loudly declaring Stanís courage and faith. Stanís martyrdom was constantly lifted up to resist the power of death and proclaim faith in the victory of the Lord of life. Every time the pastor and people of Santiago pray, they pray with a faith strengthened by their martyrís blood.

When Peter and I saw John surrounded by thousands of loudly praying Tzutuhil Indians, we saw clearly how much hope their new priest was giving them. They had asked God for a pastor to continue their Fatherís work, they had prayed for three years, and now he had come. Indeed, the light is stronger than the darkness, love is stronger than fear, and life is stronger than death.

Table of Contents:

Stories to be told
Santiago Atitlan
Stanís room
For Christ in his people
A quiet giant
A busy parish
Increasing violence
The Good Shepherd
Fears and smiles
Terror at his doorstep
Subversive service
On the death list
ďOne accusation I donít want
Fearful of death
The seed of the Church
A new friendship
Sentir con la iglesia: To feel with the Church
From Visitation Parish to Santiago Atitlan
A call to prayer
Prayer and martyrdom
Proclaiming the message, welcome or unwelcome
Home and beyond