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From the house of fear to the house of love

This item is a one page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘From the House of Fear to the House of Love’, published in World Peacemakers Inc., Washington, D.C., Fall 1985, p. 3. This article is identified as ‘a portion of three articles by Henri from a series entitled ‘The House of God: A Home amid and anxious world’ published in Sojourners Magazine, June, July and August-September, 1985. Nouwen begins the article by saying, ‘The words we most need to hear during these turbulent days are: “Do not be afraid”. These words from the Gospels are then followed by a list of some of the major fearful preoccupations of people in our time. Nouwen writes about how fear permeates so much of daily living and suggests that ‘Many of us Western people of the 20th century live in the house of fear’. He suggests that Jesus, when asked questions based in fear moved to ‘transform the question’ to a different level. Nouwen then asks, ‘Is it possible to live in the house of love and to listen to the questions raised there by the Lord of love?’ He identifies the ‘house of love’ not as a distant, hoped-for heaven but in Jesus, now, who is our home. ‘This is conversion: coming home. And this is what prayer is about: seeking our home where the Lord has built a home – in the intimacy of our own heart’. The fruits of this conversion as Nouwen sees it are: Intimacy, fecundity and ecstasy. Being in the home of Jesus is learning intimacy and trust which exclude no one; the fecundity that arises from this becomes ‘global’, for everyone. Nouwen finally, suggests that ‘complete joy is the reward of the fruitful life in the house of God. Ecstasy is this complete joy’. Nouwen completes this thought by suggesting that this joy, this fecundity can make nations less defensive and fearful and more inclusive.

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’.

Prayer and resistance: a spirituality of peacemaking

This item is a 4 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Prayer and Resistance: A Spirituality of Peacemaking’, published in The Harvard Divinity Bulletin, Vol. XVI, Number 1, October-November, 1985, pp. 5 – 7, & 10. Nouwen begins the article by stating, ‘A peacemaker 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’. At the end of his introduction Nouwen goes on to say, ‘Praying at all times is the first aspect of peacemaking. What does this concretely mean for us who have barely enough time and space to keep some distance from the cares of life? To answer this question we must be first willing to explore critically the ways in which the “cares of life” strangle us. Only then can we see the converting power of prayer and its pervasive role in peacemaking’. In the following sections Nouwen writes of ‘wounds and needs’ which affect our actions and suggests that it is ‘only when we are willing to repeatedly confess that we too have dirty hands, even when we work for peace, can we fully understand the hard task of peacemaking’. Nouwen then begins to write of the power of prayer to free us to be peacemakers and uses images from the Bible to point to this power. Nouwen identifies peacemaking as a work of love and goes on to say, ‘Prayer is the way to that experience of love’. Nouwen writes of his experience as a child in wartime Holland of the holocaust of the Jews and states that as a child he could not understand or fight against it but now he is an educated adult he cannot excuse himself from fighting injustice that he sees. ‘To work for peace is to work for life. But more than ever before in history we are surrounded by the powers of death’. Further on Nouwen states that ‘resistance [to evil] is no longer an option’ whatever the cost. We do this to begin with by recognizing the evil within ourselves and yet forgiving ourselves and others. ‘Personally, I believe that the battle against these suicidal inner powers is harder than any other spiritual battle. If those who believe in Jesus Christ were able fully to believe that they are forgiven people, who are loved unconditionally and called to proclaim peace in the name of the forgiving Lord, our planet would not be on the verge of self-destruction’.

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’.

Seeing Christ: a meditation on Andrew Rublev's Saviour of Zvenigorod

This item is a 4 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled,’ Seeing Christ: A meditation on Andrew Rublev’s Savior of Zvenigorod’, published in America, Vol. 154, No. 1, January 4 – 11, 1986, pp. 4 – 7. Nouwen begins this meditation on the icon by stating, ‘To see Christ is to see God and all of humanity. This mystery has evoked in me a burning desire to see the face of Jesus’. Nouwen then relates this to his love of the face of Christ as portrayed by Rublev in this icon. Nouwen begins by describing the damage to this 15thC image and then describes what he sees as a ‘tender human face’ and the colors ‘of inexpressible beauty’ which are used. The next focus for Nouwen are the eyes of Christ: ‘Their gaze is so mysterious and deep that any word that tries to describe them is inadequate’. Nouwen concludes the meditation by stating, ‘Seeing the Christ by Rublev is a profound event…seeing Christ leads us to the heart of God as well as to the heart of all that is human’. In an Afterword, Nouwen discusses the icon painting tradition and notes that beginning in the 6th C. there is a tendency to portray the face of Christ in a similar way in all icons and in a way which may be related to the face on the Shroud of Turin which may have been the actual face of Christ.

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’.

The holy obligation of peacemaking

This item is a 2 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘The Holy Obligation of Peacemaking’ published in The Lutheran, Vol. 24, No. 4, February 1986, pp. 14 – 15. This item is identified as Part II of a three part series previously published in the New Oxford Review. Nouwen begins by describing his childhood experience in Holland of the holocaust and the questions he had about why people didn’t act. He then writes of his own struggle now with the growth of the nuclear position of the United States. Nouwen reminds himself that now, as an educated, mature adult he can never say ‘I didn’t know what was going on’. Nouwen then writes of his awareness that the nation he now lives in, the United States, is now a nuclear nation that threatens other nations. ‘It is obvious that all who believe that God is a God of life, especially we who proclaim that Jesus Christ came to live among us to overcome the powers of death, must say a clear and unambiguous ‘no’. Nouwen concludes by stating that ‘resistance is no longer an option…non resistance makes us accomplices to a nuclear holocaust…’

Working for peace: saying 'yes' to life and 'no' to death

This item is a 2 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Working for Peace’ published in The Lutheran, Vol. 24, No. 5, March 5, 1986, pp. 10- 11. This item is identified as Part III of a 3 part series and taken from the New Oxford Review. Nouwen begins by saying, ‘As peacemakers we must have the courage to see the powers of death at work even in our innermost selves…’. Nouwen writes of his own struggle to accept himself as loved and forgiven by God and the difficulty that creates for him to grow as a peacemaker. Nouwen describes the forces of self-rejection as forces of death. He then states that ‘a loving heart that continues to affirm life at all times and places can say ‘no’ to death without being corrupted by it. Nouwen then goes on to write of the importance of resisting the forces of death in our society in whatever way seems right. Nouwen concludes ‘ Prayer and resistance, the two pillars of Christian peacemaking, are two interlocking ways of giving expression to the peace we have found in the dwelling place of God’.

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.

A new life among the handicapped: farewell to Harvard

This item is a 9 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘A New Life Among the Handicapped’ published in the New Oxford Review, Vol. LIII, No.7, September 1986, pp.5 – 13. The article is identified as the first installment of a series of articles taken from a Nouwen diary written during his time as priest-in-residence at L’Arche, Trosley-Breuil, France. The excerpts from Nouwen’s diary in this article begin August 13, 1985 and end September 24. In the first entry Nouwen describes this as ‘the first day of my new life! Nouwen writes of meeting Madame Vanier, of his leaving Harvard, his new quarters and his sense of how different this life is from his very busy life in academia. The entries that follow include reflections on how Jean Vanier began L’Arche with Pere Thomas Phillipe, Nouwen’s longing to be able to live a simpler life, his gratitude for the prayerful support of his friends, his hurt and anger when a friend fails to visit him. Nouwen speaks of his daily time spent in the Oratory at Trosly: ‘In many ways the Oratoire is the heart of l’Arche…every time I enter the Oratoire I feel a deep rest coming over me…’ Nouwen also speaks of one of the foyers he visits which is called La Forestiere where the most severely handicapped live. Further entries speak of the people he meets and include his reflections on their lives.

The trusting heart & the primacy of the mystical life: holy enough to walk on water

This item is a 10 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘The Trusting Heart & the Primacy of the Mystical Life’ published in the New Oxford Review, Vol. LIII, No.8, October 1986, pp.5 – 14. The article is identified as the second installment of a series of articles taken from a Nouwen diary written during his time as priest-in-residence at L’Arche, Trosley-Breuil, France. The excerpts from Nouwen’s diary in this article begin October 17, 1985 and end November 26. The first two entries focus on Pere Thomas’ response to Nouwen’s concern about his need for affection. He said Pere Thomas speaks about trust in human relationships and the ‘heart as the deepest source of the spiritual life…’ Nouwen writes of a visit from some friends and an experience at Mass with 3 handicapped men who were the altar servers. There are then more reflections on the mystical life, about the need for a new kind of religious order that will focus on peace, a new kind of ministry Nouwen sees he needs for the Assistants at L’Arche, his failure as he sees it to pray often enough for the dead. Nouwen then writes at length about the visit of his friend Jonas, with whom he had been angry when he failed to come before. He and Jonas speak about their relationship but Nouwen also notes their different perceptions of l’Arche. Nouwen offers reflections on his tendency to give from his abundance, ‘I see clearly how far I am from being like the two widows.(1Kings:17 – 26 and Mark 12: 41 – 44) I also realize that I cannot force myself to become like them. My spiritual task is to love God more each day, so that the many things that occupy my heart and mind will gradually lose their power over me’. Nouwen writes of a visit from Fr. George Strohmeyer of Erie, Pa. L’Arche and concludes this articles entries with a reflection of Abraham’s sacrifice of Issac.

The spirituality of peacemaking

This item is a 4 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘The Spirituality of Peacemaking’ published in The Church Herald of the Reformed Church in America, Vol. XLIII, No. 17, October 3, 1986, pp. 5 -7 & 27. This article is identified as a first of two on peacemaking. Nouwen begins the article by stating, ‘A peacemaker 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 goes on to discuss the difficulty of many to find time for prayer and the very mixed motives we have even when we do good works. ‘Why is it so hard to go beyond this strange moral exchange in which every good deed has a price attached it? Why is it that our needs often spoil even the most generous gesture?’ Nouwen goes on to say that it is in prayer that we can come to know ourselves and to grow to be free from the self-deceit he speaks of. He warns of peacemaking based on fear or a need to know what others think of us. Nouwen says,’ Peacemaking is a work of love and love casts out fear’. Nouwen concludes by stating, ‘Prayer – living in the presence of God – is the most radical peace action we can imagine’.

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…’

Orthodox downward mobility or secularist prosperity?: the tragedy of Dutch Catholicism

This item is an 8 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Orthodox Downward Mobility or Secularist Prosperity?’ published in the New Oxford Review, November 1986, pp.7 - 15. The article is identified as the third installment of a series of articles taken from a Nouwen diary written during his time as priest-in-residence at L’Arche, Trosley-Breuil, France. The excerpts from Nouwen’s diary in this article begin December 2, 1985 and end January 5, 2986. Nouwen’s entries begin with a description of his frustration with himself and how he uses his time; how he becomes so easily distracted from what may be more important things. He writes then, of talks given by Jean Vanier about living with the poor, being poor. Jean says, ‘Jesus always leads us to littleness. It is the place where misery and mercy meet. It is the place where we encounter God’. Nouwen writes of a letter he receives which is a call from the L’Arche community at Daybreak in Canada to be their pastor and his realization that he had never been Called before, his life choices until then had been his. There is a short entry on the ‘glory’ of God; a longer entry about the celebration of Christmas at L’Arche and a certain distance Nouwen felt from it all. The remainder of the entries are about his visit to his family and friends in Holland; his sense of distance again, this time because so many have left the church and no longer really ‘hear’ what he wants to share. He describes a visit to his Bishop about going to Daybreak; the state of marriage as he experiences it among his friends; his father’s 83rd birthday celebration. His final entry states, ‘As I leave my country I feel powerless and sad. I also feel an inner desire to do something for my own people and church in Holland – somehow, sometime’.

A response from Henri J.M. Nouwen

This item is a 1 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘A Response from Henri J.M. Nouwen” published in The Christian Ministry, Vol. 18, No. 1, January 1987, p. 20. This item is a response to an article published in this same volume entitled: ‘The Minister as Narrator’ by John Robert McFarland in which the ‘model’ of the minister presented by Nouwen in ‘The Wounded Healer’ and that of James D. Glasse in ‘Profession: Minister: Confronting the Identity Crisis of the Parish Clergy’ is critically evaluated and found wanting. Nouwen responds by noting that his concept of wounded healer was simply ‘an attempt to say something – not everything – about ministry’. Nouwen suggests that McFarland’s ideas have merit and much to offer, ‘if he does not try to offer too much’.

A spirituality of waiting: being alert to God's presence in our lives

This item is a 12 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled: ‘A Spirituality of Waiting: Being Alert to God’s presence in our Lives’, published in Weavings, January/February 1987, pp. 6 – 17. Nouwen begins by suggesting two aspects of waiting: waiting for God and the waiting of God. Nouwen identifies these two aspects of waiting found first in the beginning of Luke’s Gospel and then, at the end of Luke’s Gospel. In the first section Nouwen points out how hard it is for most of us to wait; that waiting is considered as wasting time. He then points to the people in Luke’s Gospel who are waiting: Zechariah and Elizabeth, Mary, Simeon and Anna. Nouwen then discusses 1) the nature of waiting as waiting with a sense of promise and 2) waiting as active. In the scripture the figures he writes of are waiting for the fulfilment of a promise and they are waiting very actively. ‘The secret of waiting is the faith that the seed has been planted, that something has begun. Active waiting means to be present fully to the moment, in the conviction that something is happening where you are and that you want to be present of it’. Nouwen also describes a waiting person as a patient person. In a section on the practice of waiting Nouwen describes the need we have of community and mutual support along with an alertness to the word. Nouwen then looks at the waiting found in the last part of Luke’s Gospel , in the passion of Jesus. Nouwen states that this material is outlined in a book by W.H. Vanstone called ‘The Stature of Waiting’. Nouwen begins by describing the concerns of a friend who was dying of cancer and didn’t see how to live the passivity of his life. The remainder of the article enlarges on the idea by Vanstone that Jesus moved from action to passion, losing control of his life and waiting and allowing it to happen. Jesus and God are waiting to see how people will respond, how we will respond and they do not have control over that. Nouwen concludes by stating, ‘If it is true that God in Jesus Christ is waiting for our response to divine love then we can discover a whole new perspective on how to wait in life’.

Christ's simultaneous absence & presence: tasting the sweetness of the Lord

This item is a 4 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘Christ’s Simultaneous Absence and Presence’, published in the New Oxford Review, Vol. LIV, No. 1, January/February 1987, pp. 4 – 7. This item is part 5 of a 10 part series which are entries from a diary written by Nouwen during his stay at L’Arche, Trosly-Breuil, France , 1985 – 86. The first entry for February 9 is written from Freiburg and Nouwen is describing his visit to the Munster and a painting of the crowning of Mary. Nouwen finds the painting has lost touch with Mary as the poor and humble servant of the gospel. Nouwen also writes of need for Protestant and Catholic to continue the careful listening they are trying to do now. The next entry, a week later, and Lent has begun. Nouwen writes of his difficulty with fasting but his need for it. ‘I hope and pray that fasting will drive the demons away, and give me a clearer eye for the presence of the One in whose absence I fast’. The next day Nouwen is again at the Munster, at first standing in the snowy empty square outside and then within, where he goes to confession and walks home ‘with a heart full of peace’. The next day is a visit with his friends Franz, Reny and Robert Johnas to Colmar for Mass. The next two entries are reflections on the Gospel of the day, Matthew 25 on the need to serve Jesus in the ‘least’ ‘where is hidden the real joy and peace my heart searches for’. And the gospel which speaks of making peace with people you are at odds with. The last entry, dated February indicates Nouwen has returned to L’Arche and is a reflection on suffering.

The most profound basis for the sacredness of all human flesh: the bodily resurrection of Jesus

This item is a 4 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘The Bodily Resurrection of Jesus: The Most Profound Basis for the Sacredness of All Human Flesh’, published in the New Oxford Review, LIV, No. 2, March 1987, pp. 15 – 18. This item is number 6 in a series of 10 articles from a diary kept by Nouwen while he was at L’Arche Trosley-Breuil, France, 1985-6. The entries begin February 28, 1986 and the first three are Nouwen’s reflections on a book by James Bentley entitled, ‘Secrets of Mount Sinai’. This book as Nouwen recounts it , covers the story of German scripture scholar, Tischendorf’s finding and removal of the Codex Sinaiticus from the Monastery of St Catherine. Nouwen finds the attitude of Tischendorf to the monks disdainful. Nouwen then follows with some thoughts related to the different endings of Mark’s gospel, about the resurrection of the body, Bentley’s reflection that he did not believe this and Nouwen’s own thoughts. In the last two entries Nouwen describes his feelings of being busy with nothing being accomplished and his sense of disconnection. The last entry is dated, March 11, 1986.

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’.

The primacy of the heart

This item is a 2 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘The Primacy of the Heart’ , published in Expressions by the St. Benedict Center, Madison , Wisconsin, March/April 1987, pp. 1 & 8. This item is taken from Henri Nouwen’s L’Arche journals. Nouwen begins by saying that he had gone to Pere Thomas for spiritual direction, asking for help with his hunger for affection. Nouwen then tries to understand the two hour response he received. Pere Thomas began by identifying our ‘highly psychologized culture [in which] affection has become the central concern’. We feel worthy or not, depending upon other’s response and we become prevented from reaching an inner place of healing which Thomas sees as the heart. Nouwen discusses Thomas’ perception of the mystical life, not as a place for the accomplished spiritual person but as God with us from the beginning of our lives. The heart then ‘ is much wider and deeper than our affections, It is before and beyond the distinctions between sorrow and joy, anger and lust, fear and love. It is the place where all is one in God, the place where we truly belong’.

From The peace that is not of this world

This item is a 2 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘The Peace that is not of this World’, published in Peace Day newsletter by National Peace Day Celebrations, Inc.,Spring 1987, pp. 1 -2. Nouwen begins this item by stating, ‘Keep your eyes on the prince of peace…who is the source of all peace’. Nouwen identifies the place where peace is found then as in weakness, ‘in those places of our heart where we feel most broken, most insecure, most in agony, most afraid’. Nouwen speaks of the darkness in which many live and the Light which dispels the darkness. He ends with a story from an old Hasidic tale about determining the hour of dawn…’It is then, …when you can look into the face of human beings and you have enough light in you to recognize them as your brothers and sisters’.

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’.

To meet the body is to meet the word: living the incarnation at L'Arche

This item is a 5 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘To Meet the Body is to meet the Word’ published in the New Oxford Review, Vol. LIV, No. 3, April 1987, pp. 3 – 7. This is an excerpt from Nouwen’s diaries written during his year at L’Arche Trosley Breuil, France. The entries begin March 15, 1986 and end April 7, 1986 with gaps. In his first entry Nouwen is reflecting on the gospel of the day; the story of Nicodemus and his struggle to both do the right thing and be respected by his peers. Nouwen writes of that same struggle in his own life. In the second entry Nouwen reflects on Jean Vanier’s statement that L’Arche is built upon the body not the word. Nouwen then discusses his resistance to that but concludes with the question, ‘I wonder when and how I will learn fully to live the incarnation.’ In the third and fourth entries Nouwen reflects upon the covenant retreat that he has experienced. Following these is an entry talking about Jesus’ wounds in his resurrected body and Nouwen writes, ‘ Thus I proclaim that my wounds are not causes for embarrassment, but the source of a joyful acknowledgement of my unique vocation to journey with Jesus through suffering to the glory of God’. The next entry, probably written for Easter Sunday 1986 reflects on our need to be able to speak of the risen Lord. The final entry is about the arrival of his friend Charles Bush.

Why I came to L'Arche

This item is a half-page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘Why I came to L’Arche’, published in Scarboro Missions, by The Scarboro Foreign Missions Society, April 1987, Vol. 68, No. 4, p. 22. Nouwen briefly discusses his journey to the L’Arche community of Daybreak at Richmond Hill, On. He describes his time at Yale and Harvard and his sense that ‘I wasn’t living fully what I was speaking about’. Nouwen speaks of his contact with Jean Vanier and his eventual decision to try to live the community life of L’Arche.

The extraordinary witness of Marthe Robin: to suffer with Jesus

This item is a 6 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘The Extraordinary Witness of Marthe Robin’, published in New Oxford Review, Vol. LIV, No. 4, May 1987, pp. 4 – 10. This item is 8th in a series of articles reflecting on the year Nouwen spent at L’Arche, Trosley Breuil, France in 1985/6. Marthe Robin was a French woman born in 1902 and died in 1981, who was considered by many to have extraordinary spiritual experiences. She has been said to have influenced the lives of many people through her spiritual advice and way of living. The entries in this article focus entirely on his visit to the house and room where Marthe Robin lived and died. The entries are dated April 13, 1986 - April 19. 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 Pere George Finet, the founder of the Foyers de Charite.

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.

A glimpse of the "gay world" in San Francisco & the "fast world" in Los Angeles: struggling to remain anchored in Jesus

This item is a 5 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Struggling to remain anchored in Jesus, published in the New Oxford Review, July-August 1987, pp. 5 – 9. This item is part 10 and the final installment of a series of articles written during the year that Nouwen was resident at L’Arche, Trosly-Breuil , France. The items date from May 31, 1986 to July 6, 1986. The first entry describes a visit Henri and a friend make to the Castro district of San Francisco, a gay area. He writes of seeing the fearful, lonely faces of men struggling with the awareness of AIDS. Nouwen concludes the entry stating that his friend commented, ‘I am glad you came. There are too few people who mention his Name in the district. There are so many negative associations with his Name and still he is the greatest source of hope.’ The next entry describes his visit to Los Angeles and the atmosphere of what he describes as ‘the enormous superficiality of our culture’. Nouwen then flies to Madison, Wisconsin for a visit with Parker and Sally Palmer to discuss theological education and a possible one-week summer institute for seminary professors. Palmer and Nouwen discuss the need for theological students to have spiritual help, not to separate theology and spirituality. Nouwen notes that: ‘the study of theology must have the quality of prayer; theological study must also foster the creation of communities of faith… and finally, the study of theology must always lead to witness’. The final three entries are written when Nouwen returns to France and finds himself assessing his year there. He writes of wanting to share with Nathan but having to wait to do that, he notes that he feels scattered and finds it hard to pray for an hour in the morning, he is not sleeping well and feels ‘somewhat indifferent’ but not depressed. Nouwen realizes that he has not really got to know the handicapped people as well as he hoped. In the last entry Nouwen notes that he is leaving Trosly, will visit his family, go to Boston and then on to Daybreak for a three year commitment. He notes three graces from his time at L’Arche: being in Europe again, renewing and making friendships, and beginning to make a deeper contact with the handicapped.

L'Arche and the world

This item is a 5 page article from a talk given by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘l’Arche in the World’ published in The Letters of l’Arche, September/December, 1987, Nos. 53 & 54, pp. 29 – 33. This publication was a special issue devoted to the l’Arche Federation Meeting, Rome, May, 1987. Nouwen begins his article by stating how irritating he first found a common l’Arche expression: ‘l’Arche is given to the world’. Nouwen believed that such a phrase ‘had an insane ring to it’. The remainder of the article goes on to deal with the following statement: ‘ How is our small daily, routine life at l’Arche connected with our immense world, groaning in labour pains, eagerly waiting to be set free? I propose to look for a response to this question in the resurrection stories as we find them in the four gospels’. Nouwen then divides his comments in three sections: The Stranger, The Intimate Friend and The Teacher. In The Stranger Nouwen speaks of the hiddenness of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, how he comes to his disciples after his death as at first, a stranger and the disciples both knew and didn’t know him. Nouwen tells the story of Adam Arnett who lives in his house and then speaks of the hidden quality of all suffering: ‘Only by acknowledging this hidden suffering that bonds our heart with the heart of all human beings can we become truly compassionate people… In The Intimate Friend Nouwen states, ‘The stranger reveals himself to us as the most intimate friend’. Nouwen goes on to suggest that our lives are built on deep personal relationships and not, for instance, issues. Nouwen then relates the story of the growth of his relationship with Bill in his community and concludes by saying, ‘l’Arche is there to remind us that the intimate personal relationships developed over months and years of faithfulness allow us to be in the world without being destroyed by its countless urgencies and emergencies’. In the section entitled The Teacher Nouwen states,’ Jesus teaches his disciples that suffering and death are no longer connected with sin and punishment, but with the glory of God…It is hard to grasp the revolutionary character of this teaching. Nouwen notes that ‘l’Arche teaches the possibility of a suffering that leads to glory. Finally, Nouwen concludes ‘As people of l’Arche , people of the resurrection, our small daily lives must be connected to the great struggles of our contemporary world’.

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.

Care: spirituality and everyday life

This item is a two page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Care’, published in Fellowship in Prayer, Vol. 38, No.6, December 1987, pp. 23 – 25. This item is a short excerpt from Henri Nouwen’s ‘Out of Solitude’. Nouwen begins by asking, ‘What does it mean to care?’ Nouwen then writes of the ambiguous ways in which the word ‘care’ is often used and the root meaning ‘Kara, which means lament’. Nouwen states, ‘Real care is not ambiguous. Real care excludes indifference and is the opposite of apathy’. Nouwen writes of different kinds of care and states, ‘The friend who cares makes it clear that whatever happens in the external world, being present to each other is what really matters. In fact, it matters more than pain, illness, or even death’.

The "yes" of Christmas

This item is a one paragraph excerpt from Henri Nouwen entitled ‘The “yes” of Christmas’, published in Christianity Today, December 11, 1987, p. 32. It is a quote from New Oxford Review, November 1986. The entire excerpt reads: ‘I realized that songs, good feelings, beautiful liturgies, nice presents, big dinners, and many sweet words do not make Christmas. Christmas is saying ‘yes’ to something beyond all emotions and feelings. Christmas is saying ‘yes’ to a hope based on God’s initiative, which has nothing to do with what I think or feel. Christmas is believing that the salvation of the world is God’s work, and not mine’.

Spirituality and the family

This item is 4 page an article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Spirituality and the Family’ published in Weavings, Vol.III, No.1, January/February, 1988, pp. 7 – 10. Nouwen begins by suggesting that the ‘vocation of the Christian [is] a vocation to solitude and intimacy’. Nouwen goes on to suggest that this vocation ‘finds a very powerful and unique expression in the family’. In the first section entitled ‘The Vocation of Solitude’ Nouwen writes that it is in solitude ‘that we discover the inner space where our creativity finds its roots and from which our real vitality springs’. Nouwen suggests that rather valuing ourselves or others by what we do, it is in solitude that we will, through the Holy Spirit, find our true selves and be able therefore, to value others. ‘Therefore, the first gift of family members to each other is the gift of solitude in which they can discover their real selves’. ‘ When there is no solitude in a family, when there are no private times and private places, then family life becomes such a filled up, busy, restless life that it can no longer be home, the place from which we move and to which we return’. In the second and final section entitled, ‘The Vocation of Intimacy’ Nouwen writes that the gift of solitude makes the gift of intimacy possible, an intimacy which is not possessive but nurturing. This applies, Nouwen suggests, both to the relationships between parents and children and also that between husband and wife.

The peace that is not of this world

This item is a 12 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘The Peace that is Not of this World’ published in ‘Weavings’ Vol. III, No. 2, March/April 1988, pp. 23 – 34. Nouwen introduces the article by describing his move from the intellectual atmosphere of Harvard to the l’Arche community for the mentally handicapped at Daybreak. Nouwen writes of the atmosphere of loving equality at his house and then begins to write of Adam Arnett for whom Nouwen had some responsibility. Nouwen describes Adam as a totally dependent man who could not speak nor care for himself and who suffered daily with grand mal seizures. Nouwen describes his own apprehension at being asked to take early morning and evening responsibility for Adam. As he began to know Adam however, Nouwen says, ‘Out of this broken body and broken mind emerged a most beautiful human being offering me a greater gift than I would ever be able to offer him’. Nouwen uses the remainder of the article to write of Adam’s role as a man of peace, a peacemaker. ‘Adam’s peace is first of all a peace rooted in being’. Nouwen compares this with the desire of many people to strive for success and for self-worth rather than accepting much more just ‘to be’. Nouwen writes of the importance of the heart over the mind; of the heart as the center of our being where God is. Nouwen writes of the ways in which Adam helps to create community among all those who are committed to his care. As Nouwen concludes the article he writes of Jesus, the Prince of Peace ; Jesus whose peace is found in weakness. Nouwen then goes on to speak of the larger international world, ‘I am only saying that the seeds of national and international peace are already sown on the soil of our own suffering and the suffering of the poor, and that we truly can trust that these seeds, like the mustard seeds of the gospel, will produce large shrubs in which many birds can find a place to rest.’

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’.

Praying with icons

This item is a 5 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Praying with Icons’ in the Forum section of the National Catholic Reporter, Vol. 24, No. 25, April 15, 1988, pp. 7 – 11. This item consists of edited excerpts from Nouwen’s book: Behold the Beauty of the Lord’; commentaries on four Russian icons. The first icon Nouwen looks at is Rublev’s Holy Trinity painted in 1425. Nouwen begins by stating ‘To live in the world without belonging to the world summarizes the essence of the spiritual life’ which reminds us that our true home is with God. Nouwen goes on to write that ‘I have never seen the house of love more beautifully expressed than in [this] icon. Nouwen writes that this icon has helped him to enter more deeply into the mystery of God and yet remain fully engaged in the ‘hate and fear-filled world’. Nouwen ends this meditation by stating,’ The longer we pray with the icon and the deeper our heart is drawn toward that mysterious place where circle and cross are both present, the more fully we come to understand how to be committed to the struggle for justice and peace in the world while remaining at home in God’s love’. In the second icon, The Virgin of Vladimir painted in the 12th C., Nouwen begins by describing the importance of this icon through the centuries. He then begins by writing first of her eyes, then her hands and finally, the child in her arms. Nouwen also writes, ‘Contemplating this icon was a profound experience for me. It was the experience of being lifted up through the intercession of the Blessed Mother into the inner life of God’. The third icon, The Savior of Zvenigorod, Nouwen writes first of his longing always, to see the face of Christ and in this 15th C., somewhat damaged icon by Andre Rublev, Nouwen sees a face in which he ‘saw what I had never seen before and felt what I had never felt before’. Nouwen speaks of his face and then states, ‘what finally makes seeing Rublev’s icon such a profound spiritual experience are the eyes of the Savior. The fourth icon is a 15th C. Russian icon entitled ‘The Descent of the Holy Spirit’. Nouwen describes how gazing upon this icon helps move his head knowledge to his heart. He suggests that the iconographer ‘has chosen to paint the deepest meaning of Pentecost. He wants to express the inner event’. Nouwen concludes by writing, ‘ All four icons speak of a God not hidden in the dazzling splendor of the divine light, but in reaching out to a world yearning for freedom…’

Adam's peace

This item is an article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Adam’s Peace’ published in World Vision, Vol. 32, No. 4, August-September, 1988, pp. 4- 7. Versions of this article have been published previously in Weavings and in The Journal of Christian Healing, 1988. See items 1727 & 1729. Nouwen begins by describing his move from the intellectual atmosphere of Harvard to the l’Arche community for the mentally handicapped at Daybreak. Nouwen writes of the atmosphere of loving equality at his house and then begins to write of Adam Arnett for whom Nouwen had some responsibility. Nouwen describes Adam as a totally dependent man who could not speak nor care for himself and who suffered daily with grand mal seizures. As he began to know Adam however, Nouwen says, ‘Out of this broken body and broken mind emerged a most beautiful human being offering me a greater gift than I would ever be able to offer him’. Nouwen uses the remainder of the article to write of Adam’s role as a man of peace, a peacemaker. ‘Adam’s peace is first of all a peace rooted in being’. Nouwen compares this with the desire of many people to strive for success and for self-worth rather than accepting much more just ‘to be’. Nouwen writes of the importance of the heart over the mind; of the heart as the center of our being where God is. Nouwen writes of the ways in which Adam helps to create community among all those who are committed to his care. As Nouwen concludes the article he writes of Jesus, the Prince of Peace; Jesus whose peace is found in weakness. Nouwen begins his conclusion by then turning to us and saying, ‘I say to you: do not give up working for peace. But remember that the peace you seek is not of this world…Keep your eyes on the one who is poor with the poor, weak with the weak, and rejected with the rejected. That one is the source of all peace’.

Heart speaks to heart

This item is a 2 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled: ‘Heart Speaks to Heart’ published in The Catholic Leader (Australia), October 1988, pp. 13 & 18. This item is identified as part 1 of a 3 part series. Versions of this article appear in Weavings, The Journal of Christian Healing and World Vision Magazine, all in 1988. See items 1727, 1729, 1732, Box. 297. Nouwen opens by describing his move from Harvard University to the l’Arche community of Daybreak near Toronto. Nouwen speaks of the house in which he lived with 6 handicapped people and 3 assistants. ‘When there are no special crises we live together in a family…We laugh a lot, we cry a lot. Nouwen then goes on to write of his apprehension in being asked to take on some of the care of Adam Arnett who was a severely handicapped man who needed help to do everything, who suffered from grand mal seizures and who could not speak. Nouwen describes his growing sense of friendship with Adam. ‘Deep speaks to deep, spirit speaks to spirit, heart speaks to heart. I started to realise that there was a mutuality of love not based on shared knowledge or shared feelings, but on shared humanity’. Nouwen states that Adam’s parents when asked what Adam gave to them said, ‘He brought us peace…’ Nouwen writes then, that Adam’s peace is ‘first of all a peace rooted in being…Being is more important than doing…His gift is his pure being with us’. Nouwen concludes this article by recalling how much of his own identity and value seemed to be tied up with what he did. ‘Adam says to me “Peace is first of all the art of being”. I know he is right because after four months of being with Adam I am discovering in myself an inner at-homeness that I did not know before’.

The peace that flows from a broken heart: the quest for God

This item is a one page article by Henri Nouwen entitled: The Peace that Flows from a Broken Heart’, published in The Catholic Leader (Australia), October 30, 1988, p. 2. This item is identified as being part 2 of a 3 part series. The Archives does not have part 3. Nouwen begin by talking of the times he prays with Adam Arnett, the severely handicapped man Nouwen helps care for. Then he writes, ‘Adam’s peace is not only a peace rooted in being but also a peace rooted in the heart’. Nouwen notes that Adam keeps telling him over and over that what makes us human is not our mind but our heart…’by heart I mean the centre of our being where God has hidden the Divine gifts of trust, hope and love’. Nouwen describes Adam’s heart as a broken heart from which his peace flows. Nouwen then goes on to say that one of the gifts of Adam’s peace is that it helps form community. Because of his needs and gifts Adam is at the center of his community. Nouwen concludes this article by stating,’ Most of my adult life I have tried to show the world that I could do it on my own, that I needed others only to get me back on my lonely road…with many others I wanted to become a self-sufficient star’ and yet, Nouwen suggests, that has left a world on the brink of total destruction.

The place of his presence

This item is a half- page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘The Place of his presence’ published in The Lutheran, December 14, 1988, Vol. 1, No. 18, p. 15. This item is written in the form of a prayer to Jesus in his poverty, rejection and powerlessness asking Jesus’ to be with Nouwen and all his people especially at their poorest.

The peace that is not of this world

Item consists of an article based on a lecture series. Nouwen gave this talk, the first in a lecture series on peace, at St. Paul's Catholic Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts, February 10, 1987.This item is a 7 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘ The Peace that is not of this World’, published in the ‘Journal of Traditional Acupuncture’, Winter 1988 – 89, Vol. X, No. 1, pp. 34 – 40. This is an article published earlier in Weavings, March/April 1988 with an additional introduction from the original talk. Nouwen begins by saying ‘ As I was preparing this presentation, however, I experienced a deep inner emptiness, a sense of futility in regard to words, even a despair about saying anything about peace, peacemaking or a spirituality of peace…But I am here and the reason is that I finally decided to share my poverty and trust that God does not want me to hide it from you’. . Nouwen goes on to describe his move from the intellectual atmosphere of Harvard to the l’Arche community for the mentally handicapped at Daybreak. Nouwen writes of the atmosphere of loving equality at his house and then begins to write of Adam Arnett for whom Nouwen had some responsibility. Nouwen describes Adam as a totally dependent man who could not speak nor care for himself and who suffered daily with grand mal seizures. Nouwen describes his own apprehension at being asked to take early morning and evening responsibility for Adam. As he began to know Adam however, Nouwen says, ‘Out of this broken body and broken mind emerged a most beautiful human being offering me a greater gift than I would ever be able to offer him’. Nouwen uses the remainder of the article to write of Adam’s role as a man of peace, a peacemaker. ‘Adam’s peace is first of all a peace rooted in being’. Nouwen compares this with the desire of many people to strive for success and for self-worth rather than accepting much more just ‘to be’. Nouwen writes of the importance of the heart over the mind; of the heart as the center of our being where God is. Nouwen writes of the ways in which Adam helps to create community among all those who are committed to his care. As Nouwen concludes the article he writes of Jesus, the Prince of Peace ; Jesus whose peace is found in weakness. Nouwen then goes on to speak of the larger international world, ‘I am only saying that the seeds of national and international peace are already sown on the soil of our own suffering and the suffering of the poor, and that we truly can trust that these seeds, like the mustard seeds of the gospel, will produce large shrubs in which many birds can find a place to rest.’

We have received more

This item is a 1/3 column article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘ We have received more’, published in ‘The Link and Visitor’, Vol. 62, No. 1, January 1989, p. 7. This item is an excerpt from an article published in Sojourners Magazine, July, 1985. Nouwen begins by stating, ‘People with mental handicaps are able to give much to those who are able to receive. They give their hearts’. Nouwen then goes on to describe the flourishing, fruit-bearing life the handicapped person lives when they live in a loving environment and the suffering and withdrawal when they are rejected. Nouwen concludes, ‘ They told me in many ways that I didn’t need to be afraid of my handicap, that I could also bear fruit as Jesus did when He offered His broken body to God.

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