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Because of Adam

This item is a 3 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Because of Adam’, published in The Reader’s Digest, January 1990, pp. 114 – 116. This item is condensed from an article published in Weavings, March/April 1988. Nouwen begins by stating that he has recently moved from academia to living at the l’Arche community of Daybreak with men and women who have mental disabilities. He describes being assigned to help a very severely handicapped man named Adam Arnett. Nouwen describes his daily routine with the totally helpless 25 year old man and his growing awareness that Adam was doing more for him than he for Adam. ‘This severely handicapped young man, whom outsiders sometimes describe with very hurtful words, started to become my dearest companion’. Nouwen goes on to describe the very special effect Adam has on the people with whom he lives and the peace that, because of Adam’s need, helps them to work together.

Story demonstrates true meaning of compassion

This item is a half-page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Story demonstrates true meaning of compassion’, published in The Liberal, March 13, 1991, p. B7. The Liberal appears to be a publication from Richmond Hill, ON. This item is a story of an old man who risks his own life to save a scorpion caught in a branch by water. It is not an original story by Nouwen but he concludes by stating, ‘[This story] challenges us to show that to embrace is more human than to reject, that to kiss is more human than to bite, to behold is more human than to stare, to be friends is more human than to be rivals, to make peace more human than to make war – in short that compassion is more human than strife.’

Unchanged by the world

This item is a half-page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Unchanged by the World’ published in Sojourners, August-September, 1991, Vol. 20, No. 7, pp. 28/29. This volume of Sojourners is noted as being the ‘20th Anniversary Issue’ and Nouwen’s article is referencing that. Nouwen opens the article by stating that the life and work of Sojourners reminds him of the little boy who asked the prophet ‘Dear Prophet, why do you keep prophesying when nobody listens to your words and when nobody changes their lives? The remainder of the article suggests that it is Sojourners future role ‘to keep calling its readers to live the brokenness of the world and their own brokenness under the blessing.’

Creating space to mourn our losses

This item is a half- page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘Creating Space to Mourn our Losses’ published in the meditation section of The Catholic New Times, March 29, 1992, p. 3. The item is identified as Part Two of a five-part series featuring the text of a talk by Nouwen for the 25th anniversary of Christian Counselling Services in Toronto. The archives has only the first 3 parts. Nouwen begins by stating ‘ When it is true that we all are healers through the Spirit who lives within us, we are called to create safe spaces to mourn our losses’. Nouwen describes the society we live in as one which does not support weakness, vulnerability, mourning. This, Nouwen suggests, gives rise to secrets, secrets which people hold in and do not share and therefore, do not mourn. ‘The Spirit of God within us says: “Mourn, my people, mourn. Let your pain rise up in your heart and burst forth in you with sobs and cries”’. Nouwen goes on to say that insofar as we allow ourselves to feel our pain ‘Healing starts not where our pain is taken away, but where it can be shared and seen as part of a larger pain.’

Adam's peace

This item is a one-page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Adam’s Peace’, published in ‘The Christian Reader’, March/April 1992, p.40. The article is identified as an excerpt from, ed. Robert Durback: ‘Seeds of Hope’, a Henri Nouwen Reader. Nouwen opens the article by describing his move from academia to the L’Arche community of Daybreak and his introduction to Adam, a severely handicapped man for whom Nouwen is asked to help care. Nouwen describes his initial discomfort but after time realizes that this man ‘who by many outsiders is considered an embarrassment, a useless creature who should not have been allowed to be born, had started to become my dearest companion’. In time Nouwen recognizes the presence of Jesus, the Prince of peace in him.

Forgiveness: the name of love in a wounded world

This item is a 10 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Forgiveness: The Name of Love in a Wounded World’, published in ‘Weavings: A Journal of the Christian Spiritual Life’, Vol. VII, No. 2, March/April 1992, pp. 6 – 15. The thoughts found in this article are identified as later to be found in Nouwen’s book, “The Life of the Beloved’. Nouwen begins the article by stating that in the stress and pressure of modern life he had ‘begun to wonder whether there was a single, simple word that might address the deep yearning of contemporary men and women for hope, trust, love and a vision larger than their own changing perspectives…That word is Beloved’. Nouwen goes on to describe how he began to see that word as applying to himself and to all; that it is a word of love from our ‘first love’, God. Nouwen sees self-rejection as one of the most powerful forces to be overcome in order to see ourselves as beloved. Nouwen suggests that we tend to seek our self-worth from human loves which of their nature will fail us. Nouwen goes on to describe ‘the experience of being called the Beloved is the experience of communion’, which he believes is the longing of all human hearts. ‘The treasure of communion is hidden in the ground on which we stand. That is our holy ground’. Nouwen then writes of the power of forgiveness, ‘Forgiveness is the name of love practiced among people who love poorly’…’we need to forgive and be forgiven every day, every hour…’ Finally Nouwen writes of the freedom to love that comes with awareness of being the Beloved. ‘Once we are free from the expectation of rewards, we no longer select those to whom we offer our love’.

You can go home again

This item is a two page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘You can go home again’, published in Salt: for Christians who seek social justice’ by the Claretians, Vol. 12, No. 4, April 1992, pp. 29 – 30. This article is identified as excerpts from Nouwen’s forthcoming book The Return of the Prodigal Son. Nouwen begins the article by describing his first encounter with Rembrandt’s painting and his powerful response to it coming as it was at a vulnerable time for Nouwen. Nouwen then goes on to write of the biblical story from which the painting and Nouwen’s writing is coming. Nouwen relates the story of the younger son and Nouwen’s own sense of finding himself in the story. ‘Over and over again I have left home. I have fled the hands of blessing and run off to faraway places searching for love! This is the great tragedy of my life and of the lives of so many I meet on my journey’. Nouwen concludes, ‘ Here the mystery of my life is unveiled. I am loved so much that I am left free to leave home. But the Father is always looking for me with outstretched arms to receive me back…’

An invitation to joy

This item is a 5 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘An Invitation to Joy’ published in the journal ‘Praying’ by the National Catholic Reporter, May-June 1992, pp. 4 – 9. This item is identified as an excerpt from Nouwen’s ‘The Return of the Prodigal Son’. Nouwen begins the article by stating, ‘I am not used to the image of God throwing a big party’. He then goes on to identify biblical passages where God is said to be throwing banquets and rejoicing and to suggest that ‘Celebration belongs to God’s kingdom. God not only offers forgiveness, reconciliation and healing, but wants to lift up these gifts as a source of joy for all who witness them’. Nouwen writes of his own inability to see joy in a dark world but notes how Jesus sees joy and cause for celebration in very small, seemingly insignificant moments. ‘For God numbers never seem to matter’. ‘People who have come to know the joy of God do not deny the darkness but they choose not to live in it’. Nouwen concludes by saying ‘When I first saw Rembrandt’s Prodigal Son, I never could have dreamt that becoming the repentant son was only a step on the way to becoming the welcoming father. I now see that the hands that forgive, console, heal and offer a festive meal must become my own’.

The gulf between East & West

Published in New Oxford Review 61, no. 4 (May 1994): 7-8, 10-16.
Item is 2 of a series of 2 articles. See also Published works series, box 299, item 1805.


This item is a one page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Service’, published in America, November 27, 1982, p. 325. This is an excerpt from Nouwen’s book, Gracias!: A Latin American Journal’. In this excerpt Nouwen writes of his sense of the power of the vocation to pray living amidst the poor of Cochabamba in Bolivia. He says, ‘True prayer always includes becoming poor. When we pray we stand naked and vulnerable in front of Our Lord and show him our true condition’. Part of the need for prayer as Nouwen describes it, using Psalm 80 as an example is to call God to task, ‘for challenging Him to make His love felt among the poor, is more urgent than ever’.

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