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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.

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.

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’.

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’.

Hidden treasures in our lives

This item is a 4 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Hidden Treasures in our Lives, published in Praying, by the National Catholic Reporter, Kansas City, Mo., November-December 1990, No. 9, pp. 5 – 8. Nouwen begins by stating that ‘we have been given many treasures’ which sadly are often undiscovered by us. He goes on to identify four treasures in particular: ‘he [Jesus] took, he blessed, he broke, he gave’. 1) Taken. ‘It means we are chosen, that we are called’. Nouwen describes here how difficult for us to accept that we might be chosen, that we might be beloved. 2) Blessed. ‘Jesus is the blessed one and we are blessed as he is’. Here again, Nouwen suggests that it is often very hard for us to accept that we are blessed because we don’t hear it from others often enough. 3)Broken. Nouwen begins by stating that Jesus was broken and is urging us to live our brokenness under the blessing of God. ‘When we embrace our suffering in this way, it is no longer just an interruption in our life, but connects us with all who are suffering , and, further, with the God who is with the suffering…’ 3. Given. Nouwen suggests that as Jesus gave himself in the Last Supper so we are called to give ourselves to the world. He suggests this is to be a total giving not a holding back a portion of ourselves.

The necessity for mourning

This item consists of 3 x 1 page excerpts on death by Henri Nouwen published in ‘Alive Now!: Death, by Upper Room Books, September/October, 1990, pp. 10, 30, 60. In ‘A Letter to my Father’ Nouwen begins, ‘The death of husband, wife, child or friend can cause people to stop living toward the unknown future and make them withdraw into the familiar past’. Nouwen goes on to suggest a better way, which he states that we ‘evaluate the past as a continuing challenge to surrender ourselves to an unknown future’. (from a Letter of Consolation). In the second excerpt entitled ‘The Necessity for Mourning’ Nouwen suggests that in our society we have to make a conscious effort to mourn. ‘I know that I must not forget, that I must remember her [Nouwen’s mother] even if remembering brings with it pain, sorrow and sadness’. (from In Memoriam). In the third excerpt, entitled, ‘Consolation’, Nouwen again writing of his mother’s death, ‘Where do we see the harvest of mother’s death?’…and ends by stating, ‘the pain mother’s death caused us has led us to a new way of being…’(from A Letter of Consolation).

A life through Adam

This item is an article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘A Life Through Adam’ published in British edition of The Reader’s Digest, September 1990, pp. 75 -77. This item is a slightly revised version of the article published in the January 1990 U.S. edition of The Reader’s Digest (see item 1753). 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. 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.

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.

Finding vocation in downward mobility

This item is an article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Finding Vocation in Downward Mobility’, published in ‘Leadership: A Practical Journal for Church Leaders’, Vol. XI, No. 3 , Summer 1990, pp. 60 – 61. Nouwen begins by speaking of the dilemma he has felt for much of his lifetime between being successful in the world’s sense and remaining ‘close to the heart of Jesus.’ He then writes of his years teaching at major universities and his sense then of being successful but not fulfilled. In time however, he felt a call to the l’Arche community of Daybreak, near Toronto where he was assigned to work with a very handicapped man named Adam. Nouwen describes how, over time, his fears began to be overcome and he realized that Adam was teaching him about love and about how to create true community. ‘To put it simply, Adam taught me about God’s love in a concrete way’.

God's choice

This item is an article written by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘God’s Choice’, published in the Pioneer Christian Monthly , May 1990, p. 8. This item is a short excerpt from Nouwen’s ‘The Road to Daybreak’. Nouwen opens by saying he has been listening to an interview with Jean Vanier, the founder of l’Arche who states’ The handicapped often tell us the truth, whether we want to know it or not’. Nouwen goes on to reflect his awareness of the truth of this.

Living in the center enables us to care

This item is a report of a talk given by Henri Nouwen to the 75th Annual Catholic Health Assembly and published in ‘Health Progress’, July-August, 1990, pp. 52 -54. This item, not written by Henri Nouwen, is reporting on the talk he gave at the assembly and it is difficult at points to know what Nouwen said and what is paraphrase. Nouwen made a number of points about the healthcare worker’s need to keep close to God. He spoke of being open to the life of the spirit by looking at four gestures that recur in the scriptures: Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it. Nouwen is reported as elaborating these points and then moves on to the disciplines required ‘to train your life to care for people’. The four disciplines Nouwen elaborated were: the discipline of the mind, the discipline of the heart, the discipline of the spirit and the discipline of the body. The concluding paragraph of this article states, ‘In the end, Fr Nouwen said, “What matters is whether your true identity is a child of God”. This centering, he says, is what enables you to remain in service of life, not survival.

Giving without wanting anything in return is a great act of trust

This item is a half-page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘ Giving without wanting anything in return is a great act of trust’, published in The Liberal, Sept. 6, 1989. The article is printed in a section that is called the Clergy Column but there are no further identifying marks. This item is also found in the chapter entitled, 'Allow yourself to be fully received' in Nouwen's 'The Inner Voice of Love". Nouwen writes, ‘Giving yourself to others without expecting anything in return is only possible when you, yourself have been fully received’. The remainder of the article speaks about the need to be free so being able to give without needing affirmation or reward from others.

We must trust that every true friendship has no end

This item is a half-page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘We must trust that every true friendship has no end’, published in the Clergy Column of The Liberal, Sept. 13, 1989. This article was later published in Nouwen’s book ‘The Inner Voice of Love, the chapter entitled, ‘Be a Real Friend’. Nouwen opens by stating, ‘Many of our friendships come from our need for affection, affirmation and emotional support. But this need often makes us lean so heavily on others that they become overwhelmed by our demands and run away in fear and confusion’. Nouwen goes on to suggest that healthy friendship comes when we accept ourselves as deeply loved by God.

Prayer and health care

This item is an 11 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Prayer and Health Care’, published in Review by the Catholic Health Association of Canada, Vol. 17, No. 4, Winter 1989, pp.5 – 16. This article is adapted from a lecture given by Nouwen for the CHAC’s 50th anniversary Day of Celebration, October 25, 1989 in Ottawa, ON. Nouwen begins by reminding his audience of the talk he gave 12 years previously on compassion and indicates that he would now like to speak on the source of compassion: prayer. Nouwen begins by writing about Jesus’ prayer which is the source of Jesus’ life-giving ministry. ‘Every aspect of Jesus’ ministry, every word, every action and every detail of his own journey bespeaks life…’ Nouwen states that from his prayer of listening Jesus understands he is the beloved and that he wants us to know that we are also. ‘Jesus wants each of us to be just as much a child of God as he is himself’. Nouwen then goes on to describe the stresses and pressures that prevent us from being able to hear the God who desires us and our need, over time, to turn to God, to live our lives for God. Nouwen then goes on to speak about freedom which will come from prayer as we learn to listen, to move away from obsessions and compulsions, to say ‘no’ to death forces. The last half of the article speaks about the discipline of prayer in three ways: discipline of the mind, discipline of the heart, and discipline of the body. Nouwen concludes by stating, ‘ …I call all of you to be men and women of prayer, men and women truly belonging to God, men and women who at every moment of your existence and every part of yourselves will give life, not in your own name, but in the name Him who said, “I come to bring life…”

Adam's peace

This item is a 3 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘Adam’s Peace’, published in Seventh Day Adventist journal ‘Signs of the Times’, May 1989, pp. 2 – 4. Although this article does not attribute its source it is taken from the journal of World Vision, August/September 1988. It was originally a talk given by Nouwen at Harvard University. Nouwen begins by describing his move from the intellectual atmosphere of Harvard to the l’Arche community for the mentally handicapped at Daybreak. Nouwen writes of the atmosphere of loving equality at his house and then begins to write of Adam for whom Nouwen had some responsibility. Nouwen describes Adam Arnett as a totally dependent man who could not speak nor care for himself and who suffered daily with grand mal seizures. As he began to know Adam however, Nouwen says, ‘Out of this broken body and broken mind emerged a most beautiful human being offering me a greater gift than I would ever be able to offer him’. Nouwen uses the remainder of the article to write of Adam’s role as a man of peace, a peacemaker. ‘Adam’s peace is first of all a peace rooted in being’. Nouwen compares this with the desire of many people to strive for success and for self-worth rather than accepting much more just ‘to be’. Nouwen writes of the importance of the heart over the mind; of the heart as the center of our being where God is. Nouwen writes of the ways in which Adam helps to create community among all those who are committed to his care. Nouwen writes, ‘I’ve told you about Adam and his peace to offer you a quiet guide with a gentle heart, a little light for walking through this dark world’. As Nouwen concludes the article he writes of Jesus, the Prince of Peace; Jesus whose peace is found in weakness. Nouwen begins his conclusion by then turning to us and saying, ‘I say to you: do not give up working for peace. But remember that the peace you seek is not of this world…Keep your eyes on the one who is poor with the poor, weak with the weak, and rejected with the rejected. That one is the source of all peace’.

A place where God wants to dwell

This item is a one page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘A Place Where God wants to dwell’, published in Compass: A Jesuit Journal, Vol. 7, No. 4, September 1989, p. 34. Henri begins the article by describing his reading as a teacher of Christian spirituality and his discovery that you must be poor ‘so God can finally be with you’. Nouwen then goes on to describe his experience at l’Arche Daybreak in Richmond Hill Ontario and in particular his friendship with Adam Arnett. Nouwen describes Adam as a profoundly handicapped man who knows nothing of the world Nouwen has lived in and yet becomes for Nouwen, a teacher. Nouwen writes, “Daybreak turns our expectations upside down…Because of Adam’s weakness – his poverty – we can be united in ways that form the body. Because of Adam’s needs, we come to grips with our own’. Nouwen goes on to describe a l’Arche community as not a romantic place but one of struggle and a school of discipleship.

God will take us back, such as we are

This item is a half-page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘ God will take us back, such as we are’ , published in the National Catholic Reporter, July 28, 1989. This is a photocopy only and the page is not identified. This is identified as an excerpt from Nouwen’ ‘The Road to Daybreak’. Nouwen begins by stating that he has been meditating on the story of the prodigal son. He describes the sense that the younger son is selfish but all the same is welcomed back. ‘God does not require a pure heart before embracing us’. Nouwen then describes Rembrandt’s painting of the Prodigal. Nouwen concludes by saying. ‘God is standing there with open arms, waiting to embrace me…just having me back is all he desires’.

Adam's peace

This item is a 3 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Adam’s Peace’ published in the Rosebank Biblical College Journal ‘Link’, March 1989, pp. 1 -3. This item is reprinted from the journal of World Vision, August/September 1988. Nouwen begins by describing his move from the intellectual atmosphere of Harvard to the l’Arche community for the mentally handicapped at Daybreak. Nouwen writes of the atmosphere of loving equality at his house and then begins to write of Adam Arnett for whom Nouwen had some responsibility. Nouwen describes Adam as a totally dependent man who could not speak nor care for himself and who suffered daily with grand mal seizures. As he began to know Adam however, Nouwen says, ‘Out of this broken body and broken mind emerged a most beautiful human being offering me a greater gift than I would ever be able to offer him’. Nouwen uses the remainder of the article to write of Adam’s role as a man of peace, a peacemaker. ‘Adam’s peace is first of all a peace rooted in being’. Nouwen compares this with the desire of many people to strive for success and for self-worth rather than accepting much more just ‘to be’. Nouwen writes of the importance of the heart over the mind; of the heart as the center of our being where God is. Nouwen writes of the ways in which Adam helps to create community among all those who are committed to his care. Nouwen writes, ‘I’ve told you about Adam and his peace to offer you a quiet guide with a gentle heart, a little light for walking through this dark world’. As Nouwen concludes the article he writes of Jesus, the Prince of Peace; Jesus whose peace is found in weakness. Nouwen begins his conclusion by then turning to us and saying, ‘I say to you: do not give up working for peace. But remember that the peace you seek is not of this world…Keep your eyes on the one who is poor with the poor, weak with the weak, and rejected with the rejected. That one is the source of all peace’.

The peace that is not of this world

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

We have received more

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

Adam's peace

This item is a 2 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘Adam’s Peace’ published in the journal of the Lake County Right to Life Committee, Inc., Grayslake Ill., U.S.A., February – March, 1989, pp. 10-11. This item is part one of a two part article reprinted from the World Vision journal, August/ September 1988. Nouwen begins by describing his move from the intellectual atmosphere of Harvard to the l’Arche community for the mentally handicapped at Daybreak. Nouwen writes of the atmosphere of loving equality at his house and then begins to write of Adam Arnett for whom Nouwen had some responsibility. Nouwen describes Adam as a totally dependent man who could not speak nor care for himself and who suffered daily with grand mal seizures. As he began to know Adam however, Nouwen says, ‘Out of this broken body and broken mind emerged a most beautiful human being offering me a greater gift than I would ever be able to offer him’. Nouwen uses the remainder of the article to write of Adam’s role as a man of peace, a peacemaker. ‘Adam’s peace is first of all a peace rooted in being’. Nouwen goes on to say, ‘I know this is right because, after four months of being a little with Adam, I am discovering in myself the beginning of an inner at-homeness that I didn’t know before’.

Praying with icons

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

The place of his presence

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

Adam's peace

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

Heart speaks to heart

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

Unambiguous care

This item is a 1 column article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘Unambiguous Care’, published in Jubilee: Social Concerns and the Episcopal Church, Vol. 5, No. 1, Spring/Summer 1988, p. 19. This item is an excerpt from Henri Nouwen: ‘Out of Solitude’, 1974. Nouwen begins by asking, ‘what does it mean to care?. He notes the various ways in which care is used in daily speech but goes on to point out that ‘real care excludes indifference and is the opposite of antipathy. Nouwen points to our discomfort at looking at care as anything other than the strong helping the weak. ‘…we feel quite uncomfortable with an invitation to enter into someone’s pain before doing something about it’. Nouwen concludes by suggesting that the friend who can sit with us in a moment of despair not knowing what to do –‘that is the friend who cares’.

Holy week meditations

This item is a 5 page series of Holy Week meditations by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘ Holy Week Meditations’, published in ‘Praying’ a journal of the National Catholic Reporter, March-April, 1988, No. 23, pp. 4 – 9. Some of these excerpts have appeared in Nouwen’s Road to Daybreak, published in 1988 and are written during his time at l’Arche Trosley Breuil in France. The mediations begin with Palm Sunday and Nouwen is pondering Jesus’ entry in Jerusalem and writing of the words spoken by Pere Thomas during the service. Monday is written in the form of a prayer. Tuesday begins with Jesus in John’s gospel ‘one of you will betray me’. Nouwen writes of Jesus being ‘handed over’ and moving from activity to passivity. Wednesday Nouwen writes of the positions of Peter and of Judas and the choices one makes to trust in God’s mercy and the other to despair in the face of his betrayal rather than trust. Thursday Nouwen describes his participation in the Holy Thursday service at the l’Arche community in Paris and speaks of being touched deeply by the washing of the feet. ’I saw a glimpse of the new kingdom Jesus came to bring. Everybody in the room knew how far they were from being a perfect expression of God’s love. But everybody was also willing to make a step in the direction to which Jesus pointed’. Good Friday which Nouwen describes as both a day of suffering and a day of hope. Nouwen writes of seeing Christ’s body lying across the whole world and the immense suffering of humanity. Holy Saturday Nouwen writes of the Easter Vigil, and sees ‘the celebration of the resurrection of the body is also the celebration of the daily care given to the bodies of these handicapped men and women. Nouwen ends the mediations with Easter Sunday. A quiet Eucharist at Mdme Vanier’s house and the discussion after the Mass. ‘The five of us sitting in a circle around the table with a little bread and a little wine…knew deep in our hearts that for us too all had changed, while all had remained the same’.

The "yes" of Christmas

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

Spirituality and the family

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

The peace that is not of this world

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

The peace that is not of this world

This item is a 5 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘The Peace that is not of this world’, published in The Journal of Christian Healing, Vol. 10, No. 1, Spring 1988, pp. 9 – 13. This item is a slightly revised version of an article published in Weavings, March-April 1988. In the introduction Nouwen begins by asking ‘How to speak about peace? During the last years my own life has gone through so many changes that I have lost much of my self-confidence.’ Nouwen then goes on to state that he wants to share his poverty with us by speaking about his current life at l’Arche Daybreak. Nouwen begins by describing his move from the intellectual atmosphere of Harvard to the l’Arche community for the mentally handicapped at Daybreak. It appears this article is taken from a talk Nouwen was asked to give at Harvard University. He speaks of in a sense moving from an atmosphere of issues to 'the background [of a] few very poor people who have taken their place'. Nouwen then writes of the atmosphere of loving equality at his house and then begins to write of Adam Arnett for whom Nouwen had some responsibility. Nouwen describes Adam as a totally dependent man who could not speak nor care for himself and who suffered daily with grand mal seizures. Nouwen describes his own apprehension at being asked to take early morning and evening responsibility for Adam. As he began to know Adam however, Nouwen says, ‘Out of this broken body and broken mind emerged a most beautiful human being offering me a greater gift than I would ever be able to offer him’. Nouwen uses the remainder of the article to write of Adam’s role as a man of peace, a peacemaker. ‘Adam’s peace is first of all a peace rooted in being’. Nouwen compares this with the desire of many people to strive for success and for self-worth rather than accepting much more just ‘to be’. Nouwen writes of the importance of the heart over the mind; of the heart as the center of our being where God is. Nouwen writes of the ways in which Adam helps to create community among all those who are committed to his care. As Nouwen concludes the article he writes of Jesus, the Prince of Peace; Jesus whose peace is found in weakness. Nouwen then goes on to speak of the larger international world, ‘I am only saying that the seeds of national and international peace are already sown on the soil of our own suffering and the suffering of the poor, and that we truly can trust that these seeds, like the mustard seeds of the gospel, will produce large shrubs in which many birds can find a place to rest.’ Finally, Nouwen points to the Gospel beatitude, ‘Blessed are the Peacemakers, they shall inherit the earth’ and ‘it fills me with a special joy that all the Adams of this world will be the first to receive this inheritance’.

The passion of Marthe Robin

This item is a 7 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘The Passion of Marthe Robin’, published in The Catholic Digest, November 1987, pp. 30 – 39. This is a series of excerpts from the diary of Henri Nouwen from the year he spent at L’Arche, Trosly Breuil, France in 1985/6. The entries in this article focus entirely on his visit to the house and room where Marthe Robin lived and died. Nouwen reflects and prays, with his friend Bernard, in her room on several occasions and speaks about the influence of Marthe on many people and especially on Père George Finet, the founder of the Foyers de Charité. Nouwen and his friend also visit the main Foyer de Charité and Fr. Finet in Chateauneuf de Galaure, France, also the place where Marthe Robin lived her life of prayer and suffering.

L'Arche and the world

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

Holding ground

This item is a 9 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Holding Ground’, published in CALC Report by Baltimore Clergy and Laity Concerned, Vol. XIII, No. 2, sometime in Spring or summer 1987, pp. 12 – 20. This article is taken from a talk given by Henri Nouwen in March 1987 to Baltimore CALC’s March Conference ‘Responding in Faith as the Americas Meet’. Nouwen begins by describing a recent visit to the L’Arche community in Sujappa Honduras where he met Raphael a man who was deeply handicapped. ‘I wondered what this silent and completely dependent, handicapped young man was telling me about the Central American conflict and the Christian response to it’. Nouwen then describes the various Central American points of conflict and suggests that he understood Raphael to be, in his powerlessness, revealing a new meaning to Jesus’ words ‘Hold your ground before the Son of Man’. “His broken crucified body warned me never to surrender to fear, to pray unceasingly and to act faithfully…’.Nouwen then goes on to speak in the section entitled Prayer about prayer as the way to keep hearts focused and united. Nouwen speaks of the injustice involving the Indian people of Central America, the presence of what he calls the ‘descending Christ’ among them and the importance of prayer as being rooted in him before being able to act. In the section entitled Action, Nouwen first points to much action which seems to have achieved nothing. Nouwen then identifies as being most Christian that action which comes from ‘the place of forgiveness, reconciliation, community and compassion’. Nouwen then points to the importance of action having the quality of being able to receive, which is about recognizing the gifts of all. Nouwen also points to the importance of action as needing to be communal, of the whole Christian community, of the church. Nouwen concludes: ’ By speaking about prayer and action in response to the Central American reality, I have tried to restate concretely the Christian call to be in the world without belonging to it, to work for peace and justice while never losing touch with the One in whom we find our identity, to say “No” to the power of death while staying truly alive, to act courageously while praying confidently’.

From The peace that is not of this world

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

Why I came to L'Arche

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

The primacy of the heart

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

The journey from despair to hope

This item is a 4 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘ The Journey from Despair to Hope’ published in Praying by the National Catholic Reporter Publishing Company, No. 17, Mar-Apr. 1987, pp. 4 – 7. Nouwen begins the article by stating that Jesus, from the place of despair in death, speaks to us not of optimism or pessimism but hope. Nouwen identifies three levels of despair current in human life: ‘in interpersonal relationships, in global ways throughout the planet and in our church’. Nouwen goes on to say, ‘ I want to look at each of these ways of despair and then, drawing upon the hope Jesus offers us, try to say a word of hope in response’. In the first area of interpersonal despair Nouwen suggests that we tend to find relationships so often unsatisfactory, people cannot love us in a way that fulfills our deep need. Nouwen suggests that we have forgotten ‘the first love’ which is God’s love for us and that is our hope. ‘Freedom comes when you know with your heart that you are loved’. In the second level Nouwen points to our despair with the global situation and his sense that we almost prefer death to life in uncertainty. ‘But Jesus says “no” to death’. Nouwen states that we need to live without judgment, trusting in life. ‘Life is basically hidden. It is small and begs for constant care and protection. If you are committed to always saying “yes” to life, you are going to have to become a person who chooses it when it is hidden’. With regard to the third level of despair: in the church, Nouwen identifies this as particularly hard to bear but suggests that ‘we are called to be a community. We are called to be together, in a fellowship of the weak to proclaim Jesus as Lord’.

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’.

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’.

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