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Aging and ministry

Item consists of an article from the book Aging, which was to be published in September 1974.

L'Arche in North America: home, healing and hope

This item is a 5-page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘L’Arche in North America: Home, Healing and Hope’, published in ‘Letters of L’Arche’, No. 76, 1992, pp. 2 – 6. Nouwen is writing this at the time of the funeral of Pere Thomas Philippe, one of the founders of L’Arche. Nouwen senses that Pere Thomas’ legacy of the vision of L’Arche will continue to live, ‘he can bring a rich harvest’. Nouwen goes on to ask ‘how to be l’Arche in North America’? Nouwen sees three core words that will bear much fruit: Home, Healing and Hope. I. Home: Nouwen sees L’Arche as being home especially for the core members many of whom have experienced living in institutional places that were not ‘home’. Nouwen goes on to describe the sense of homelessness that many in North America experience: actual homelessness, but also places where people live without a welcome, places where people live in loneliness, places where people live alone together. Nouwen notes that the Assistants who come to L’Arche have and do experience this homelessness as well. Nouwen sees that home at L’Arche provides a place to be home but also to be a place of mission and a recognition that we are still journeying home. II. Healing: ‘The great paradox of L’Arche is that, while no one is cured, everyone is healed’. Nouwen speaks of the great suffering that has been experienced by the core members but also by the Assistants. All seek healing. ‘It is clear that we are all handicapped that we all need to offer each other healing by the way we live together’. III. Hope: ‘L’Arche invites people, barely respected or acknowledged by our society, to become witnesses of hope’. ‘Joy, peace, acceptance, truthfulness, the ability to welcome, to forgive and to celebrate; these are only some of the gifts handicapped people have to offer…This knowledge of the ‘gift of the poor’ has been a great inspiration in L’Arche over the years, and has made L’Arche into a true sign of hope’.

The beloved of God: the spiritual search for meaning in living and dying

This item is a 2 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled. ‘The Beloved of God’, published in Sojourners, Vol. 21, No. 8, October 1992, pp. 22-23. This item is identified as an excerpt from Nouwen’s forthcoming book, Life of the Beloved. Nouwen begins by writing, ‘As the one who is chosen, blessed, broken and given, you are called to live your life with a deep inner joy and peace’. Nouwen goes on to say that our lives are changed radically when we recognize ourselves as being sent into the world. ‘Put simply, life is a God-given opportunity to become who we are, to affirm our own true spiritual nature, claim our truth, appropriate and integrate the reality of our being, but most of all , to say yes to the One who calls us the Beloved’. Nouwen goes on to write then, of the meaning of our life and death; the reality of the ‘hereafter’ and suggests that ‘Eternal life is not some great surprise that comes at one at the end of our existence in time; it is rather, the full revelation of what we have been and have lived all along’.

The duet of the Holy Spirit: when mourning & dancing are one: healing life's hurts

This item is a 7 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘The Duet of the Holy Spirit: When Mourning and Dancing are One’, published in New Oxford Review, Vol. LIX, No. 5, June 1992, pp. 5 – 12. Parts of this article have been published in The Catholic New Times, Toronto, March/April 1992 and in a revised form in a posthumous book, ‘Turn My Mourning into Dancing, 2001. Nouwen begins the article by writing about healing as the skill not only of healing professionals but of all: ‘ It belongs to the heart of our Christian vision that all of us, whether we have degrees or not, are called to be healers’. Nouwen then goes on to suggest that ‘healing is mourning as well as dancing’; that without facing and accepting the dark side of our existence healing cannot occur. ‘But true healing calls us to face the harsh realities of our lives and to come to grips with the truth that, while we live in a world subject to the power of the Evil One, we belong to God’. Nouwen’s next focus is upon facing and mourning our many losses in life rather than pretending all is fine. Nouwen suggests that we need to let go our illusions of control in order for true healing to occur. We need, as well, to help others to do this if we ourselves are to be healers and we all need a safe place to enter this process. Nouwen then goes on to say ‘To heal is to let the Spirit call us to dance’. ‘Can you feel the freedom that rises up in you when you have been stripped naked and have nothing to inhibit your movements …’ Nouwen describes two movements of the dance: forgiveness and celebration and concludes the article identifying the presence then of the song of gratitude and of joy.

Living under God's blessing: wholeness

This item is an article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘ Living Under God’s Blessing’ published in Alive Now!, March/April 1992, p.5. This item is the first of two excerpts from Nouwen’s lecture at the Scarritt-Bennett Center, 1991. The second article is found in file 1774, Box 298. Nouwen begins by saying’ Jesus came to reveal to you that you are as much a child of God as Jesus is…’ He concludes this excerpt by stating, ‘The great call of Jesus is to put your brokenness under the blessing’.

The spiritual life: inward disciplines

This item is a two page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Inward Disciplines: The Spiritual Life’, published by Alive now!, March/April, 1992, pp. 26-7. This item is a short excerpt from a lecture by Henri Nouwen at the Scarritt-Bennett Center, 1991. Nouwen begins by quoting from an unknown translation of Ps. 139. Nouwen then states ‘The spiritual life starts at the place where you can hear God’s voice’. Nouwen concludes this short excerpt by stating that the spiritual life also starts ‘where you dare to claim the first love’.

Forgiveness: the name of love in a wounded world

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

The cutting edge: selections from the editor's library to challenge your thinking

This item is a half-page article by Henri Nouwen published in a column from ‘The War Cry’ entitled ‘The Cutting Edge’ by the Salvation Army, February 23, 1991, p. 3. This item is an excerpt from Chapter 3 of Nouwen’s book, ‘Clowning in Rome’, 1979. Nouwen is writing on the need to pray and opens by suggesting that we tend to think of prayer as one thing to do among many. He then goes on to speak of St Paul’s injunction to pray without ceasing. ‘[Paul] asks us to pray day and night, in joy and in sorrow, at work and at play without intermissions or breaks’. The remainder of the article discusses how we may do this but references further material in the chapter which is not included in this article.

Tidings of great joy: every day is a holy-day

This item is a 3 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled: ‘Tidings of Great Joy: Every Day is a Holy-Day’ published in 'News from Celebration', December 1990, pp. 1,3,4. This article is identified as being adapted from Nouwen’s book, ‘Lifesigns’. Nouwen opens with words about the evolution of the celebration of Christmas from experiencing the ‘deep, lasting joy of Emmanuel, God-with-us’ to ‘the shallow happiness of busy people’. Nouwen writes of the deep joy that Jesus offers as a divine gift: ‘the joy of Jesus lifts up life to be celebrated fully’. Nouwen identifies joy and celebration as a way in which faith in the God of life is lived. Nouwen suggests that joy is deep and can be present even amidst very hard times. Finally, Nouwen, after speaking about his life in L’Arche, says that ‘community is the place where God completes our lives with his joy’.

A sudden trip to Lourdes: by-passing the excitement of Berlin

This item is a 6 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘A Sudden Trip to Lourdes, published in New Oxford Review, Vol. LVII, No.7, September, 1990, pp. 7 - 13. Nouwen begins by stating that he is writing this in Lourdes during an unexpected divergence from his planned visit to Berlin. ‘The question for me was: How to live [the next decade]? The answer came quietly: In deep communion with Jesus’. Nouwen reflects on the water – of Baptism, of healing at the baths, on the rain. Nouwen goes to confession where the priests says to him, ‘Don’t be afraid to be poor, alone, naked, stripped of all your familiar ways of doing things. God is not finished with you yet’. Nouwen reflects on the innocence of Mary, of Bernadette and of his own. He reflects on Jesus’ passion in the Stations of the Cross and on the resurrection. After three days in Lourdes, Nouwen feels it is time to leave and he returns to the L’Arche community at Trosly. Nouwen, reflects as he is in the train returning to Paris, ‘I know that every time I choose for my innocence I don’t have to worry about the next 10 years. I can be sure I am not alone, but with him who called me to live as God’s child’.

A glimpse behind the mirror: reflections on death and life

This item is an 11 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘A Glimpse behind the Mirror: Reflections on Death and Life’ published in Weavings, A Journal of the Christian Spiritual Life, Vol. IV, No. 6, November/December 1989, PP. 13 – 23. This article is about Nouwen’s experience with possible death after a road accident. Nouwen begins the article by describing the accident, his experience of the hospital emergency room and intensive care ward. Nouwen describes his gradual awareness that he might die; that he was at peace. ‘I kept thinking that dying was quite possible and that I had to prepare myself and my friends for it. And so I let myself enter a place I had never been before: the portal of death.’ Nouwen describes his experience of the presence of the love of Jesus and his deep sense of wanting to make the journey of dying to life. Nouwen is hesitant however because he knows there are relationships unhealed and forgiveness not yet given nor received. Nouwen slowly realizes that he will not die and believes that he has work to do. ‘I believe that I am asked to proclaim the love God in a new way.’ Pondering the way Jesus was in the world Nouwen asks, ‘Can I become like Jesus and witness to what I have seen? Yes, I can live in God and speak to the human reality’. Nouwen concludes the article with a quote from Phil. 1:21 -26, words of Paul that Nouwen hopes will be his guide.

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

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

Care: spirituality and everyday life

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

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

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

Trying to avoid temptations when among the famous & successful: on not being distracted by power & wealth

This item is a 6 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Trying to Avoid Temptations when among the Famous and Successful’, published in New Oxford Review, June 1987, pp. 9 – 14. This item is the ninth installment in a series of articles reflecting on the year Nouwen spent at L’Arche, Trosley Breuil, France, 1985/6. The items in this installment cover dates from April 26 – May 22, 1986. The first two entries are reflections on the day’s gospel readings: asking in Jesus’ name and Jesus as the vine and the pruning of the branches. Nouwen speaks of the suffering of the pruning process ‘but they need to be cut away so that more fruit can grow’. He goes on to say, ‘The great challenge is to continue to recognize God’s pruning hand in my life’. The next item is written on Ascension day and Nouwen writes of the way this L’Arche community celebrates it. He describes the key points of a talk given by Jean Vanier on peacemaking. Nouwen then speaks of his busyness and yet his sense that he is accomplishing nothing. The remaining items cover a trip he then made to Boston, New York, Pittsburgh and Washington to visit friends and to give talks. Nouwen writes of the stress and anxiety he experiences in his friends and his desire that they should see another way of living that he himself has found in L’Arche. Nouwen meets in this trip some he calls ‘the rich and the powerful’ including Murray McDonnell in New York and members of the United States Senate in Washington and their thirst to hear about Jesus, ‘Give us a word from God, speak to us about Jesus…do not stay away from the rich who are so poor…’. Nouwen in one entry reflects on what ‘welcoming a little child in my name means’. Finally, Nouwen writes of being asked to give the commencement address at a Presbyterian Seminary. When he speaks with the seminarians he is surprised to hear them speaking more like professional businessmen than ministers. ‘When I asked them how important Jesus was for them, they said there was a tendency to speak more about God than about Jesus’. Nouwen determines that he will speak of Jesus in his address. At the commencement ceremony Nouwen meets two old friends, Fred Rogers also known as Mr Rogers and John Fife a co-founder of the sanctuary movement.

The extraordinary witness of Marthe Robin: to suffer with Jesus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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’.

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’.

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…’

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.

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.

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.

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’.

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’.

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.

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’.

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’.

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