Item 1562 - Friendship inner quality

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CA ON00389 F4-9-1-1562


Friendship inner quality


  • [August 7, 1974] (Creation)

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This item is a half-page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘Friendship inner quality’ published in the National Catholic Reporter, August 7, 1974. Nouwen begins the article by describing a visit to him from a former student in which they sat in companionable silence for a good portion of the visit. They each recognized the presence of Christ in the other and the student ended the time by saying ‘ From now on, wherever you go, or wherever I go, all the ground between us will be holy ground’. Nouwen then quotes Rainer Marie Rilke,‘ Love consists in this, that two solitudes protect and border and salute each other’. Nouwen interprets this understanding in the following way, ‘It made me see that the togetherness of friends and lovers can become moments in which we can enter into a common solitude which is not restricted by time and place’. He goes on to say, ‘Only slowly I become aware of the possibility to make the human encounters of my life into moments by which my solitude grows and expands itself to embrace more people into the community of my life. It indeed is possible for all those with whom I stayed for a moment or a long time to become members of that community since by their encounter in love all the ground between us has indeed become holy ground and since those who leave can stay in the hospitable solitude of the heart’. Nouwen goes on to cite examples of the ways humans relate but which need not replace this fruitful solitude of the heart.

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Published in National Catholic Reporter, ca. 7 August 1974.
"Aug 7/74" and "National Catholic Reporter" were written on the article.
There is a head shot photo of Nouwen, taken by Ron van den Bosch. See P6433 on Page 11 of Album 3 for a full-size version of the photo.
This article was published in a revised form in in Chapter 2 'A Receptive Solitude',in Nouwen, Henri, Reaching Out: The three movements of the spiritual life, published by Image Books,
Doubleday, N.Y, 1975.

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