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Gratitude

This item is a 1½ page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Gratitude’, published in Radix Magazine, Sep/Oct. 1983, p. 23 - 24. This item is an entry from Nouwen, Henri: Gracias: A Latin American Journal. Nouwen begins the article by stating, ‘I have been thinking about the significance of gratitude in mission work’. He suggests that gratitude has not been a strong element in the life of missionaries. Nouwen then goes on to say, ‘True missioners are people who are hunting for the divine treasure hidden in the heart of the people to whom they want to make the good news known….The great paradox of ministry therefore, is that we minister above all with our weakness, a weakness that invites us to receive from those to whom we go’. Nouwen concludes by suggesting that gratitude is not a psychological disposition but a virtue that is only a fruit of prayer, ‘This viewpoint explains why true ministers, true missionaries, are always also contemplatives’.

Caring presence: reflections

This item is a 2 column article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Caring Presence’, published in SCJ News, October, 1983, Vol. 5, No. 2, p. 4. This item is an excerpt from Nouwen, Henri: Out of Solitude. Nouwen begins the article by asking, ‘What does it mean to care?’ He suggests that the word ‘care’ has often been misused and offers several examples. Nouwen goes on to say ‘… we tend to look at caring as an attitude of the strong toward the weak, of the powerful toward the powerless’. However, Nouwen suggests that real caring is when another shares our pain, touches our wounds with a ‘gentle and tender hand’. Nouwen concludes by stating, ‘To care means first of all to be present to each other…presence is a healing presence because they accept you on your terms and they encourage you to take your own life seriously…’.

We drink from our own wells

This item is a 4 page book review by Henri Nouwen published in America magazine, October 15, 1983, pp.205 – 208. Nouwen is reviewing a book by Gustavo Gutierrez entitled ‘We Drink From Our Own Wells: The Spiritual Journey of a People’ and that is also the title of the review. Nouwen opens the review by noting Gutierrez’ earlier book entitled ‘A Theology of Liberation’ which he suggests ‘soon became a charter for many Latin American theologians and pastoral workers’. Nouwen then goes on to describe this new book as ‘the nuanced articulation the Christ-encounter as experienced by the poor of Latin America in their struggle to affirm their human dignity and claim their true identity as sons and daughters of God’. Nouwen then goes on to describe his own personal experience of hearing Gutierrez speak before this book was written and his sense of the effect of his spirituality on those who were working for the poor in Latin America. Nouwen quotes Gutierrez “Poverty means death” and goes on to describe what this involves, ‘This death is not only physical but mental and cultural as well. It refers to the destruction of individual persons, peoples, cultures and traditions’. Nouwen then outlines three aspects of the spirituality of liberation described in the book: 1) that it is impossible to reduce liberation theology to a political movement, 2) that it is Christ-centered and 3) that is drawn from the concrete daily experiences of the Christian communities in Latin America. Nouwen states toward the conclusion, ‘When Gustavo Gutierrez points to freedom as the goal of a spirituality of liberation, he connects the struggle of the people of Latin America with the spiritual struggle of all the great Christians throughout the centuries’. Nouwen concludes the review with a re-iteration of his own sense that the spiritual destinies of the Americas are closely linked.

The suffering Christ: peacemaking across the Americas

This item is a 4 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘The Suffering Christ’, published in The Other Side, December 1983, Issue 147, pp. 16 – 19. This article is identified as an adaptation of a talk given by Henri Nouwen during a vigil for peace and non-intervention in Central America which was held in Philadelphia, Fall 1983. Nouwen opens the article by stating, ‘As people of God we are called to know God. Yet we who live in North America will never fully know God if we ignore the way God speaks to us through the people of South America’. This theme runs through the article which asks people to become involved in the struggles and sufferings currently in Central and South America. Nouwen describes his own attempts to understand what is happening there by going himself to Nicaragua. He states that the more people he talked to, the more confused he became and the more aware of deep divisions even among Christians. He asks ‘How can one live in such a world and be faithful? How can one live in a country in which even the Christians are growing more and more suspicious of one another? How can one live in that world and find one’s own spiritual center?’ Nouwen’s answer is to look at the ‘deep truth of those words we repeat so often: “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again”. For Nouwen there is the revelation of God’s suffering in the men, women and children of Central America; Nouwen then sees that because Christ is risen ‘that Jesus has overcome death; he has overcome evil and agony. Nouwen then states, ‘“Christ will come again”. What does this mean for us today?’ His answer is that Christ will not ask us if we have been successful but what we have done to serve the least of Christ’s people. Nouwen concludes by asking, ‘Are we willing to be weak and vulnerable with those who suffer? Are we willing to sit in solidarity with them and share their sorrow, their anxiety, their agony?’.

Entering the heart of God

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

Henri J.M. Nouwen on prayer

This item is a ¾ page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘On Prayer’, published in Reflections, St. Luke’s Parish newsletter for Week VI of Spring, 1984, April 8 – April 14. The location of this parish is not identified. The item is identified as an excerpt from, Nouwen, Henri: With Open Hands, Ave Maria Press, Notre Dame, IN., 1972. Nouwen begins by speaking of the connection between prayer and silence. He suggests however, that for many people ‘silence has become a real disturbance’. Nouwen then goes on to speak of inner silence which, he suggests, when it comes is a gift, a promise. ‘It is the silence of the ‘poor in spirit’ where you learn to see your life in its proper perspectives’. He also suggests that ‘prayer is acceptance’.Nouwen concludes the excerpt by stating, ‘Above all, praying means to be accepting toward God who is always new, always different’.

Christ of the Americas

This item is a 10 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Christ of the Americas’, published in America magazine, April 21, 1984, Vol. 150. No. 15, pp. 293 – 302. This item was later published in Nouwen, Henri: The Road to Peace, ed. John Dear, 1998. In this article Nouwen is writing about the situation then current in Central America, specifically, Nicaragua which he had just visited. Nouwen states that he believes that the ‘suffering Christ of North America and the suffering Christ of South America were one’. Nouwen divides the article into three sections: Christ has Died, 2) Christ has Risen, 3) Christ will Come Again. In the first section, Nouwen states that there is no suffering which has not been suffered by God. ‘There can be no human beings who are completely alone in their sufferings since God, in and through Jesus, has become…God with us’. Nouwen goes on to say that the people of Nicaragua are our brothers and sisters and that no political ideology should blind us to that. Nouwen states that he had hoped to find the Nicaraguan church as a support to the people who are suffering but sees instead, division. ‘I had to hold on to the truth that the tearing apart of the Word outside as well as inside the church was the bitter fruit of five centuries of unfaithfulness’. 2) In this section, Christ has Risen, Nouwen begins by asking,’ Can we face the death of Christ without knowing about his resurrection?’ ‘Christ is risen means that guilt, loneliness, hunger, poverty, war and devastation no longer have the last word.’ Nouwen uses an example of this, a meeting he attended with some women on the border with Honduras who had lost family and suffered greatly from soldiers armed and supported by the American government. Nouwen describes in this meeting as a moment of unexpected forgiveness. In 3) Christ will Come Again, Nouwen suggests that this is about Christ returning as judge. The question asked of each person will not be how successful you have been but ‘what have you done for the least of mine?’. This question will be asked of nations as well as individuals. Nouwen writes of the fears of the United States government and their harsh treatment of a small, poor nation as resulting from a fear of communism and of the Soviet Union. Nouwen end s this section by suggesting ‘The Lord who becomes one of us in humility does not really judge us. He reveals to us what we have become to one another’. Nouwen concludes the article by stating how crucial prayer is and will be in our efforts to ‘keep our eyes fixed on Jesus’ to bring peace to our world.

Intimacy, fecundity and ecstasy

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

Rublev's icon of the trinity: a reflection on the spiritual life

This item is a 2 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Rublev’s Icon of the Trinity, A Reflection on the Spiritual Life’, published in The Harvard Divinity Bulletin of Harvard University, June-August 1984, Vol. XIV, No. 5, pp. 8 – 9. Nouwen introduces the article by asking, ‘How can we live in the midst of a world marked by fear, hatred and violence and not be destroyed by it?’ 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. Under the heading: ‘The Icon: A Gentle Invitation’ Nouwen speaks about the effect that contemplation of this icon had upon him. In the second section entitled, ‘Where Heart Speaks to Heart’, Nouwen speaks of how contemplation of the icon ‘reveals the inner beauty of God’. In a third section entitled, ‘The Circle, The Cross and Liberation’, speaks of the link between the cross and love in our world today. Finally, in a section entitled, Spirituality: The Source of Confident Commitment, 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’.

Intimacy and solidarity

This item is a 4 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘Intimacy and Solidarity’, published in The Round Table, by The Catholic Worker movement, St. Louis, MO, Autumn, 1984, pp. 3 – 6. Nouwen begins the article by stating, ‘The words we most need to hear during these turbulent days are: “Do not be afraid”’. Nouwen then goes on to describe the power of fear current in society. He suggests however that fear omnipresent as it is need not be considered acceptable; that it is still possible to live in ‘the house of love’. Nouwen identifies Jean Vanier, founder of the L’Arche movement as the one who helped him to see that ‘intimacy, fecundity and ecstasy are the three qualities of a life together in the house of love’. Nouwen goes on to talk about ‘home’,’ homelessness’ and suggests that intimacy is the first and most obvious quality of home. Nouwen writes of the connection between intimacy and what people might think is counter-intuitive, solidarity with others. The solidarity in intimacy is Nouwen’s sense of the meeting of all human beings, in the heart of Jesus. ‘Living in the intimacy of God’s home we can come to see that the God who loves us with a perfect love includes all human beings in that love without in any way diminishing the unique quality of this love for each individual person’. Nouwen concludes the article by again referencing Jean Vanier and his work with mentally handicapped people especially as it is a reminder of solidarity with the weak, the poor, the ‘inefficient’.

Spiritual direction

This 3 page item is part 1 of an article by Henri Nouwen entitled Spiritual Direction, published in The Word, a publication of Christ Episcopal Church, Oil City, Pa., September, 1984, pp. 7 – 9. In the introduction Nouwen defines spiritual direction and identifies his intention in the article: ‘ In these reflections, I would like to offer a few ideas which might help in defining the nature of this ministry of spiritual direction and which might begin to suggest some concrete ways in which this ministry can be practiced’. This article, which is the first of 3, focuses on ‘The Movement from Absurdity to Obedience’. Nouwen suggests that absurd living is being deaf to God, being unable to find the silence to hear God in our busy lives. He then indicates the reality of obedience: ‘The obedient life forms the other end of the spiritual spectrum. The word obedience includes the word “audire’ which means “listening”…’ Nouwen speaks, finally about the difficulty of the road from absurdity to obedience.

Spiritual directions

This item is a 2 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘Spiritual Direction” . It is part 3 of a series of 3 published in The Word, Christ Episcopal Church, Oil City, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., November 1984, pp. 5 & 12. This item appears to be an excerpt from Reflection by Yale University Divinity School and Berkeley Divinity School, Connecticut, January 1981, Vol. 78, No. 2, pp. 7 - 8. Nouwen speaks of the discipline of the heart and its need for spiritual direction. Nouwen identifies the spiritual director as ‘a mature fellow Christian’ whom one may see regularly or from time to time according to need. Nouwen concludes by stating ‘It is important that we are thinking about a ministry in which we help one another to practice the disciplines of the Church, the Book and the Heart and thus live a life in which we become more and more sensitive to the ongoing presence of God in our lives’.

Saying no to death

This item is a 5 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Saying No to Death’, published in Seeds by Signpost Publishing, Winnipeg, Manitoba, September 2, 1984, pp. 20 – 24. Nouwen begins the article by stating, ‘To work for peace is to work for life. But more than ever before in history we are surrounded by the powers of death’. Nouwen goes on to write about the way the current sense of nuclear threat hangs over people, especially young people who wonder if they have a future at all. At the same time, he suggests that we as human beings are fascinated by death and destruction and that much of our entertainment involves violence. In a section entitled ‘The Deadly Judgments’ Nouwen then suggests that in our thoughts and judgments about others whom we come to see as the enemy, we commit violence. ‘Judging others implies that somehow we stand outside of the place where weak, broken, sinful human beings dwell. It is an arrogant and pretentious act that shows blindness not only toward others but also toward ourselves’. Nouwen suggests that the peacemaker must have the courage ‘to see the powers of death at work even in our innermost selves’. Nouwen speaks of the nature of death as against that of life: ‘Death in all its manifestations always involves a returning to a fixed, static, unchangeable place’… Life means mobility and change. Wherever there is life there is movement and growth…essential to living is trust in an unknown future…’ Finally, Nouwen states that ‘Real resistance [to death and violence] requires the humble confession that we are partners in the evil that we seek to resist’.

Letting go of all things

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

Prayer embraces the world

This item is a 5 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Prayer Embraces the World’, published in Maryknoll magazine, Vol. 79, No. 4, April 1985, pp. 17 – 21. Nouwen opens the article by pointing to the immediacy of our awareness of the many trials and wars in our world via the media. He then asks ‘Do we pray more for our deeply wounded world since we know so much more about it?’. Nouwen describes the purpose of this article by stating ‘I’d like to explore why praying for the world and the missions has become so difficult and propose a way to make prayer the solid basis of all mission work.’
Nouwen points to the difficulty modern people feel in carrying in prayer the burdens of the world in part, he suggests, because we see these burdens in terms of issues rather than praying to a ‘personal God who loves us and hears us’. ‘Life becomes an unbearable burden whenever we lose touch with the presence of a loving Savior and see only hunger to be alleviated, injustice to be addressed, violence to be overcome, wars to be stopped and loneliness to be removed’. Nouwen suggests that burdens can be lightened because Jesus in his death ‘gathered up the human sufferings of all times and places’ and destroyed its fatal power. Near the conclusion Nouwen reminds us that ‘Prayer is leading every sorrow to the source of all healing…’. Nouwen believes that missioners will find support in knowing they are prayed for and that the people who pray will be part of ‘the new and joyful task of participating in God’s great work of salvation’.

Liberation: freedom to love

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

Excerpts from With open hands

This item consists of 2 short excerpts from Henri Nouwen’s book ‘With Open Hands’ published in The Newsletter of the New Hampshire Cursillo, Manchester, New Hampshire, May 1985, p. 2 & p. 4. The first excerpt is about prayer and God’s deep desire to give himself to us. The second excerpt is also about prayer and describes prayer as living. ‘ There are as many ways to pray as there are moments in life’.

The icon of the Virgin of Vladimir: an invitation to belong to God

This item is a 3 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘ The Icon of the Virgin of Vladimir: An Invitation to Belong to God’, published in America, N.Y. May 11, 1985, Vol. 152, No. 18, pp. 387 – 390. Nouwen begins the article by asking, ‘To whom do we belong– the world… or God and God’s people’? He then goes on to state that during a recent 30 day retreat he found himself ‘drawn into [the] mysterious intimacy [of the icon] and came to know by heart its urgent invitation to belong to God’. Nouwen first writes of his impression of the eyes of the Virgin in the icon. He sees the eyes as gazing ‘upon the infinite spaces of the heart where joy and sorrow are no longer contrasting emotions, but are transcended in spiritual unity’. Nouwen then describes the hands of the Virgin as leading the viewer to Jesus. After the hands Nouwen moves to the child as portrayed in the icon. ‘The tender embrace of this mother and Child is far from a sentimental event. It is the portrayal of the mysterious interchange between God and humanity made possible by the Incarnation of the Word’. Nouwen concludes the article by suggesting that the icon portrays what it means to belong to God.

Creating true intimacy: solidarity among the people of God

This item is a 5 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘ Creating True Intimacy: Solidarity among the People of God’, published in Sojourners, Vol. 14, No. 6, June 6, 1985, pp. 14 – 18. This is the first part of a 3 part series. Nouwen begins the article by writing of the ubiquitous reality of fear in the world and reminds the reader of Jesus’ words, ‘Do not be afraid’. Nouwen writes of the power of fear when he states, ‘Fear can never give birth to love’ and then asks, ‘ Are we so unused to living without fear that we have become unable to hear the voice of love? ‘ . Nouwen then suggests that there is an invitation to us from Jesus to leave the house of fear and live in the house of love. Throughout this article Nouwen writes of the work of Jean Vanier the founder of the l’Arche communities. It is Jean who spoke to Nouwen of ‘the three essential qualities of a life together in the house of love: intimacy, fecundity and ecstasy’. This article Nouwen writes, is about Intimacy and includes the headings Intimacy and Fear, Intimacy and Love, Intimacy and Solidarity. Nouwen suggests that fear builds up walls which prevent intimacy: ‘fear prevents us from forming an intimate community in which we can grow together, everyone in his or her own way’. Love on the other hand, is the ‘true friend’ of intimacy. Jesus is the home where we can live without fear and we can reach this home in part through prayer that opens our hearts. Nouwen then writes that though we tend to see intimacy as ‘smallness, coziness’ it is the source of solidarity. People ‘come to the awareness that the intimacy of God’s house excludes no one and includes everyone. They start to see that the home they found in their innermost being is as wide as the whole of humanity’. Again, speaking of the work of Jean Vanier, Nouwen concludes by stating, ‘The intimacy of the house of love always leads to solidarity with the weak’.

Prayer and the jealous God: Why do we avoid praying?

This item is a 4 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Prayer and the Jealous God’, published in The New Oxford Review, Vol. LII, No. 5, June 1985, pp. 7 – 12. Nouwen begins this article about prayer by writing of his own and our, resistance to prayer. He asks ‘Why this attraction and repulsion at the same time? Why do we have so many difficulties in doing what we say we fervently desire?’ He goes on to identify a number of ‘reasons’ we might articulate for not praying. Nouwen then suggests that we have a God who constantly calls to us, constantly desires our attention. ‘I am deeply convinced that the necessity to pray, and to pray unceasingly, is not so much based on our desire for God as on God’s desire for us. It is God’s passionate pursuit of us that calls us to prayer’. Nouwen identifies fear of the implications of prayer as our biggest reason for resistance. Nouwen writes about who he believes God really is for us and who Jesus and the Holy Spirit are and the gift that they are. Nouwen reminds us that we need not be afraid of them. Nouwen concludes ‘So, do not be afraid of the Father who created you in love, nor of the Son who set you free to journey to the Father’s house, nor of the Holy Spirit who already gives you the joy and peace of God’s dwelling place’.

Bearing fruit in the Spirit: the gifts of God's love

This item is a 5 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled: Bearing Fruit in the Spirit, The House of God a Home amid an Anxious World, published in Sojourners, July 1985, Vol. 14, No. 7, pp. 26 – 30. This is part two of a three part series. Nouwen begins the article by speaking of the life-giving quality of fecundity in a world that seldom appears to experience that. Nouwen follows this with a section entitled, Fecundity and Fear. Here Nouwen identifies sterility and productivity as possible manifestations of a fearful approach to life-giving forces and fecundity. ‘In our contemporary society, with its emphasis on accomplishment and success, we often live as if being productive is the same as being fruitful’. In this section Nouwen writes of his experience with Jean Vanier and the people of L’Arche who showed him the life-giving gift of people who appear to ‘accomplish’ little. In the next section Nouwen writes of Fecundity and Love. He identifies three aspects of the fruitful life as ‘vulnerability, gratitude and love’ and discusses each in detail. Nouwen concludes the article with the section entitled: Fecundity and Mission. Here he begins by stating, ‘When we come to experience intimacy with God as including all of humanity, it will become clear that fecundity also has a global quality’. Nouwen goes on to say, ‘One of the most compelling aspects of the Spirit of Jesus is that it always sends us forth to bring and receive the gifts of God to and from all peoples and nations’. Nouwen suggests that our world would be very different if we recognized that there is something for us to receive from others, not just to give to them. He concludes the article by saying ‘ If giving and receiving the fruits of the intimate love of God for all people were our main concern, peace would be near’.

Finding our home

This item is a half-page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Finding Our Home’, published in Breakthroughs , by Moral Re-Armament, Inc., Washington, D.C., July 1985, p. 10. This item is identified as an excerpt from an MRA International conference speech given by Nouwen in June 1985. Nouwen begins by identifying the contrast between being deaf to what we do not want to hear and being willing to listen. He states, ‘Fear has always something to do with the unknown in us. It’s amazing to see how many people are afraid first of all of themselves and of what goes on in their own hearts’. Nouwen then suggests that ‘I see the spiritual life as one in which we have to move out of the house of fear into the house of love’.

Excerpt from Gracias

This item is a short quote from Nouwen, Henri: Gracias!: A Latin American Journal, published at the top of the contents page of The Plough, No. 11, July /August 1985 by Hutterian Brethren, Rifton, N.Y. Nouwen identifies his sense that the poor often have a clearer sense of good and evil than do the wealthy who create many grey areas. ‘This intuitive clarity [of the poor] is often absent from the wealthy, and that absence easily leads to the atrophy of the moral sense’.

Living in joyful ecstasy

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

Saying no to death

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

Peace, a gift we receive in prayer

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

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’.

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