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Henri Nouwen fonds Item
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Photograph for A spirituality of peacemaking

Item consists of a photographs of black and white drawings of Henri Nouwen by Channing Theime. The drawings feature Nouwen's profile. He appears to be talking and his hands are gesturing in front of him.

Photograph for Behold the beauty of the Lord

Item consists of a photograph of a close-up of a painting of an icon featuring Mary and baby Jesus.This photograph appears to have been cut from a larger page of photographs, as there is an uneven line at the bottom edge. The photograph was used in Nouwen's book, Behold the Beauty of the Lord.

Photograph card for Behold the beauty of the Lord

Item consists of a blank photo card featuring a photograph entitled, "Restoration." The photograph features a table with a table cloth, a lit candle, a brown and grey chalice, and a plate with a loaf of bread. An open book can be seen resting on the table behind the bread. Metal folding chairs can be seen in the background.

Prayer and ministry

Item consists of a typescript of "Prayer and Ministry", a meditation by Nouwen based on Luke 9:28-36. Nouwen provides many examples of prayer and expounds on them using Jesus as the model. This meditation is less about ministry than it is about prayer.

Meditation given during the celebration of the life and death of Gus van der Woude

Item consists of a typescript of "Meditation given during the celebration of the life and death of Gus van der Woude, 20th April [sic], 1975", a meditation by Nouwen using Luke 24:13-34 (the road to Emmaus). This homily portrays Gus van der Woude as Jesus who is minister and pastor, and the people present at his funeral as the disciples. Just as Jesus lived after the resurrection, so van der Woude lives on as minister to his people.

Sermon on death

Item consists of a typescript of a sermon by Nouwen using Luke 9:20-31. This sermon discusses death and the ways we can learn to live more easily with our own death.

Live in harmony of mind: rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with the mourner

Item consists of a typescript of "Live in Harmony of mind: Rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with the mourner", a sermon likely given by Nouwen during his placement at the Menninger Foundation (Topeka, KS). The theme of the sermon is taking our eyes off the big and spectacular and realizing the gift of the present. A second page may not be related to the first, but is about finding ways to get an overview of life in order to see new things in our daily lives.

Confession and forgiveness

Item consists of a manuscript and typescript of "Confession and Forgiveness", a sermon given to the Unitarian Fellowship (KS). Nouwen spoke on confession and forgiveness and suggests that just as we can treat people badly physically, we can also do so spiritually, by focusing on their weaknesses. Forgiveness is necessary.

The immaculate conception of the blessed virgin Mary

Item consists of a manuscript of "The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary", a sermon given by Nouwen for Advent. Nouwen suggests that Mary believed and was therefore prepared when visited by the angel Gabriel. Her life was her preparation for her call.

Sermon on joy and suffering

Item consists of a manuscript of a sermon on joy and suffering. Nouwen begins with: "It is remarkable how many books there are written about sorrow, grief, anxiety - and how few about job." He suggests that it is hard to be joyful, but underscores that Paul calls us to be joyful just as the angels called on the poor shepherds to rejoice even when things were not perfect.

Sermon on Romans 13:10-12

Item consists of a manuscript of a sermon on Romans 13:10-12, which discusses rising from sleep. It is likely Nouwen gave this sermon during his time at the Menninger Foundation (Topeka, KS). He suggests that when we are sleeping the sleep of despair, it is dangerous and we are called to wake up and experience new light and new hope.

On departure

Item consists of a typescript of "On Departure", a sermon given by Nouwen to priests and seminarians at Moreau Seminary, University of Notre Dame, on May 12, 1968. He speaks about departure and leaving based on St. John 16:4-7. Nouwen's main theme is that, instead of viewing departure as a sad event, Jesus announces his leaving as something positive.

Marriage homily for Rick and Margaret [last names unknown]

Item consists of a manuscript of a marriage homily given by Nouwen at the wedding of Rick and Margaret (last names unknown). Nouwen suggests a good marriage consists of giving to each other, giving to others, and giving to God, as well as forgiving each other, others and God.

Sermon on It is easier to give than to receive

Item consists of a manuscript on "It is easier to give than to receive", a sermon on Jesus' message. Nouwen suggests that the minister must first learn to receive others before being able to minister to them.

Why do you invite people for dinner?

Item consists of a manuscript of "Why do you invite people to dinner?", a sermon given by Nouwen to priests and seminarians at Moreau Seminary, University of Notre Dame, before the summer break. He writes about hospitality: that inviting someone to dinner is also an invitation to intimacy, and that so is the Eucharist.

Sermon on What do you think of the priest?

Item consists of a typescript of a sermon on "What do you think about the priest?", given by Nouwen to priests and seminarians at Moreau Seminary, University of Notre Dame, on April 24, 1967. Nouwen addresses the drop in the number of priestly vocations, which causes him to reflect on priesthood and vocation.

Sermon on Jesus changes the water into wine ... wine into His own blood

Item consists of a manuscript of a sermon on "Jesus changes water into wine ... and wine into His own Blood", in which he suggests that pain and suffering are so dominant that we seldom focus on joy, celebration and love, but God does. Nouwen uses Cana as a sign of God's joy.

Sermon on John 6:1-15

Item consists of a typescript of a sermon on John 6:1-15, the idea that receiving is harder than giving. Jesus gives the bread but only after he receives it from a small boy. Ministry is as much about receiving as giving.

Be renewed in the spirit of your mind

Item consists of a typescript of "Be Renewed in the spirit of your mind", a sermon given by Nouwen in which he suggests that green in nature is a sign of hope, just as for us the Bible is also a sign of hope. The Bible is like a letter that God writes to us to help us to renew our spirits.

On balance

Item consists of a manuscript of "On Balance", a sermon in which Nouwen argues that we need to find a creative balance between dependence and independence; desire for closeness and desire for distance; commitment and detachment. He uses the experience of looking at a dancer as an entry point into the topic.

Three meditations

Item consists of a typescript of "Out of Solitude". Includes the Preface, Chapter 1: 'Out of Solitude', Chapter 2: 'With Care', Chapter 3: 'In Expectation', and the Conclusion. These meditations were given as sermons at Battell Chapel, Yale University.

How do we keep our lamps burning?

Item consists of the typescript of "How Do We Keep Our Lamps Burning?: A Sermon on Patience". Nouwen suggests that patience helps us live in the present beyond impatience and boredom to discover that the interruptions of our lives are our very work.

The clown

Item consists of a typescript of "The Clown", a sermon on clowns, ministry and weakness. Nouwen uses the circus as an image for our world. He suggests that people keep the circus functioning, as do people in our world. The clown is the one we identify with because he stumbles and makes mistakes like us. Christ was the clown to announce by his life that we are not what we perform. The minister's final task is to announce that God loves us beyond what we can ever perform. Thus we can laugh at our weakness.

Gratitude

Item consists of a typescript of "Gratitude", a sermon given by Nouwen for a Eucharistic service. Nouwen suggests that the spiritual life is one where we are not to master everything, but to be mastered; not to conquer, but to be conquered; not to fill our hearts, but to empty them; all to make a place within to receive the Word of God.

Ministry as hospitality

Item consists of a typescript for "Ministry as Hospitality", a sermon given by Nouwen on June 11, 1972. These ideas were later published in "Reaching Out".

With care

Item consists of a typescript for "With Care: Mark 6:30-44", a talk on care of the sick and pastoral counseling. Nouwen argues that cure without care is more harmful than helpful, even in the professional setting. He asks: What does it mean to care? How to become a caring community around the person who is suffering? Nouwen urges his listeners to go beyond the professional to the human in the "caring" professions. Similar ideas were published in "Out of Solitude".

Sermon on care

Item consists of a typescript of "With Care", a sermon on the care of the sick and pastoral counseling given by Nouwen at Harkness Chapel, Connecticut College, on March 10, 1974. Nouwen argues that cure without care is more harmful than helpful even in the professional setting. He asks: What does it mean to care? How do we become a caring community around the person who is suffering? Nouwen urges his listeners to go beyond the professional to the human in the "caring" professions. Similar ideas were published in "Out of Solitude".

How does it happen that each of us hears them in his own native language?

Item consists of a typescript of "How does it happen that each of us hears them in his own native language?", a talk Nouwen gave on the theme of Christian unity and ecumenicism. He uses St. Paul's text about many different languages to talk about unity and division in the Body of Christ. He argues that bread and wine is a sign of unity but perhaps also a sign of brokenness.

Death and Christ

Item consists of a typescript for "Death and Christ", a sermon given by Nouwen in which he suggests that death, which we do not want to confront, is also a way to life. Nouwen looks at how we avoid death in our culture and how we need to be willing to face our own death, which can become a sign of glory.

Behold the man

Item consists of a typescript of "Behold the Man", a sermon in which Nouwen reflects and prays on John 19:1-6, an image of Jesus brought out by Pilate after his scourging. The sermon is about Jesus' suffering. Item includes three pages of handwritten notes on John 19, in an unknown hand.

Sermon on Palm Sunday

Item consists of a typescript of a Palm Sunday sermon. Nouwen argues that Jesus goes from Palm Sunday adulation to Good Friday condemnation, but has no illusions. He suggests that we identify with the easy victory of Palm Sunday and we want it, but Jesus reminds us that we are fooling ourselves if we do not see that growth comes from our small and large sufferings.

Sermon on Ash Wednesday

Item consists of a manuscript for a sermon on Ash Wednesday. Nouwen comments on the text, "Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." He suggests that by doing so we no longer deny our mortality, we unmask the illusions about immortality, we see the preciousness of the gift of our lives, we fast and go beyond human realities, and we realize that the text is Good News. He talks about Lent, Palm Sunday and the spirituality of suffering.

On silence

Item consists of a typescript of "On Silence", a sermon given by Nouwen on March 2, 1972. Nouwen suggests that silence is painful and we run from it, but we will not find God in the noise because God's is a still, small voice that Jesus heard on the mountain early in the morning. Community is being called by the same voice. Ministry is born in silence.

Silence

Item consists of a typescript of "Silence", a sermon given by Nouwen. Nouwen argues that our busyness is often a cover for our fear of silence and emptiness. Silence means rest and availability and in it the Spirit of God prays and does creative work. It is a place where we find our center and prepares us for real encounters of friendship and intimacy. New life is born in silence.

About Zaccheus, who climbed the sycamore tree

Item consists of a typescript of "About Zaccheus, Who Climbed the Sycamore Tree", a sermon on the religious aspects of friendship. Nouwen argues that Zaccheus' openness to concentrate on Jesus with an openness to him, allows something to happen between them. Henri comments on the way we meet people but we are full of ideas, worries and tensions, or we wait to impress the other, or we listen to see if we agree or disagree. Without concentrating on the person, without having room in ourselves to receive the person and what is being said, we miss the opportunity for a real meeting.

Advent

Item consists of a typescript of "Advent", a sermon given by Nouwen on December 15, 1971. Nouwen argues that in Advent we know that God is not going to come on Christmas. We expect God in lightning and disaster. But perhaps Advent is waiting and preparing for the God who speaks to us in the gentle breeze. Advent is waiting, but it is also to know that we are waited for. Nouwen recounts the story of the prisoner of war who, at the point of giving up, receives a note from his wife saying they were waiting for him to come home. It changed everything for him. We have received a letter (the Scriptures), and we know God waits for us as we wait for God.

Moratorium

Item consists of a typescript of "Moratorium", a sermon given by Nouwen on May 4, 1972, on non-violence and the peace movement. Nouwen argues that we cannot protest violence with violence, and that is what makes it hard. The expression of our sadness will hopefully lead to repentance, and repentance to compassion, and compassion to peace. We must receive peace as a gift, knowing the elements of violence within ourselves, and growing in compassion for our friends and enemies alike.

Order of worship

Item consists of a typescript of an order of worship held in Marquand Chapel, Yale University, on Monday, November 6, (year unknown).

Out of the depths we want to cry to you O Lord

Item consists of a typescript of "Out of the Depths We Want to Cry to You O Lord", a sermon given by Nouwen during a memorial service for the dead in Indochina, held at the Battell Chapel, Yale University, on April 21, 1972. Includes a copy of Psalm 130.

Lenten meditations

Item consists of a typescript of "Lenten Meditations: Battell", a sermon given by Nouwen at Battell Chapel during Lent. It is a reflection about suffering and hope using the story of Jesus on the Cross and how we can look at him and hear the words that are addressed to him. Nouwen suggests that Jesus' death helps us with our death, and that we need to reflect on the abundant mercy of God.

This is my Son, the Beloved, listen to Him

Item consists of a typescript of "This is my Son, the Beloved. Listen to Him", a sermon given by Nouwen about God as Father, Jesus as Son, and people as Beloved sons and daughters, on November 14, 1979.

Meditation on prayer

Item consists of handwritten notes and a typescript of an Advent meditation on prayer, written between November 21 and 28, 1979. The meditation is based on listening to gospel texts that speak of God's coming and presence.

Meditation on prayer

Item consists of a typescript of a meditation on prayer given by Nouwen on December 12, 1979. He suggests that prayer is a discipline of faith. Prayer should not be for entertainment or to make us feel better, but to express a longing to know that God is with us.

Lenten meditations

Item consists of a typescript of a Lenten meditation given by Nouwen at Battell Chapel on February 5, 1980. It is based on Luke 22:47-62 - the betrayal and despair of Judas. This is contrasted with Peter's denial and hope.

Battell Lenten meditation

Item consists of a typescript of a Lenten meditation based on Luke 22:39-46 - how the suffering Jesus gives comfort and hope in suffering.

Prayer as listening

Item consists of a typescript of "Prayer as Listening", a talk Nouwen gave at a conference on prayer, at the Community of Celebration (Woodland Park, CO), on June 23, 1980. Nouwen talks about the intimate connection between theology and prayer, forms of prayer and the importance of listening.

Notes for sermon on spiritual life

Item consists of handwritten notes by Nouwen for a sermon on the spiritual life, likely given at a conference on prayer, at the Community of Celebration (Woodland Park, CO). Nouwen talks about how many Christians feel a heavy burden to save and redeem the world. He suggests instead that when Christians feel the need to be relevant, spectacular, and powerful, these are the temptations of Satan. Nouwen argues for the discipline to convert loneliness to solitude, and solitude to community.

Be still and know that I am God

Item consists of two drafts of typescripts for a meditation on Psalm 46:10 ("Be still and know that I am God"), given on November 7, 1979. Nouwen speaks about letting ourselves trust and find the stillness that allows God to meet us, to pray in us, to find us. He describes stillness, knowledge that goes beyond intellect, and the love of the God that we believe in and trust. The first draft is written in point-form; the second is likely written as it was spoken.

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