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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.’

Living in the house of love

This item is a 4 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Living in the House of Love’ published in ‘Alive Now, Images of Faith’, September – October, 1991, pp. 42 – 45. This item is a revised excerpt from Nouwen’s book ‘ Behold the Beauty of the Lord’. This excerpt is a reflection on Andre Rublev’s icon ‘The Holy Trinity’..Nouwen introduces the article by stating ‘The spiritual life keeps us aware that our true house is not the house of fear…but the house of love, where God resides’. He describes this as the essence of the spiritual life and speaks about the icon as reflecting ‘the house of love’. From meditation upon this house of love we can move into the world to be present to but not to be part of, this world. Nouwen then speaks about the effect that contemplation of this icon had upon him. Nouwen also speaks of how contemplation of the icon‘reveals the inner beauty of God’ and speaks of the link between the cross and love in our world today. Finally, Nouwen concludes by saying, ‘I pray that Rublev’s icon will teach many how to live in the midst of a fearful, hateful and violent world while moving always deeper into the house of love’.

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.’

There's a lot of pain

This item is a two page article by Henri Nouwen entitled 'There's a lot of pain...' published in Alive Now! Novemeber-December, 1991, p. 44-45. It is the first article by Nouwen featured in this publication. The theme of this issue is ‘Loneliness’ and this article is identified as an excerpt taken from a lecture Nouwen presented at the Scarritt-Bennett Center. The article discusses the pain and brokenness of human relationships and love and heart given and shared by God.

But what then can we do

This item is a one page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘But what then can we do?’ published in Alive Now! November-December, 1991, p. 47. It is the second article by Nouwen featured in this publication. The first article is entitled 'There's a lot of pain...' The theme of this issue is ‘Loneliness’ and this article is identified as an excerpt from Nouwen’s ‘Reaching Out’. Nouwen begins by asking ‘But what then can we do with our essential aloneness which so often breaks into our consciousness as the experience of a desperate sense of loneliness?’ Nouwen goes on to speak of the need to convert our loneliness into a fruitful solitude.

Reborn from above

This item is a 4 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘ Reborn from Above’, published in Spiritual Life, Vol. 38, No. 1, Spring 1992 by the Discalced Carmelite Friars of Washington, D.C., pp. 29 – 32. Nouwen opens the article with a quote from the Gospel of John ‘No one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above’ and ‘ what is born of human nature is human, what is born of the Spirit is Spirit’. Nouwen suggests that these are hard words for humans even though we all want a rebirth; freedom from our frustrations, pains and failures. Nouwen states however, that we also want to control the process. Nouwen goes on to point to two ways to seem to reach the goal: by our own discipline and effort and by the work of the Holy Spirit. The first he suggests, may be adequate but it is not what Jesus intends. ‘How can we describe the spiritual rebirth of which Jesus speaks…? An adequate description is impossible… However we can indicate something of what it is and what it is not’. After Nouwen writes of this he then he asks, ‘can we do something to be reborn from above…? Nouwen suggests that the greatest part of the answer is the ‘way of poverty’ in which we discover our own and other’s poverty and are able to recognize the work of the Holy Spirit in all. Finally, Nouwen points out that the rebirth from above is never final in this life.

A time to mourn, a time to dance

This item is a 2 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘A Time to mourn, a time to dance’, published in the Toronto Catholic New Times, mediation section, 15 March, 1992, Vol. 16, No.6, pp. 8-9. It is indicated that this is taken from a talk by Nouwen given to ‘Celebration 25’ honouring the 25th anniversary of the founding of Christian Counselling Services in Toronto. It is part one of five parts. The archives has only the first 3 parts of the series. In the Introduction, Nouwen points to his sense that healing is not strictly the preserve of professionals. ‘It belongs to the heart of our Christian vision that all of us, whether we have degrees or not, are called to be healers’ through the Holy Spirit. Nouwen goes on to suggest however that the ‘first thing the Healing Spirit within us calls us to do is to mourn our losses…’. Nouwen identifies the many kinds of losses people experience and to suggest that ‘our survival instinct is to live as if they are not real, as if life goes on as usual nothing really happens’. Nouwen goes on to say, ‘true healing starts at the moment that we can face the reality of our losses and let go of the illusions of control…I do believe that the Spirit of Jesus, the Spirit of love, is given to us to reach out beyond our fears and embrace the reality of our losses. That is what mourning is all about’.

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.

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…’

The freedom to dance

This item is a half-page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘The Freedom to Dance’, published in the Meditation section of the Catholic New Times of Toronto, ON., April 12, 1992, p. 3. The item is from Nouwen's lecture "A Time to Mourn. A Time to Dance" which he gave at Christian Counselling Services' "Celebration 25," on February 4 and 5, 1992 in Toronto. Nouwen begins the article by stating, ‘The Spirit of healing that makes us mourn is the same Spirit that makes us dance’. Nouwen suggests that mourning and dancing are never separated. He goes on to say ‘To heal is to teach people to dance in the awareness that their many losses, when mourned deeply, are the basis of the choreography of their dance’. Nouwen asks, ‘Can you feel the freedom that rises up in you when you have been stripped naked and have nothing to inhibit your movements anymore?’ Nouwen concludes the article by telling a story about a friend of his who visited his father who has Alzheimer’s.

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’.

Blessed

This item is a 5 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘Blessed’, published in Living Prayer, Vol. 25, No.4, July-August, 1992, pp. 3 – 7. This article is identified as an excerpt from a forthcoming book by Nouwen entitled, The Life of the Beloved. Nouwen opens with two stories of blessing; one about a young man at a Bar Mitzvah being blessed by his parents and the other about a woman at the L’Arche community of Daybreak asking for a blessing. In each story Nouwen speaks of our need to be blessed, ‘To give someone a blessing is the most significant affirmation we can offer’. Nouwen goes on, ‘ We also need an ongoing blessing that allows us to hear in an ever-new way that we belong to a loving God who will never leave us alone…’ Nouwen goes on to offer two suggestions for claiming our blessedness. The first is prayer in which, over time as we learn stillness, we can ‘hear’ God’s word of blessing. The second is ‘the cultivation of presence’. In this, Nouwen suggests, we learn to be present to the blessings that come to us each day, no matter how busy or unhappy or worried. Nouwen concludes, ‘ As you and I walk the streets of the cities in which we live, we can have no illusions about the darkness…Yet all of these people yearn for a blessing. That blessing can be given only by those who have heard it themselves.’

Choosing joy

This item is a 3 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Choosing Joy’ published in ‘New Covenant’, November 1992, pp. 7 -9. This item is identified as an excerpt from Nouwen’s ‘The Return of the Prodigal Son’. Nouwen begins by stating ‘I am not used to the image of God throwing a big party’. Nouwen goes on to write of the various instances in scripture in which Jesus speaks about banquets of celebration. ‘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 goes on to write of Rembrandt’s painting of the Prodigal and his reflections on it, finding himself in the returning son, the older son and finally, the father. ‘God rejoices. Not because the problems of the world have been solved, not because all human pain and suffering have come to an end…no, God rejoices because one of his children who was lost has been found’. Nouwen describes his difficulty in being able to rejoice in small things, scarcely noticed things. ‘The father of the prodigal son gives himself totally to the joy that his returning son brings him. I have to learn from that. I have to learn to “steal” all the real joy there is to steal and lift it up for others to see’. Nouwen goes on to examine the ‘radical difference’ between cynicism and joy. ‘Every moment of each day I have the chance to choose between cynicism and joy’. Nouwen ends by remembering that the younger son must grow in maturity and that he, Nouwen, and we are called not just to recognize ourselves in the two sons, but to become the father.

Reborn from above

This item is a 13 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘ Reborn from Above’, ‘Reflections’ by the Catholic Guild for the Blind, Vol. 1, No. 3, November 1992, pp.53 - 65. It is identified as first published in Spiritual Life, Vol. 38, No. 1, Spring 1992 by the Discalced Carmelite Friars of Washington, D.C., pp. 29 – 32. Nouwen opens the article with a quote from the Gospel of John ‘No one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above’ and ‘ what is born of human nature is human, what is born of the Spirit is Spirit’. Nouwen suggests that these are hard words for humans even though we all want a rebirth; freedom from our frustrations, pains and failures. Nouwen states however, that we also want to control the process. Nouwen goes on to point to two ways to seem to reach the goal: by our own discipline and effort and by the work of the Holy Spirit. The first he suggests, may be adequate but it is not what Jesus intends. ‘How can we describe the spiritual rebirth of which Jesus speaks…? An adequate description is impossible… However we can indicate something of what it is and what it is not’. After Nouwen writes of this he then he asks, ‘can we do something to be reborn from above…? Nouwen suggests that the greatest part of the answer is the ‘way of poverty’ in which we discover our own and other’s poverty and are able to recognize the work of the Holy Spirit in all. Finally, Nouwen points out that the rebirth from above is never final in this life.

Broken

This item is a 5- page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Broken’ published in ‘Living Prayer’ by Living Prayer Inc., Barre, VT, Vol. 26, No. 2, March – April 1993, pp. 3 – 7. This item is a slightly abbreviated chapter from Nouwen’s book ‘Life of the Beloved’. Nouwen is writing this as a letter to a secular friend. Nouwen begins by saying ‘Our sufferings and pains are not simply bothersome interruptions of our lives; rather they touch us in our uniqueness…the way I am broken tells you something unique about me’. Nouwen goes on to suggest that the most painful brokenness in society is what he calls ‘inner brokenness – a brokenness of the heart’. He suggests that the reaction of many is to feel rejected, alone and cast out by God. Nouwen offers two ways we may respond to our brokenness: befriending it and second, putting it under the blessing. Nouwen suggests that though looking the brokenness in the eye and befriending it is counter-cultural because we want to move away from pain, it is the way to healing. Nouwen then goes on to write about putting brokenness under the blessing as in fact, a precondition for befriending it. ‘Then our brokenness will gradually come to be seen as an opening toward the full acceptance of ourselves as the Beloved’. Nouwen concludes with some comments about how the music of Leonard Bernstein has helped him to understand what he is now writing about.

All is grace

This item is a 4-page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘All is Grace’, published in ‘Weavings’, by The Upper Room, Vol. VII, No. 6, November/December, 1992, pp. 38 – 41. Nouwen begins the article by describing a time at the l’Arche Daybreak community when a couple who were assistants were leaving to start a new community. Nouwen noticed that people spoke of gratitude for their time in terms of the good things that were achieved but spoke of the difficult or painful things as things to be forgotten. Nouwen then describes his own realization that in fact, ‘Gratitude as the gospel speaks about it embraces all of life’. Nouwen goes on to point out, ‘Jesus calls us to recognize that gladness and sadness are never separate, that joy and sorrow really belong together, and that mourning and dancing are part of the same movement’. Nouwen then points to what he calls ‘the discipline of gratitude’ and concludes speaking about the ‘celebration of gratitude’.

The 3 temptations

This item is a 2-page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘The Three Temptations: # 3,The temptation to be powerful’, published in Goodnews by the Catholic Charismatic Renewal In England, No. 105, May/June 1993. This is part 3 of a three part series of which the archives has only this. It is however, a slightly revised version of an article originally published in Sojourners, July 1981 and it seems likely that parts 1 and 2 will be as published in Sojourners (box 295, # 1637). Nouwen refers in the opening to this being the most seductive temptation of the 3 Jesus was faced with in the desert. Nouwen goes on to say that ‘there is probably no culture in which people are so unabashedly encouraged to seek power as ours’. Nouwen points out how we cannot believe that any good comes from powerlessness but that the call of Jesus was to just that. But that ‘only undivided attention to God can make a powerless ministry possible’. Nouwen concludes by stating, ‘Only when all of our service finds its source and goal in God can we be free from the desire for power and proceed to serve our neighbours for their sake and not our own’.

Going home

Item consists of an article featuring a talk by Nouwen. Nouwen gave this talk at Dayspring, a silent retreat center of Church of the Saviour, near Gaithersburg, MD.

Choose!

Item consist of a reprinted article, which is reprinted from The Primacy of the Heart, Cuttings from a Journal.

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.

The living Spirit

Item consists of an excerpt from Here and Now: Living in the Spirit.

Our story, our wisdom

Item consists of an article taken from a live recording of a Nouwen address given at Loyola University July 26, 1994.

Ein gutiges herz

Item consists of an excerpt from Was Mir am Herzen Liegt, Meditationen.

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