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Henri Nouwen fonds Item
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Notes

Item consists of a small orange hard-bound notebook featuring musical notes on its cover. The notebook is entitled, "Adagio: Musical Reflections", but is otherwise blank.

Notes

Item consists of a large hard-bound notebook featuring a cat and spider on its cover. Notebook contains Nouwen's biographical notes on Lorenzo Sforza-Cesarini.

Notes

Item consists of a hard-bound, black, legal-sized notebook. Notes are regarding a prayer written in an unknown hand and sermons. Subjects of sermon notes include L'Arche; John 6:1-15; living in joy; John 21:17-19; Servant Leadership: The Disciplines of Discipleship; and Can You Drink the Cup? (Matthew 20:20-23).

Notes from Peru

Item consists of a small soft-bound notebook, likely purchased by Nouwen in Peru. Notes appear to be regarding vocabulary, scheduling, addresses, notes for sermons, and other miscellaneous notes.

Spirituality and the family

Item consists of a copy of a published article by Nouwen entitled, "Spirituality and the Family" (Church Educator Supplement, June 1977).

Marriage as ministry

Item consists of a photocopy of a typescript of "Marriage as Ministry". Nouwen argues that marriage as ministry has two functions: binding the wounds of the other, and healing the suffering guest.

Sermon for Advent

Item consists of a typescript of a sermon for Advent, given by Nouwen at Durham Notre Dame. Nouwen discusses the Christ Event. He argues that other events in life make sense only through a knowledge of the Christ event. He concludes that solitude, prayer and the common liturgy are ways to remember this central event.

Marriage and the family

Item consists of a typescript of "Marriage and the Family", a lecture given by Nouwen in which he discusses the search for intimacy, unity and community through marriage and his own experience of celibacy.

Marriage and the family

Item consists of a typescript of "Marriage and the Family", a lecture given by Nouwen in which he argues that we do not marry to have our loneliness taken away, but to help each other to grow closer to God and to protect each other's solitude or sacred center.

Theology of the word

Item consists of handwritten notes and a partial typescript of "Theology of the Word", a sermon and lecture given by Nouwen. He argues that in a culture where words are overworked, the word of God is full of power and beauty because it is alive, active and fruitful.

Sermon to supervising ministers

Item consists of handwritten notes and a typescript of a talk on supervising ministers given by Nouwen at the Berkeley Center on October 18, 1977. Nouwen argues that supervising ministers make life more transparent for students by interpreting nature, events, and people with a vision of how things really are. But supervisors can only do this when they themselves are moving from opaqueness to transparency. Nouwen talks about the importance of the spiritual life of the supervisor.

On prayer

Item consists of a typescript of "On Mercy", a sermon given by Nouwen at Mercy Center (Madison, CT), in which he describes prayer as seeing what cannot otherwise be seen, especially in nature, in events, and in people. All of these are opaque unless we do not expect to see more, but within each of these the face of God may become visible. Prayer is also a discipline where we take time to listen and therefore leave behind our illusions of control, where we allow God to move from our heads to our hearts, and where we listen rather than speak to God.

Prayer and ministry

Item consists of a typescript of "Prayer and Ministry", a sermon on the idea of theoria physica developed by the desert fathers. Nouwen explains that we need to see nature and time with new eyes; as gifts not to be taken, but to be received and appreciated. The discipline of prayer, giving time to God, looking with the heart, and being obedient, (Prakticos), leads us into the new way of seeing.

Compassion in ministry and medicine

Item consists of a manuscript of "Compassion in Ministry and Medicine", a talk Nouwen gave to medical staff. Nouwen talks about care as the basis of cure, because we are together in our humanity. Concretely, care is listening to the questions; responding to the questions more as another human being rather than as an authority, and doing all this with a deep self-knowledge, especially of our own mortality.

Prayer and ministry

Item consists of a typescript of "Prayer and Ministry", a sermon Nouwen gave on Luke 9:28-36. It is a commentary on the Transfiguration passage, when the disciples go with Jesus to the mountain to pray and Jesus is transfigured. Prayer is seen as an affirmation of the gift of life, not to be controlled but to be received and shared. Nouwen argues that when this happens we see our life and the world not as something dark, but more in the light; not opaque, but transparent.

Powhatan revisited

Item consists of a photocopy of a typescript of "Powhatan Revisited", a paper Nouwen wrote about a visit he made to Powhatan, LA, a former parish where he worked for six months in 1962. The story is about his fellowship with the people there, the poverty and the people's relationships in and around the village.

Spirituality and clinical pastoral education

Item consists of a typescript of "Spirituality and Clinical Pastoral Education", a talk in which Nouwen describes clinical pastoral education and spiritual formation in the spirituality of care. He takes consolation as one of the most important modalities of care, and talks about consolation as the creation of a climate where sorrow can be mobilized and as a way to deepen human sorrow to the level where it can be shared. Real consolation is not to take people away from their pain, but to create a climate where pain can be shared. Care means to cry out with. Care also means to go even deeper, to what Nouwen calls the basic human melancholy that artists and musicians connect us with.

Pastoral care and spirituality

Item consists of a typescript of "Pastoral Care and Spirituality", a talk on being a caregiver and caring. Nouwen is bringing together spirituality with clinical pastoral education for ministers who are to be carers. He outlines aspects of care as: sharing the suffering of others as opposed to trying to take it away, connecting the pain with the depth of human brokenness and thus deepening the pain, allowing the other to learn about care and become a carer, and doing all this in the context of a praying community.

A contemporary monastic experience

Item consists of a typescript of "A Contemporary Monastic Experience", a talk given on Holy Thursday. Nouwen describes the death and resurrection of Jesus, not so much as an event that happened in the past, but as the Christ event that is being realized in us in the unfolding liturgical year. Living the liturgical year in the monastery allows one to 'live' the event without as many illusions about God or self, primarily because of the desert-like quality of monastic life.

Sermon on patience

Item consists of a manuscript of a sermon on the word 'patience', describing the negative and positive connotations. Nouwen describes a 'new time' not associated with clock time. He concludes that patience is a discipline of the compassionate life and is connected with the Pentecost.

Sermon for Advent

Item consists of a typescript of a short sermon for Advent.

Sermon for Ash Wednesday

Item consists of handwritten notes and typescript of a sermon for Ash Wednesday. Nouwen argues that entering into Lent is seeing once again the sorrow and the anger of God who yearns to gather us as a hen her brood, but we refuse. He invites us to enter again into the knowledge that God cannot love us unless we let God, and so we put ashes on our foreheads and again say, "We cannot live without you, God". File includes a page of notes in an unknown hand entitled, "The Crucifixion".

Sermon on Mark 14:32-42

Item consists of a manuscript and partial typescript for a sermon on Mark 14:32-42, the story of Gethsemane. Nouwen advises us to simply go to the Garden and stay there with Jesus. He tells us not to sleep in His or our sorrow, but to stay awake and have no words to speak, but simply to stay. In so doing we see Jesus suffering but we also witness his fear, his request to have it taken away and his resignation to God's will, his faithfulness. Nouwen ends with the prayer of Thomas Merton, "Lord we have no idea where we are going."

May His joy be in you and may your joy be complete

Item consists of a typescript of "May His joy be in you and may your joy be complete", a sermon on joy, the priesthood and the Eucharist, which was written for the 40th anniversary of Fr. Thomas' ordination at the Abbey of the Genesee (Piffard, NY). Nouwen finds joy in the realization that all the suffering, all the success, and all the failure of a life are already taken up in the Eucharistic sacrifice, and thus we can experience the joy of our salvation.

Sermon on joy

Item consists of a manuscript of a sermon on joy, suffering and death. Nouwen argues that the world wants us to believe that suffering and joy are separate and that there is more suffering than joy. He says that God did not make death, that Jesus' life is announcing that death no longer has power over him. Jesus came to announce the Good News, a kingdom of peace and joy. He concludes that it is a mystery but it is true.

Sermon on downward mobility for Yale Divinity School

Item consists of a typescript for a sermon on downward mobility. Nouwen comments on the busyness at Yale University. Though Nouwen does not use the term 'downward mobility', he says that we live in an exciting world as we prepare and do ministry. Nouwen asks whether the excitement leads us to a deeper understanding and closeness to God, or whether it is a distraction. He invites the students to help each other to create the climate where they can confess the contradictions and help each other to find good disciplines, like Jesus.

Some Greeks

Item consists of a typescript of "Some Greeks", a sermon on John 12:20-37. In this sermon Nouwen explains that Jesus did not want to be popular, exclaiming, "If people want to see me or know me, it means they want that knowledge to make a difference in their lives". So when the Greeks ask to see him, he talks about the seed going into the ground and dying. Nouwen concludes that "if we want to know Jesus we must be prepared to follow him there".

Sermon for Eucharist

Item consists of a typescript of a sermon for the Eucharist on December 17, 1979. Nouwen speaks of the Christ event as being not just a historical event, but also a present event. It happened and it is always happening. By realizing this, we look at all the things that preoccupy us in a new light - the light of the Christ event in the past and in the present.

Sermon for Easter Sunday

Item consists of a typescript for an Easter Sunday sermon (April 15, 1979). Nouwen lists events that happened after the resurrection when Jesus revealed himself so that gradually people began to speak, "He is risen." They saw him. They believed. He was with them. Nouwen argues that we are invited to look for Him, to see his face, and to announce also, "He is risen."

Sermon for opening of monasticism and the Arts conference

Item consists of a typescript of a sermon given at the opening of the Monasticism and the Arts Conference on February 29, 1980. It is based on Philippians 3:20-21 and 6-8, and Mark 8:22-26. Nouwen wants us to recognize, like the monks Anthony and Benedict, that we are blind and in need of healing. We look at art hoping to see the face of God in the expression of those who gave their talents in art, music, architecture to reflect a vision beyond what we see.

Brothers and sisters in Christ

Item consists of a typescript of "Brothers and Sisters in Christ", a sermon given at the Abbey of the Genesee on August 12, 1979 (Nouwen stayed at the Abbey of the Genesee for six months in 1979). The sermon is regarding the sending of two monks to Brazil. Nouwen speaks of monastic life as a sign to the world that the eternal is in the temporal and that the monks sent will be a sign of that in Brazil. He argues that we are nurturing the eternal in the temporal.

Sermon on Do not worry

Item consists of a typescript of a sermon based on Jesus' words, "Do not worry", given by Nouwen on September 26, 1979. Nouwen describes how preoccupied we are with things that pass away quickly, whereas if we centre our hearts on God, we live a divine history with a certain perspective that holds us in the truth.

The person of the preacher

Item consists of a page of handwritten notes and a typescript of "The Person of the Preacher", a lecture given by Nouwen at General Theological Seminary (New York, NY), on January 21, 1979. Nouwen argues that the preacher not only preaches from the pulpit, but also by the way (s)he lives. The preacher must listen and be obedient to the Word of God and to the word of the people. Thus the preacher becomes available, lays down his/her life for the people of God.

That all may be one, as you Father are in me and I in you

Item consists of a typescript of "That all may be one, as you Father are in me and I in you", a sermon given by Nouwen during the Week of Christian Unity at Yale Divinity School, on January 21, 1977. Nouwen begins by saying how slow Ecumenism has been progressing. He goes on to recognize that generally society is much farther ahead than ten years ago because worship is happening around the same table. He says the Eucharist (the table) is the centre that brings us closer to God and to each other.

Prayers spoken during the Baccalaureate service

Item consists of a typescript of "Prayers spoken during the Baccalaureate Service", at Yale Divinity School on May 15th, 1977. Nouwen's prayer has three parts: praising God, thanking God, and asking God.

Thomas Merton celebration

Item consists of multiple manuscripts and typescripts of "Thomas Merton Celebration", a talk given by Nouwen at St. Paul's Church, Columbia University, for the 10th Anniversary of Merton's death on December 10, 1978. Nouwen comments on Merton's idea that there are two illusions that deceive us: that we can know ourselves, and that we can know God. Instead, Nouwen argues that we are called to be seers, contemplatives. As the illusions are unmasked, we are free and open to see the newness and surprise of God and then we are willing to help hasten the coming of the day of the Lord. To do so we need to practice repentance and gratitude.

Sermon for Ash Wednesday

Item consists of a typescript of a sermon for Ash Wednesday (February 23, 1977). The introduction (p. 79) invites the listener to enter into the mystery of God's suffering and to remember that we are mortal, and that God is with us. Nouwen concentrates on God's suffering in our hearts and to bring there our suffering and the suffering of the world. He says "take things to heart".

Sermon on prayer

Item consists of one page of handwritten notes by Nouwen for a sermon on prayer given at St. Peter's Lutheran Church on November 17, 1977.

Feast of all Saints

Item consists of a typescript of "Feast of all Saints", a sermon given by Nouwen. He speaks of those who have survived the great trial, and who are the men and women clothed in white robes. He suggests that we are in the midst of the great trial and the saints remind us not to give up, and to know that we belong to a people who surround the throne of God.

Intimacy and solitude

Item consists of a typescript of "Intimacy and Solitude", a lecture given by Nouwen at Fordham University. Nouwen discusses how we seek intimacy more out of desperation because we are so busy and so preoccupied with all the expectations of a busy life. He gives solitude and community as the two disciplines necessary to find intimacy, first with God and then with others.

The silence of God

Item consists of two draft typescripts of "The Silence of God", a Lenten meditation regarding Jesus before the Sanhedrin, Pilate and Herod. Nouwen argues that as Jesus stands before his accusers he is silent, not out of disdain or arrogance, but because those asking him to perform are doing so from curiosity and sensationalism. Nouwen suggests that Jesus only speaks when we come with a real desire to know him and receive his word into our hearts. This is one meditation in a Lenten series given by Nouwen at Battell Chapel in 1980.

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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