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University of St. Michael's College, John M. Kelly Library, Special Collections Henri Nouwen fonds
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Henri Nouwen fonds

  • CA ON00389 F4
  • Fonds
  • 1910 - 1997, 1964 - 1996 predominant

Fonds consists of 15 series:

  1. Manuscripts
  2. General files
  3. Calendar files
  4. Personal records
  5. Publisher files
  6. Financial files
  7. Teaching materials
  8. Nouwen’s education records and study notes
  9. Published works
  10. Video recordings of Nouwen
  11. Sound recordings
  12. Collected materials
  13. L'Arche Daybreak administrative files
  14. Ephemera and artifacts
  15. Photographs

Nouwen, Henri J.M.

Report on the possibility and desirability of love

This item consists of a two page article by Henri Nouwen entitled: On the possibility and desirability of love, published in The National Catholic Reporter, April 10. 1968, pp. 7-8. Nouwen begins his article by asking if love is possible at all. ‘Is there a spark of misunderstanding in every intimate encounter, a painful experience of separateness in every attempt to unite, a fearful resistance in every act of surrender?’ He then states that he intends to describe what he calls two main forms of existing: 1) a power or ‘taking’ form and 2) a forgiving form. He then finally intends to ask the crucial questions, ‘Is love a utopian dream or a possibility within our reach?’ There are three major headings in the article: 1) The taking form, 2) The forgiving form and 3)The possibility of love. In 1) Nouwen describes the taking form as a form of power. We objectify the other, we try to control, to manipulate vulnerabilities and weaknesses and classify and label others. ‘This leaves us with the suspicion that the reality which we call “love” is nothing other than a blanket to cover the real fact that a man and a woman conquer each other in a long, subtle skirmish of taking movements in which one is always the winner who manipulates the other… we find ourselves doomed to the impossibility of love’. In 2) Nouwen describes the forgiving form as one of trust, openness and vulnerability. He suggests some characteristics of love. Love is truthful, tender and asks for total disarmament. He asks: ‘Can we ever meet a fellow man without any protection? Reveal ourselves to him in our total vulnerability? In 3) The possibility of love, Nouwen attempts to answer these questions. He begins by noting that life is often a very painful fluctuation between the two desires to take and to forgive. ‘And we have good reasons to be afraid. Love means openness, vulnerability and confession.’ Again, Nouwen asks if real love is possible and answers by saying that it is not if ‘the only real and final solution to life is death’. He then points to the person who he suggests has broken through the vicious circle and quotes from the prologue to the Gospel of John which speaks of Jesus breakthrough. ‘Suddenly everything is converted into its opposite. Darkness into light, enslavement into freedom, death into life, taking into giving, destruction into creation and hatred into love’. He concludes by stating that ‘the core of the Christian message is exactly this message of the possibility of transcending the taking form of our human existence.

The death of Dr. King

This item consists of a one page article by Henri Nouwen entitled: The Death of Dr King, published in the National Catholic Reporter, December 18, 1968, p. 4. This article is a subjective reflection by Nouwen on the atmosphere, experience and people he encountered following the death of Dr Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4, 1968. Nouwen uses a number of headings : 1) The News – this begins in Chicago where he first hears of King’s assassination. He describes the muted responses of the people he meets, 'Martin Luther King was dead, killed, assassinated. Everybody knew it but nobody wanted to know it'. 2) The Party – Here Nouwen describes the atmosphere at a party following his talk and notes particularly that most people are avoiding speaking of Dr King’s death. 3) The Cool City – moves on to Topeka, Kansas where Nouwen reflects on the contrast between the ‘slickness and artificiality’ and ‘the madness’. ‘We were killing the prophets…Between the hollow voices of those who tried to advertise their latest product, it became clear that violence was cutting through the thresholds of restraint. Topeka seemed a cool and indifferent city’. 4) In Kansas City Nouwen visits a young man in prison for draft evasion. This young man speaks of the influence of Dr King on his life and the lives of his fellow prisoners and the atmosphere in the prison: ’when they heard that he was dead they doubled the guards. They did not understand that we were just crying, my Afro-American friends and me’. 5) The Cab Driver –this speaks of Nouwen’s decision to change his plans and travel to Atlanta for the funeral. He describes his encounter at the airport with a cab driver who is also going. The cab driver shares with Nouwen: ‘ Dr King just tried to take Christ’s words seriously. He realized he had to follow him all the way. What would happen if we really would do just that?’ The remainder of the article describes the atmosphere in Atlanta: ‘It was a special occasion in which happiness and joy merged with sadness and distress. Perhaps it had never been different for them.’ Nouwen concludes this article by reflecting on his hope despite all the ‘anger, grief and frustration’. ‘I knew that out of my exhaustion a new faith could grow, a faith that it is possible to love’.

Find your center

This item is a half page article by Henri Nouwen entitled: Find Your Center, published in the National Catholic Reporter, May 3, 1974. This article is a continuation of Nouwen’s article from the National Catholic Reporter, April 26, 1974. He introduces this article by saying,” To live a Christian life means to live in the world without being of it. It is in solitude that this inner freedom can grow”. The entire article is a development of his statement that” A life without a lonely place, that is, a life without a quiet center,, easily becomes destructive since by clinging to the results of our actions as our only way of self-identification we become possessive and defensive and tend to look at our fellow human beings more as enemies to be kept at a distance than as friends with whom we share the gifts of life”. Nouwen discusses the importance to Jesus of his times of solitude and silence which fed his ministry and enabled him to face his death. The article concludes,” When you are somewhere able to create the lonely place in the middle of your actions and concerns, your successes or failures can slowly lose some of their powers over you.”

Protecting intimacy

This item is a half page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Protecting Intimacy’ published in the National Catholic Reporter, May 10, 1974. Nouwen begins this article by stating,”A most painful thing to say is that intimate love does not take our loneliness away but protects it and converts it into solitude. Therefore intimacy is first of all a protecting intimacy allowing us to move from loneliness to solitude.” Nouwen then goes on to give an example of a family whose mode of living is to avoid pain in their relationships. Nouwen suggests that “this world is full of lonely people trying hard to love each other without succeeding. The question is if this is not largely due to the fact that we are not able to face the pain of our loneliness”. Nouwen concludes by stating,“ Intimacy,..does not mean entering the other with an intruding curiosity or a hungry need for satisfaction. Intimacy touches gently, intimacy does not take, but gives, does not suffocate but lets grow, does not conquer and possess but sets free and keeps free.”

Out of solitude, healing

This item is a half-page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, Out of Solitude, Healing, published in the National Catholic Reporter, c. May 24, 1974. Renewing the theme of solitude from his previous articles (April and May) Nouwen states, “In solitude history becomes Kairos, which means history converts from a random collection of disconnected events into a constant opportunity for a change of heart and mind”. He goes on to say in clarification, “When history becomes Kairos, I am called to search for hope even in the middle of crying cities, burning hospitals and desperate parents and children”. Kairos, Nouwen suggests brings the depths of the heart into the actions of mind and hand; in Kairos which we touch in solitude, our actions are transformed. Nouwen concludes, “Every time in history that men and women have been able to respond to the manifestations of evil and death as to a Kairos, a historic opportunity, an inexhaustible source of generosity and new life has been opened, offering hope far beyond the limits of human prediction”.

Openness can get stale

This item is a half-page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘Openness can get Stale’ published in the National Catholic Reporter, June 21, 1974, p. 13. Nouwen begins the article by stating, ‘There is a false form of honesty that suggests nothing should remain hidden and everything should be said, expressed and communicated’. The article suggests that a lack of boundaries in relationships and a lack of silence and solitude can lead to a violation of our ‘inner sanctuary’. Nouwen writes that for all the openness we offer to one another there is however, still a ‘desire for protective boundaries by which man and woman do not have to cling to each other but can move graciously in and out of each other’s circle’. He then asks how we can find the road to conversion, ‘the conversion from loneliness into solitude. Instead of running away from my loneliness and trying to forget or deny it, I have to carefully protect it and turn it into a fruitful solitude’. Nouwen ends the article with a reference to his own struggles with this issue and concludes by stating, ‘The few times however in which I followed the counsel of my severe masters and listen silently to my restless heart I started to sense that in the middle of my sadness there was joy, that in the middle of my fears there was peace, that in the middle of my greediness there was compassion and that indeed in the middle of my irking loneliness I could find the beginnings of a quiet solitude’

Case-recording in pastoral education

This item is a 9 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘Case-Recording in Pastoral Education’ published in The Journal of the Academy of Parish Clergy, by the Academy of Parish Clergy, Minneapolis, Mn., 1974, p. 16 – 24. In this article Nouwen is writing about the value for parish clergy of note-making in their interactions with parishioners. Although Nouwen suggests that such note-making is rarely done he outlines in the article a number of reasons why it is valuable and offers some case-studies as evidence. Nouwen first identifies some reasons why there may be resistance in clergy to undertake note-making: 1) That the interactions are private and privileged, 2) That note-taking is a form of creativity which pastors may not see as being relevant to their work 3) That pastors may not see the relevance of what they do to the development of pastoral theology. Nouwen then discusses some values of note-making for pastors: 1) It is a professional task and one which, if the pastor is to be considered a professional among other professionals, must be done.. ‘The pastor cannot seriously claim a place on the professional team if he does not have his case-record by which he presents his work with the patient for discussion, criticism and evaluation. 2) It is a form of self-supervision. Here Nouwen quotes Russell Dick, BD, that note writing ‘is a check upon one’s work; it is a clarifying and developing process; it relieves emotional strains for the writer.’ Preceding the presentation of several case studies Nouwen states the following, ‘ One of the reasons it is so difficult to learn from experience is that the nature of the experience itself often remains obscure, ambiguous or vague. Sometimes the pastor feels happy after a visit, sometimes disappointed, sometimes sad, angry or depressed. In many ways the pastor senses vaguely that something went right or wrong, but cannot put a finger on it. Usually he does not stop to think or reflect but moves on to another experience allowing his feelings to drift into the background, unavailable as a potential source for learning. But if the pastor sits and writes the conversation as he or she remembers it, and tries to formulate personal observations of the situation and reactions to it, the cloud can vanish and the experience can become clear and visible’.

Stranger in paradise

This item is a 6 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Stranger in Paradise’, published in The Sign: National Catholic Magazine, Volume 55, No. 7, April 1976, PP. 13 – 18. It is part one of a two-part article. This article is an excerpt from: Nouwen, Henri: Genesee Diary, Doubleday & Co., 1976. Nouwen begins by stating that ‘My desire to live for seven months in a Trappist monastery, not as a guest but as a monk, did not develop overnight’. The remainder of the article describes some of his struggles and insights as he lived the life of a monk. Nouwen states that he had been looking for someone to help him find direction in his life. He then met Father John Eudes Bamberger at the monastery of Our Lady of Gethsemani in Kentucky in whom he says he found what he had been looking for: ‘He listened to me with care and real interest, but he also spoke with deep conviction and a clear vision…’. Three years later Nouwen went to the Abbey of the Genesee where Bamberger had become Abbot. It is the experience of the seven months in which lived as a monk at this Abbey which is the focus of this article and of the book from which it is taken. Nouwen describes his struggle with the rhythms and work of the monastic life; his struggle understanding monastic concepts of obedience and his own depression that followed his first month. Nouwen then outlines some of the areas in which he feels is learning: 1) Wanting to be different- Nouwen describes his lifelong desire to be thought different and his growing discovery that in the monastery one is to be unnoticed, not special, and in this ‘The mystery of God’s love is that in this sameness, we discover our uniqueness’. 2) Sacred Rhythm – ‘One of the things a monastery like this does for you is give a new rhythm, a sacred rhythm’ and in this, Nouwen rediscovers the Saints. 3) Mary – in the monastery Nouwen rediscovers his devotion to Mary that was part of his family life. 4) Love – In his time in this monastery Nouwen says he struggled with the sense that his experience of love had been ‘limited, imperfect and weak’. Nouwen goes on to say ‘I am beginning to experience that an unconditional, total love of God makes a very articulate, alert and attentive love for the neighbor possible’.

Compassion

This item is a 3 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled Compassion, published in Exchange, Summer 1976, pp. 8 – 10. Nouwen begins this article by saying ‘The word “compassion” always brings to mind a relationship with people…to be with a suffering human being, to suffer with him or her.’ He then asks if it is not possible also to speak about compassion with God which he sees as the basis for our compassion with others. Nouwen sees the dynamic of compassion with God as rooted in Jesus. ‘The great mystery of the spiritual life is that it is a life of union with God. But this union with God is a union through Jesus Christ who suffered all the pains of the world and carried these pains with him into his intimacy with the Father’. Nouwen goes on to say that ‘We cannot carry the pains of our world in our own mind but we can carry [them] in the mind of Jesus Christ’. Nouwen concludes the article by stating ‘Our hearts and minds are too small to carry the burdens of the world but in God’s mind and heart there is room for all that hurts’.

Called to be hosts

This item is a 2 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled: Called to be Hosts, published in Faith/At/Work, September, 1976, p 30-31. Nouwen begins the article by stating ‘The call to ministry is the call to be a host to the many strangers passing by. In this world full of strangers…we search for a hospitable place, where life can be found’. Nouwen speaks then of our ambivalent feelings towards the stranger of both fear and attraction and suggests that ‘during the last years strangers have become more subject to hostility than to hospitality’. Nouwen then goes on to speak of the way in which a minister is to offer healing hospitality to the stranger. He speaks of the need to offer a space where the stranger can grow to be himself. ‘This will come to pass only when ministry is undergirded by spirituality, that is, when the outer movement from hostility to hospitality is supported by an inner movement from property to poverty. Poverty means that my identity in the final analysis is not determined by what I can do or think, but by what God’s Spirit can do, say, and think in me.’ Nouwen concludes, ‘When poverty enables us to create a friendly space for the stranger and to convert hostility into hospitality, then the stranger might be willing to show his real face’.

Compassion

This item is a one page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Compassion: Bringing us Together’, published in The Sign, October 1976, p. 38. Nouwen begins the article with the example of the monk Thomas Merton’s growth in compassion as he lived his life in the monastery. Though unrecognized by Merton until he began teaching student monks, ‘he realized that they were sent to him to lead him away from his own paralyzing fear into a new and creative relationship with others.This sequence of events in Merton’s life reveals something of the mysterious way in which compassion belongs to the core of any type of community life’. Nouwen describes compassion as a discovery and fellowship with ‘the other’ and it is this which helps creates community. Nouwen suggests however, that we should not be sentimental about people who are compassionate and points to a number of examples of people who were both compassionate and yet in some sense, difficult: Van Gogh, J.H. Newman, Dag Hammarskjold, Merton. Nouwen concludes by stating, ‘The Christian community is a community in which people are sounding through to each other the great love of God which binds them together. The gift of compassion makes it possible for us to recognize this love in each other and bring it to the forefront’.

Compulsions led him to a monastery

This item is a one page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Compulsions led him to a Monastery’, published in The Catholic Witness, Oct 7, 1976. This article is an excerpt from: Nouwen, Henri, ‘The Genesse Diary, Image Books, Doubleday & Co., Garden City, New York, 1976. Nouwen begins this article by describing his distracted and restless life and his lack of time for prayer and quiet which leads him to spend seven months living the monastic life at the Abbey of the Genesee in upstate New York. He speaks of his desire to be different, sensational but discovers that ‘in recent years, I have become increasingly aware of the dangerous possibility of making the word of God sensational’. During his time at the monastery he asks the Abbot, John Eudes Bamberger, how, when he returns to his busy life, he can develop a deep prayer life. Bamberger’s answer is, he says, simple: ‘ The only solution is a prayer schedule that you will never break without consulting your spiritual director’. This schedule will include setting a firm time which cannot be changed and to remain at prayer however ‘useless’ this time appears to be. Nouwen concludes by suggesting that though he is distracted and unclear what his prayer may be doing for him, in retrospect he senses that he is growing.

'What do you know by heart?': learning spirituality

This item is a 3 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, “‘What do you know by heart?’: Learning Spirituality”, published in Sojourners, August , 1977, pp. 14 – 16. Nouwen begins this article outlining his theme by using a story which he says ‘expresses in a simple but powerful way the importance of spiritual formation in theological education’. Nouwen then goes on to speak of the inadequacy in theological studies of ‘head’ knowledge. What is also needed he says is ‘heart’ knowledge; spiritual formation. Nouwen suggests three themes which he says are important in the context of theological education: Lectio Divina, silence and guidance. By Lectio he means the prayerful, meditative reading of scripture. By silence he suggests the ground for the word to bear fruit. He says, ‘In silence the word of scripture can be received and meditated on.’ Nouwen talks of guidance as the need for someone competent to help the student through the pitfalls of spiritual formation. Nouwen then goes on to stress in addition that ‘Christian spirituality is in essence communal’. ‘All of this suggests strongly that spiritual formation in theological education includes ongoing formation in community life’. Nouwen sees the need then for emphasis on the communal in classroom, worship, and responsibility for one another. He says, ‘So spiritual life is always communal. It flows from community and it creates community’. Nouwen concludes the article by stressing the role of the Holy Spirit in all spiritual life and ends with the following conclusion:’ Spiritual formation gives us a free heart able to see the face of God in the midst of a hardened world and allows us to use our skills to make that face visible to all who live in darkness’.

Article about Nouwen's views about Yale's mission

This item is a one-half page article by Henri Nouwen included in a series entitled, Five Faculty Views of the University’s Mission, published in the Yale Alumni Magazine and Journal, November 1977, p. 10-11. Nouwen begins by asking if it isn’t preposterous to speak about the mission of Yale because mission implies being sent to serve which for missionaries involves not an upward, but a downward movement to the path of pain and suffering. For Yale students however, he suggests the path is directed upward to be successful lawyers, doctors, executives. Nouwen then goes on to say that he does not see the argument as so simple after all. Nouwen says, ‘there is little doubt that Yale is a secular institution. [But] it is also an institution in which the call to service is continually heard.’ At Yale, Nouwen points out, hundreds of students study the sacred scriptures, the sacraments of the church are received, ‘it is a center where people from the most varied religious traditions meet…it is the home where people come together to assist the poor, visit the elderly, to tutor disadvantaged youth…’. Nouwen concludes by saying,’ so there might be a mission for Yale after all: to send men and women into our society who know the world and have acquired the knowledge and the skills to fulfill a task in it, but who also realize that the value of their lives does not depend on what they have been able to acquire, but on how much they have been able to serve their fellow human beings’.

Solitude and community

This item is an 11 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled,‘ Solitude and Community’, published in Worship, January 1978, pp. 13 – 23. Nouwen begins the article by noting that many people who live in community are asking how to find space and time for themselves because the intensity of community life has proved difficult. Nouwen identifies the purpose of this article as; ‘to offer some reflections on solitude in community in the hope that for some communities these ideas may offer new strength to remain faithful to the vision which originally brought them together’. Nouwen begins by identifying two viewpoints about the role of solitude in community which he considers false or too limited: 1) Solitude over against community and 2) Solitude in Service of community. This latter he clarifies solitude considered as simply ‘a tool in the service of life together’. Under the heading, ‘Solitude and Community’ Nouwen suggests what he sees as the real relationship between the two: ‘Solitude without community leads us to loneliness and despair, but community without solitude hurls us into a “void of words and feelings”’. He then goes on to state,’ I now would like to develop this view in more detail by relating solitude to intimacy, clarity and prayer’. In discussing what he intends by ‘intimacy’ Nouwen states that in solitude members of community may grow closer to each other. Nouwen states that constant talking things out without the depth provided by solitude, does not lead to communal growth. He suggests that ‘in solitude we are given the awareness of a unity that is prior to all unifying actions’. With regard to ‘clarity’ Nouwen states, ‘In solitude we begin to see more clearly and are more able to distinguish between what can be shared and what should be left unspoken’. In discussing ‘prayer’ Nouwen says the following ‘When I speak of prayer I refer less to saying prayers than to living a prayerful life in which eating and drinking, sleeping waking, working and praying are all done to the honor and glory of God’. Nouwen concludes the article by pointing out the difficulty of living out what he has said because of the many forces against, it but that it would be important then to consider ‘Education to solitude…is an important task for communities…’

Letting go of all things

This item is a 2 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘ Letting Go of All Things’, published in Sojourners magazine, May 1979, pp. 5& 6. This article is identified as a ‘response to “The Work of Prayer” a project of Sojourners to pray for peace in face of the arms race. Nouwen begins by asking what this call might mean: does it represent a failure of action? A turning to God because turning to people didn’t help much? A capitulation to quietism? A dramatic gesture? Nouwen believes not: ‘I believe that the Sojourners are discovering a dimension of prayer they did not see before…I see their call not as an invitation to retreat into a familiar piety , but as a challenge to make a radical move toward prayer as “the only necessary thing”’. Nouwen suggests prayer as a dying to self, an opening to God, is the ground from which people move out into the world of action. Nouwen concludes, ‘ When …our act of prayer remains the act from which all actions flow, we can be joyful even when our times are depressing, peaceful even when the threat of war is all around us, hopeful even when we are constantly tempted to despair.

Article about Nouwen's feelings after attending the June 1980 Community of Communities Theological Conference

This item is a one column article by Henri Nouwen with no title but part of a larger article entitled ‘Hearing Heart to Heart, responses to a theological conference on prayer, published in Sojourners, October 1980, p.23,24. Nouwen begins by identifying his physical and emotional tiredness when he arrived at the conference but then states, ‘My week [at Woodland Park] will stick in my mind as one of the most hopeful events of my life’. Nouwen states that he does not speak of hope as optimism but the hope and trust in God who promises ‘unwavering faithfulness’. Nouwen then goes on to state that he learned from the conference that there are two essential aspects to the common life: prayer and resistance. Prayer holds the community steady and resistance is ‘an act of visible protest against the powers who are bent on waging war even at the cost of the destruction of humanity’.

Temptation: the pull toward upward mobility

This item is a 3 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Temptation’, published in Sojourners,Vol. 10, No. 7, July , 1981, pp. 25 -27. This is part two of a three part series. Nouwen begins by stating that the spiritual life is ‘the life of the Spirit of Christ within and among us’. He then suggests that there is also the ‘Evil One’ who roams among us and tempts us away from the life of Jesus. This article looks at the three temptations of Jesus in the wilderness. The first temptation Nouwen identifies as the temptation to be relevant. ‘This temptation touches us at the center of our identity. In a variety of ways we are made to believe that we are what we produce’. The second temptation Nouwen identifies as the temptation to be spectacular. ‘We have come to believe that a service is valuable when many attend, a protest meeting is worthwhile when television cameras are present…’ Nouwen suggests that we value things that get a great deal of attention but forget the quiet unobtrusive ways of Jesus. The third temptation is the temptation to be powerful. Nouwen suggests we long for power, but the more we have the less we are satisfied. He goes on to point out that the only power that ‘works’ is the power of God which is often seen as powerlessness. ‘We do not belong to the world. We belong to God’.

Spiritual direction

This item is a 6 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled 'Spiritual Direction' published in Worship, Collegeville, Minnesota, Volume 55, Number 5, September, 1981, pp. 399 - 404.
Nouwen begins this article by stating his definition of spiritual direction. ‘Spiritual direction is direction given to people in their relationship with God’ Nouwen then goes on to say ‘I would like to offer a few ideas which might help in defining the nature of this ministry…which might begin to suggest some concrete ways in which this ministry can be practiced’. Under his first heading which speaks about the movement ‘from absurdity to obedience’ Nouwen defines the first as the root of ‘deaf’ and the second as the root of ‘listening’. Nouwen speaks of the difficulty of moving from the busyness of the absurd/deaf life to being willing to hear and then gain the discipline of obedient following of God. In his second section Nouwen speaks of ‘The three disciplines of the spiritual life’. These disciplines are identified as: the discipline of the church, the discipline of the Book and the discipline of the heart. Nouwen concludes his article by suggesting that at this time in history when many traditional ways of living are breaking down and people are turning to religious leaders for guidance, this is more than ever a time to consider spiritual direction.

Entering the heart of God

This item is a 2 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Entering the Heart of God’, published in The Catholic Agitator, February 4, 1984, pp. 4-5. This article is identified as a condensation from a talk which Nouwen gave in Pasadena, Ca. on October 10, 1983. Nouwen opens the article by stating, ‘Every time we celebrate the Eucharist we say, “Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again”. I have repeated those words over and over again daily, but since I went to Central America they have taken on new meaning for me’. In the first section of the article entitled ‘Christ has died”, Nouwen says that in his visit to Nicaragua ‘I saw Christ being crucified again’. He reminds people that even though they may have many troubles at home the Christian also enters into the heart of God who ‘became all humanity’ and that there is therefore a broader responsibility for one another. Nouwen discusses his hope that the church in Central America would at least be providing a word of peace and hope but that instead he found division and confusion. In the second section entitled, ‘Christ has risen’ Nouwen begins by stating that this means that ‘there is no pain or agony or confusion or conflict that has the final say’. Nouwen speaks of the meeting between a number of Americans and some women of Nicaragua who had lost children, husbands and others to U.S. supported violence from Honduras. The Americans asked forgiveness for the actions of their government and in a moment of powerful presence, it was given. ‘They wanted us to be free from our guilt so that we could speak for them and for peace. In the third section entitled, ‘Christ will come again’ Nouwen says that that moment will be when Christ does not ask if you were successful but what we have done ‘for the least of these’.

Intimacy, fecundity and ecstasy

This item is a 7 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Intimacy, Fecundity and Ecstasy’ published in Radix, May/June 1984, N 8 – 23, pp. 8 – 12, 22-23. Nouwen begins with a quotation from John’s Gospel, Chapter 15, and introduces a connection with this gospel passage and the work of Jean Vanier, the founder of L’Arche. ‘Out of that experience of living with severely handicapped people, Jean Vanier came to a conclusion, a kind of vision, that all human beings have three rights, or three privileges. They are the right and privilege of intimacy, the right and privilege of fecundity, and the right and privilege of ecstasy’. Nouwen then goes on to discuss each of these three ‘rights’. He begins by noting how difficult intimacy is for modern people; that people are unhappy and often at the mercy of their needs and the wounds of generations. Nouwen then asks, ‘Is there another way of living?’ and suggests that when Jesus says ‘make your home in me’, the answer is to be found there. With regard to fecundity, Nouwen begins by distinguishing between fruitfulness and productivity. He goes on to describe our society’s need to measure and control and duplicate, which he sees as productivity. Fruitfulness, Nouwen describes as a gift of vulnerability. ‘Probably the most important quality of fruit is that we have to leave it alone in order for it to grow’. In the final section on ecstasy Nouwen speaks of joy, the joy given by Jesus. Nouwen suggests that so many people live at a level of busyness, boredom and a sense of meaninglessness. He suggests that to be ecstatic is to move out of a state of being static; being willing to change and grow; to choose life. Nouwen concludes by saying,’ Wherever we live, we can live celebrating ecstatically, always having a party. There’s something new, a smile, because God is with us and we want to live’.

Letting go of all things

This item is a 2 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled: ’Letting Go of all things’, published in Baptist Peacemaker, Vol. V, No. 2, April 1985, pp. 1 & 5. It was previously published in Sojourners, May, 1979.
Nouwen begins by stating ‘The call to prayer is not an invitation to retreat to a familiar piety, but a challenge to make a radical move toward prayer as “the only necessary thing”’. Nouwen suggests prayer is a dying to self, a call to martyrdom, an opening to God, and is the ground from which people move out into the world of action. Nouwen quotes from a recent book by holocaust survivor Floris B. Bakels about the power prayer had for him in the camp. Nouwen writes about our ambivalence toward prayer, being drawn to it and yet resistant to it because of the demands we feel will be made by God. Nouwen concludes, ‘ When …our act of prayer remains the act from which all actions flow, we can be joyful even when our times are depressing, peaceful even when the threat of war is all around us, hopeful even when we are constantly tempted to despair’.

Liberation: freedom to love

This item is a 1 ½ page article by Henri Nouwen entitled: ‘Liberation: Freedom to Love’, published in Together by World Vision International, April-June 1985, No. 7. This item is identified as excerpts from Nouwen’s prologue to Gustavo Gutierrez’ book ‘We Drink from our own Wells’. Nouwen begins by stating, ‘The spirituality of liberation is deeply rooted in the lived experience of God’s presence in history’. Nouwen then writes that Gutierrez believes liberation theology cannot be reduced to a political movement nor is it a ‘theological rationale for a class struggle’. Nouwen states that Jesus is the center of the movement and Jesus loves both the oppressed and the oppressor. Nouwen reiterates a theme he has spoken of before that the spiritual well-being of the Americas, north and south are tied together and that the ‘inflamed’ cord of Central America that binds them together is reminding us that there is a deep spiritual crisis that involves the whole of the Americas. He concludes, ‘ In the name of millions of the nameless poor, Gustavo Gutierrez reaches out a hand to us and calls us to open our hearts again to the life-giving Spirit of Jesus…’

Living in joyful ecstasy

This item is a 5 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘, Living in Joyful Ecstasy, The House of God a Home amid an anxious World’, published in Sojourners, Vol. 14, No. 8, August/September 1985, pp. 27 – 31. This is part 3 of a three part series. Nouwen begins by stating that he does not believe ecstasy is simply for the mystical few but is in fact, for all Christian people. ‘I consider it very important to reclaim the word ‘ecstasy’ for all Christian people who strive to move from the house of fear to the house of love’. Nouwen then points to Jesus emphasis that he has come to bring joy and that all are called to remain in that joy. Nouwen moves from this introduction to a section entitled,’ Ecstasy and Fear’ and begins by stating that ‘just as fear prevents intimacy and fecundity, so too it makes ecstasy impossible’. He suggests that fear makes us cling to routine, to sameness and fear of change. Nouwen speaks of the people of L’Arche with whom he spent time and notes both the presence of routine but also the journey from fear to joy.’ If the world is a fearful place where you need all of your emotional energy just to survive, there is little capacity to move from one way of being alive to another…Where all has become fear, joy cannot be’. In the next section entitled, ‘Ecstasy and Love’ Nouwen points to the great difference between ephemeral happiness and deep joy. Deep joy is the joy of Jesus. It is a joy that holds both happiness and sorrow, good times and bad. ‘[Joy] is the solid ground from which new life can always burst forth’. In a final section entitled, ’A New International Order’ Nouwen moves on to write of the fears that are causing nations to build barriers and to fights battles rather than seek reconciliation and peace. He points to Jesus’ call to ‘the nations’ as well as to individual people. Nouwen notes the situations in Central and South America as places in which fear has brought nations almost to the brink of nuclear war. Nouwen concludes by stating, ‘The word “ecstasy” has opened a new perspective on joy as an essential element of a truly Christian spirituality. It is the constant moving away from the static places of death into the place where life can be recognized and celebrated’.

Saying no to death

This item is a 3 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Saying No to Death’ published in Fellowship the journal of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, Vol. 51, No. 9, September, 1985, pp. 9 – 11. Nouwen begins the article by citing a visit to an exclusive preparatory school where everyone seemed polite, intelligent and good mannered. However, at some point they all watched a film containing great deal of violence which was obviously entertaining to the young audience. Nouwen points to ‘the fact that a large portion of contemporary entertainment is fascinated with violence and death’. Nouwen then goes on to write of the various ways in which human beings live death which includes hatred, fear, judgment of others, desire to destroy what we fear. By judging others Nouwen suggests we play God but ‘everyone who plays God ends up acting as the demon’. Nouwen goes on to state that the peacemaker never plays God, never judges but sees others as fellow sinners and fellow saints. He suggests that, ‘As peacemakers we must have the courage to see the powers of death at work even in our innermost selves’. Nouwen points to our need to see ourselves as forgiven people rather than living in self-hatred which brings depression and fear and a form of death. In contrast to death Nouwen suggests that ‘Life mean mobility and change. Wherever there is life there is movement and growth’. Nouwen concludes by stating that ‘real resistance [to death] requires the humble confession that we are partners in the evil we seek to resist’.

Peace, a gift we receive in prayer

This item is an 11 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Peace, A Gift We Receive in Prayer’, published in the New Oxford Review, Vol. LII, No. 7, September 1985, pp. 7 – 18. It is indicated that this is part 1 of a 3 part series entitled: A Spirituality of Peacemaking. Nouwen opens the article by asking, ‘Must it remain this way? Must war drums constantly disturb us? Must we hear over and over that we need more and stronger weapons to safeguard our values and our lives?’. Nouwen goes on to describe his own struggle from hesitation to describe himself as a peacemaker to an understanding of the need to do so. Nouwen states, ‘I hope to show how peacemaking can no longer be regarded as peripheral to being a Christian’. ‘Christians today … have to find the courage to make the word peace as important as the word freedom’. Nouwen then goes on at some length to speak about the peacemaker as one who prays. ‘Prayer is the beginning and the end, the source and the fruit, the core and the content, the basis and the goal of all peacemaking’. Nouwen describes peace as a divine gift which is received in prayer. It is in prayer, he suggests, that we find ourselves part of wounded humanity, one like those who create war. ‘Only when we are willing repeatedly to confess that we too have dirty hands even when we work for peace, can we fully understand the hard task of peacemaking’. Nouwen references the gospels and the words of Jesus about the prayer of the peacemaker and the receipt of the gift of love in the relationship with Jesus that comes from prayer. ‘Nothing is more important in peacemaking than that it flows from a deep and undeniable experience of love’. Nouwen describes prayer as ‘the first and foremost act of resistance against the arms race’. Nouwen concludes by referencing a story from one of the desert fathers and by stating, ‘ When we can see our own sinful self in a tranquil mirror and confess that we too are warmakers, then we may be ready to start walking humbly on the road to peace’.

Saying "no" to death in all its manifestations

This item is an 8 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled: ‘Saying “No” to Death in All its Manifestations’, published in the New Oxford Review, Volume LII, No. 8, October 1985, pp. 10 – 18. It is identified as Part II of a three part series. Nouwen begins by speaking of his experience of the Jewish holocaust when he was a child in Holland and of his awareness of the questions asked after, how could we let this happen? Nouwen realizes that now he is a well-educated adult and cannot claim that he does not see the horrors of the current nuclear threat or the injustices of American and other societies. He goes on to state, ‘Peacemaking is not an option any longer but a holy obligation for all people whatever their professional or family situation. Peacemaking is a way of living that involves our whole being all the time.’ Nouwen continues to write about the nuclear threat of the annihilation of the world as we know it; the way in which people who oppose it are treated unjustly; the way in which we enter into an ‘all pervasive fascination with death that is an integral part of our daily lives.’ Nouwen describes what he sees as the reality that ‘violence [is] mental before it is physical’. He writes that when we refuse to see others who are different as our brothers and sisters that is the beginning of future violence and death. He goes on to say, ‘I am moved by the idea that a peacemaker never judges anybody’ and that we become better peacemakers when we are able to forgive ourselves and others for our humanity. Nouwen then suggests, ‘Peacemaking requires clear resistance to death in all its manifestations…Real resistance requires the humble confession that we are partners in the evil that we seek to resist’.

Saying a humble, compassionate, & joyful "yes" to life

This item is an 8 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Saying a Humble, Compassionate, & Joyful “yes” to Life’ published in the New Oxford Review, Vol. LII, No. 9, November 1985, pp. 19 – 26. This item is identified as being Part III of a series entitled, ’A Spirituality of Peacemaking’. Nouwen begins by reminding the reader that in a previous part he discussed the need for us to say ‘No” to death. He then goes on to say ‘Resisting the forces of death is only meaningful when we are fully in touch with the forces of life we want to uphold’. Nouwen writes that it is more powerful to work for the forces of life than to face directly, the forces of death into which we may be drawn and unable to resist. Nouwen writes of the need of the Peacemaker to work with the forces of life which is a gentle, vulnerable force in order to resist death. Nouwen writes at length about resistance and suggests that there are three aspects of life that are important to one who is a resister, a peacemaker: humility, compassion and joy. Nouwen then discusses at length these three aspects of life. Nouwen concludes this section by stating, ’Thus the “No” to death can only be fruitful when spoken and acted out in the context of a humble, compassionate, and joyful “yes” to life. Resistance becomes a truly spiritual task only when the “no” to death and the “yes” to life are never separated’. In the last part of the article Nouwen writes of demonstrations of peaceful resistance that he has experienced and about which he expresses a certain level of ambivalence. Nouwen speaks of the peacemaker’s need for prayer and concludes the article by stating, ‘It is hard for me to see how resistance can be fruitful unless it deepens and strengthens our relationship with God. Prayer and resistance, the twin pillars of Christian peacemaking, are two interlocking ways of giving expression to the peace we have found in the dwelling place of God’.

The spirituality of peacemaking

This item is a 3 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘The Spirituality of Peacemaking’ published in The Lutheran, February 5, 1986, pp. 12 – 14. Nouwen writes of the peacemaker as one who prays. ‘Prayer is the beginning and the end, the source and the fruit, the core and the content, the basis and the goal of all peacemaking’. Nouwen describes peace as a divine gift which is received in prayer. It is in prayer, he suggests, that we find ourselves part of wounded humanity, one like those who create war. ‘Only when we are willing repeatedly to confess that we too have dirty hands even when we work for peace, can we fully understand the hard task of peacemaking’. Nouwen references the gospels and the words of Jesus about the prayer of the peacemaker and the receipt of the gift of love in the relationship with Jesus that comes from prayer. ‘Nothing is more important in peacemaking than that it flows from a deep and undeniable experience of love’. Nouwen concludes, ‘Prayer – living in the presence of God – is the most radical peace action we can imagine’.

Excerpt from The living reminder

This item is a short paragraph by Henri Nouwen printed in The Builder, May 1986 and is identified as an excerpt from Nouwen’s book, ‘The Living Reminder’. The paragraph begins ‘A sustaining ministry requires the art of creative withdrawal so that in memory God’s Spirit can manifest itself and lead to the full truth’.

The fullness of divine love: reflections on a Russian Pentecost icon

This item is a 4 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘The Fullness of Divine Love: Reflections on a Russian Pentecost Icon”, published in Sojourners, Vol. 15, No. 6, June 1986, pp. 24 – 27. This article is a reflection on Andrei Rublev’s icon, The Descent of the Holy Spirit’ a Russian icon painted toward the end of the 15th C. Nouwen writes that he is sharing the results of his prolonged reflection on this icon. Nouwen first stresses that he sees that ‘God reveals the fullness of divine love first of all in community’ rather than relying just on the individual. Nouwen says that he intends to show in more detail, three aspects of the spiritual life as he sees this in the icon. The first heading he entitles: ’The God Within’ and it results from the quietude he sees in the grouping in the icon as contrasted with usual Pentecostal activity in much art. ‘The Pentecost icon is such a masterpiece precisely because it draws us into the heart of the mystery of God’s self-revelation’. The second heading he entitles: ‘The community of Faith’ and here he begins ‘The Spirit within, the Spirit of the God of love, the Spirit of the Living Christ is the Holy Spirit who creates a new community among those who believe’. The third heading he entitles: ‘Liberating the World’. This part is reflecting on the figure at the bottom of the icon in what seems to be a dark cave. Here Nouwen believes that that leads into the need of the community to go out to the world to bring the light and love of the Spirit. Nouwen concludes ‘The Descent of the Holy Spirit is a door that leads us into the mystery of God’s inner life’.

Running from what we desire: Yet God's jealous love pursues us

This item is a 4 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘Running from What We Desire’, published in Partnership, Volume 3, No. 4, July – August 1986, pp. 32 – 35. Nouwen opens this article on prayer by relating a story of his own resistance to praying and that of others. He asks what it is that keeps us from praying and identifies fear as the most important factor. Nouwen believes that this fear comes from some underlying awareness of the kind of God we have. ‘Prayer means letting God’s creative love touch the most hidden places of our being, and letting Jesus’ way of the cross, his way of downward mobility, truly become our way’. Nouwen continues the article by saying we must not be afraid of God, we must not be afraid of Jesus and we must not be afraid of the Holy Spirit.

Working for peace: saying "no" to death requires saying "yes" to life

This item is a 3 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘Working for Peace’ published in The Church Herald of the Reformed Church in America, Vol. XLIII, No. 18, October 18, 1986, pp. 11 – 13. This is identified as the second of two articles on Peacemaking. Nouwen opens the article by stating, ‘ As peacemakers we must have the courage to see the powers of death at work even in our innermost selves…’Nouwen speaks of that within us which does not accept ourselves and that this is ‘one of the greatest enemies of the peacemaker’. Nouwen speaks of the central message of the Gospel which is that we are forgiven and this truth can help us overcome our fear of ourselves and of others. Nouwen writes of the need to resist, resist the forces of death and to affirm life. He speaks of the need for joy even in the face of pain. Nouwen concludes by saying, ‘Prayer cannot be fruitful unless it brings us into a new and creative relationship with people. Resistance cannot be fruitful unless it deepens and strengthens our relationship with God. Prayer and Resistance, the two pillars of Christian peacemaking…’This item is a 3 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘Working for Peace’ published in The Church Herald of the Reformed Church in America, Vol. XLIII, No. 18, October 18, 1986, pp. 11 – 13. This is identified as the second of two articles on Peacemaking. Nouwen opens the article by stating, ‘ As peacemakers we must have the courage to see the powers of death at work even in our innermost selves…’Nouwen speaks of that within us which does not accept ourselves and that this is ‘one of the greatest enemies of the peacemaker’. Nouwen speaks of the central message of the Gospel which is that we are forgiven and this truth can help us overcome our fear of ourselves and of others. Nouwen writes of the need to resist, resist the forces of death and to affirm life. He speaks of the need for joy even in the face of pain. Nouwen concludes by saying, ‘Prayer cannot be fruitful unless it brings us into a new and creative relationship with people. Resistance cannot be fruitful unless it deepens and strengthens our relationship with God. Prayer and Resistance, the two pillars of Christian peacemaking…’

The journey from despair to hope

This item is a 4 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘ The Journey from Despair to Hope’ published in Praying by the National Catholic Reporter Publishing Company, No. 17, Mar-Apr. 1987, pp. 4 – 7. Nouwen begins the article by stating that Jesus, from the place of despair in death, speaks to us not of optimism or pessimism but hope. Nouwen identifies three levels of despair current in human life: ‘in interpersonal relationships, in global ways throughout the planet and in our church’. Nouwen goes on to say, ‘ I want to look at each of these ways of despair and then, drawing upon the hope Jesus offers us, try to say a word of hope in response’. In the first area of interpersonal despair Nouwen suggests that we tend to find relationships so often unsatisfactory, people cannot love us in a way that fulfills our deep need. Nouwen suggests that we have forgotten ‘the first love’ which is God’s love for us and that is our hope. ‘Freedom comes when you know with your heart that you are loved’. In the second level Nouwen points to our despair with the global situation and his sense that we almost prefer death to life in uncertainty. ‘But Jesus says “no” to death’. Nouwen states that we need to live without judgment, trusting in life. ‘Life is basically hidden. It is small and begs for constant care and protection. If you are committed to always saying “yes” to life, you are going to have to become a person who chooses it when it is hidden’. With regard to the third level of despair: in the church, Nouwen identifies this as particularly hard to bear but suggests that ‘we are called to be a community. We are called to be together, in a fellowship of the weak to proclaim Jesus as Lord’.

Holding ground

This item is a 9 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Holding Ground’, published in CALC Report by Baltimore Clergy and Laity Concerned, Vol. XIII, No. 2, sometime in Spring or summer 1987, pp. 12 – 20. This article is taken from a talk given by Henri Nouwen in March 1987 to Baltimore CALC’s March Conference ‘Responding in Faith as the Americas Meet’. Nouwen begins by describing a recent visit to the L’Arche community in Sujappa Honduras where he met Raphael a man who was deeply handicapped. ‘I wondered what this silent and completely dependent, handicapped young man was telling me about the Central American conflict and the Christian response to it’. Nouwen then describes the various Central American points of conflict and suggests that he understood Raphael to be, in his powerlessness, revealing a new meaning to Jesus’ words ‘Hold your ground before the Son of Man’. “His broken crucified body warned me never to surrender to fear, to pray unceasingly and to act faithfully…’.Nouwen then goes on to speak in the section entitled Prayer about prayer as the way to keep hearts focused and united. Nouwen speaks of the injustice involving the Indian people of Central America, the presence of what he calls the ‘descending Christ’ among them and the importance of prayer as being rooted in him before being able to act. In the section entitled Action, Nouwen first points to much action which seems to have achieved nothing. Nouwen then identifies as being most Christian that action which comes from ‘the place of forgiveness, reconciliation, community and compassion’. Nouwen then points to the importance of action having the quality of being able to receive, which is about recognizing the gifts of all. Nouwen also points to the importance of action as needing to be communal, of the whole Christian community, of the church. Nouwen concludes: ’ By speaking about prayer and action in response to the Central American reality, I have tried to restate concretely the Christian call to be in the world without belonging to it, to work for peace and justice while never losing touch with the One in whom we find our identity, to say “No” to the power of death while staying truly alive, to act courageously while praying confidently’.

Trying to avoid temptations when among the famous & successful: on not being distracted by power & wealth

This item is a 6 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Trying to Avoid Temptations when among the Famous and Successful’, published in New Oxford Review, June 1987, pp. 9 – 14. This item is the ninth installment in a series of articles reflecting on the year Nouwen spent at L’Arche, Trosley Breuil, France, 1985/6. The items in this installment cover dates from April 26 – May 22, 1986. The first two entries are reflections on the day’s gospel readings: asking in Jesus’ name and Jesus as the vine and the pruning of the branches. Nouwen speaks of the suffering of the pruning process ‘but they need to be cut away so that more fruit can grow’. He goes on to say, ‘The great challenge is to continue to recognize God’s pruning hand in my life’. The next item is written on Ascension day and Nouwen writes of the way this L’Arche community celebrates it. He describes the key points of a talk given by Jean Vanier on peacemaking. Nouwen then speaks of his busyness and yet his sense that he is accomplishing nothing. The remaining items cover a trip he then made to Boston, New York, Pittsburgh and Washington to visit friends and to give talks. Nouwen writes of the stress and anxiety he experiences in his friends and his desire that they should see another way of living that he himself has found in L’Arche. Nouwen meets in this trip some he calls ‘the rich and the powerful’ including Murray McDonnell in New York and members of the United States Senate in Washington and their thirst to hear about Jesus, ‘Give us a word from God, speak to us about Jesus…do not stay away from the rich who are so poor…’. Nouwen in one entry reflects on what ‘welcoming a little child in my name means’. Finally, Nouwen writes of being asked to give the commencement address at a Presbyterian Seminary. When he speaks with the seminarians he is surprised to hear them speaking more like professional businessmen than ministers. ‘When I asked them how important Jesus was for them, they said there was a tendency to speak more about God than about Jesus’. Nouwen determines that he will speak of Jesus in his address. At the commencement ceremony Nouwen meets two old friends, Fred Rogers also known as Mr Rogers and John Fife a co-founder of the sanctuary movement.

The passion of Marthe Robin

This item is a 7 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘The Passion of Marthe Robin’, published in The Catholic Digest, November 1987, pp. 30 – 39. This is a series of excerpts from the diary of Henri Nouwen from the year he spent at L’Arche, Trosly Breuil, France in 1985/6. The entries in this article focus entirely on his visit to the house and room where Marthe Robin lived and died. Nouwen reflects and prays, with his friend Bernard, in her room on several occasions and speaks about the influence of Marthe on many people and especially on Père George Finet, the founder of the Foyers de Charité. Nouwen and his friend also visit the main Foyer de Charité and Fr. Finet in Chateauneuf de Galaure, France, also the place where Marthe Robin lived her life of prayer and suffering.

Holy week meditations

This item is a 5 page series of Holy Week meditations by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘ Holy Week Meditations’, published in ‘Praying’ a journal of the National Catholic Reporter, March-April, 1988, No. 23, pp. 4 – 9. Some of these excerpts have appeared in Nouwen’s Road to Daybreak, published in 1988 and are written during his time at l’Arche Trosley Breuil in France. The mediations begin with Palm Sunday and Nouwen is pondering Jesus’ entry in Jerusalem and writing of the words spoken by Pere Thomas during the service. Monday is written in the form of a prayer. Tuesday begins with Jesus in John’s gospel ‘one of you will betray me’. Nouwen writes of Jesus being ‘handed over’ and moving from activity to passivity. Wednesday Nouwen writes of the positions of Peter and of Judas and the choices one makes to trust in God’s mercy and the other to despair in the face of his betrayal rather than trust. Thursday Nouwen describes his participation in the Holy Thursday service at the l’Arche community in Paris and speaks of being touched deeply by the washing of the feet. ’I saw a glimpse of the new kingdom Jesus came to bring. Everybody in the room knew how far they were from being a perfect expression of God’s love. But everybody was also willing to make a step in the direction to which Jesus pointed’. Good Friday which Nouwen describes as both a day of suffering and a day of hope. Nouwen writes of seeing Christ’s body lying across the whole world and the immense suffering of humanity. Holy Saturday Nouwen writes of the Easter Vigil, and sees ‘the celebration of the resurrection of the body is also the celebration of the daily care given to the bodies of these handicapped men and women. Nouwen ends the mediations with Easter Sunday. A quiet Eucharist at Mdme Vanier’s house and the discussion after the Mass. ‘The five of us sitting in a circle around the table with a little bread and a little wine…knew deep in our hearts that for us too all had changed, while all had remained the same’.

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