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A critical analysis

This item consists of a 4 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘A Critical Analysis’ published in Ave Maria National Catholic Weekly, 3 June 1967, p. 11-13, 30. Nouwen discusses the rise and popularity of the Pentecostal movement at Notre Dame University in Indiana and states that the article ‘is an attempt to clarify certain issues and to be of some help in an honest evaluation’. Nouwen looks at the phenomenon from three perspectives: 1) A Historical Perspective: He writes of the past and current religious atmosphere at Notre Dame. Here he credits an article by Killian McDonnell. O.S.B. (The Ecumenical Significance of the Pentecostal Movement) where there is a discussion of the ‘sobriety’ and ‘objectivity’ of Roman Catholic liturgy in contrast to the more emotional freedom and sense of belonging in the Pentecostal services. Nouwen suggests that this latter may answer a need in the new more ambitious and competitive atmosphere at the university. 2) A Psychological Perspective. Here Nouwen asks how we can evaluate this new movement by asking several questions: Does it heal or hurt? He suggests that evidence leads to a conclusion that while there may be a short term benefit ‘it is very doubtful that it will cure deep mental suffering’. He also asks ‘Can it be dangerous’? He states that ‘for those who are not prepared every inducement of a strong emotion can break and do serious harm. He also suggests that for those who do not receive the ‘gifts’ such as tongues or joy there then may be the question ‘what is wrong with me’. This leads to the need for direction, guidance and care. Finally he asks: Does it create community? Nouwen suggests that the powerful emotions of belonging and sharing, may risk creating a community that is inward and elitist. ‘the Pentecostal movement creates a situation of oneness and togetherness, which makes the community highly self-centered and hinders the development of the autonomous Christian…’. 3) A Theological Perspective: here Nouwen is asking if the Pentecostal movement is reflecting the theological developments of Vatican II and suggests that it may not meet the new stress on incarnational theology. He concludes the article by stating: ‘the new wave of Pentecostalism at Notre Dame University obviously answers a burning need in many students. It worries many who are concerned about the effects on the mental health of some…It places heavy responsibility on the leaders of the movement, and it disturbs many theologians’ but it also offers a chance to come to a new realization of the crucial importance of the valid religious experience – as an authentic part of the Christian life’.

From magic to faith: religious growth in psychological perspective

This item consists of a one page article by Henri Nouwen entitled: From Magic to Faith: religious growth in psychological perspective, published in National Catholic Reporter, 27 September, 1967, p. 7. In this article Nouwen examines the growth or not, of religious maturity beginning with the new baby and ending with the adult man (sic). A. In the section covering the first five years the author identifies several stages: becoming aware that we are not the center of our world and that there are objective realities outside us that we cannot control; the formation of language in which we discover that our first words ‘give us a mysterious power over things which can in later life be part of our use of religious prayer in a magical and not mature way; a ‘third step out of the magical world is the formation of our conscience. This is formed in our contact with others and here the author relates some questions from Freud about our identification of God with our father. B. In the section covering school years 6 – 12 Nouwen identifies this time as one in which the child is exposed to a larger world, new and different values and new interests. The mature religion resulting from this he suggests will be ‘integral in nature…flexible enough to integrate all new knowledge within its frame of reference. …essential for a mature religion is the constant willingness to shift gears’. C. Here are discussed the adolescent years. These the author describes as a time of a more complicated inner and outer world with many conflicts; a time of facing and accepting or not, the shadow part of each person and the effect on the maturity of religious growth. D. This is the stage of the young adult. This is the time of leaving the family atmosphere and going away to study. ‘As we enter college we take with us many religious concepts and ideas which seemed obvious, and which we never questioned. The question is, whether or not we have the courage to put question marks behind many things; if we can allow ourselves to doubt without losing all ground.’ E. In this final section Nouwen discusses the adult man (sic). ‘One facet of adulthood which has special significance for our religious attitude is that the mature adult mind is characterized by a unifying philosophy of life’. Without this unifying philosophy Nouwen suggests that boredom may characterize life. He describes boredom as ‘the isolation of experience’…’every day seems to be just another day, indifferent, colorless and bleak’. Mature religion’s unifying power fulfills here a creative function. Nouwen states finally, ‘We started folded in our mother’s womb, one with the world in which we lived. We slowly unfolded out of the magical unity into autonomous existence in which we discovered that we were not alone but stood in a constant dialogue with our surroundings.

Nuclear man: in search for liberation

This item is a 7 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled: Nuclear Man: In search for Liberation, included in Reflection, Volume 70, No. 1, the quarterly journal of Yale Divinity School and the Berkeley Divinity School, New Haven, Connecticut, 1972. Nouwen opens the article by describing nuclear man as someone who “does not look forward to the fulfillment of a great desire, nor does he expect that something great or important is going to happen. He looks into empty space and he is only sure that if there is anything worthwhile in life it must be here and now”. Nouwen then states that the purpose of his article is “1. to come to a deeper understanding of our human predicament and 2) to hope to discover in the midst of our present ferment new ways to liberation and freedom”. 1) In the first section Nouwen describes nuclear man as “one who realizes that his creative powers hold the potential for self-destruction and can be characterized by Robert Jay Lifton’s 3 categories of a)’ historical dislocation’ which include the realization that “symbols used by his parents cannot possibly have the unifying and integrating power which they have for people with a pre-nuclear mentality”. There is a lack of continuity with the past. In b) ‘Fragmented Ideology’, there is a condition of “fast-shifting value systems” and nuclear man finds that he “does not believe in anything that is always and everywhere true and valid”. In c) ‘A search for new Immortality’ Nouwen states, “ When man is not able anymore to look beyond his own death and to establish for himself means to relate to what extends beyond the time and space of his own life, he loses his desire to create and with that the excitement of being human”.2) In the second section entitled Nuclear Man’s way to Liberation Nouwen outlines “two main ways by which [nuclear man] tries to break out of his cocoon and fly: the mystical way and the revolutionary way”. a) “The mystical way is the inward way. Man tries to find in the center of his own inwardness, a connection with the ‘reality of the unseen’, with ‘the source of being’, with ‘the point of silence’. b) In The revolutionary Way Nouwen describes someone who “is tired of pruning the trees and clipping branches and wants to pull out the roots of a sick society”. Nouwen concludes this article by asking “Is there a third way, which we can call a Christian way?”. In this third way Nouwen describes Jesus as bringing together in himself both mystic and revolutionary and so “in this sense he remains also for nuclear man the way to liberation and freedom”.

Finding the friendly space

This item is a 3 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘Find the Friendly Space: Post Easter probing into the heart of worship’, published in ‘The Episcopalian” June 1973, P. 9 – 10 & 44. Nouwen opens the article by relating the story of the meeting of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus with the risen Jesus. Following the breaking of bread the two disciples recognize Jesus and return to Jerusalem with joy to tell the others. Nouwen states that this story is important because ‘it helps us realize that liturgy is hospitality’. He then goes on to say that ‘We need to look at our liturgical ministry as a way to create a friendly space’. After discussing what liturgy is not Nouwen states, ‘ liturgy is the indication of simple boundaries, a book, a table, a small piece of bread and a small cup of wine, within which the God of power and might can appear to us as…the God with us, the humble servant, the son of man. In the space created by these simple, basic human symbols, we can be touched by what is deeper that our own self-understanding and wider than our own life experience and can lift our hearts above the immediacy of our daily pains and sorrows.’ Nouwen then goes on to look at this in more detail. He concludes by drawing attention to several things: He states that ‘every liturgy must be highly flexible in terms of closeness and distance…that we especially today, should be open to a variety of liturgical celebrations’. All of this, he suggests requires ‘flexible and sensitive priests’. He reminds the reader that ‘Any celebration that does not move us outward is in constant danger of degenerating into a cozy, self-feeding, stuffy clique’.

Hospitality

This item is a 28 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘ Hospitality’ published in Monastic Studies, Number 10, by Mount Savior Monastery, Pine City, New York, Easter 1974. Nouwen has divided his article into 3 major divisions 1. From Hostility to Hospitality 2) Forms of Hospitality and 3) The Dynamics of Hospitality. Nouwen begins 1. By saying ‘it is God who reveals to us the movement of our lives. It is not a movement from weakness to power, but a movement in which we can become less and less fearful and defensive, and more and more open to the other and his world. This movement allowing us to receive instead of to conquer is the movement from hostility to hospitality’. Nouwen follows with some examples of difficulties arising from the presence of hostility which prevents hospitality. He then describes hospitality as meaning ‘primarily the creation of a space where the stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy. It is not an attempt to change people, but to offer the free space where change can take place.’ Nouwen discusses the difficulties in our society of creating this hospitable space and ends the section by saying ‘To convert hostility into hospitality, to change the stranger from hostis to hospes, from enemy to friend, asks for a persistent attempt to create the free space where such a conversion can take place. In section 2. Nouwen indicates his intention as ‘to show how different forms of service can be seen as hospitality. He identifies the forms of service as: teaching, preaching, counseling, organizing and liturgical celebration. In his conclusion to this section Nouwen says, ‘ …they are all forms of ministry by which we create space for the stranger, space where he can enter into deeper contact with himself, his fellowman and his God’. In a short third section 3.The Dynamics of Hospitality, Nouwen speaks of ‘receiving and confronting’ by which he means by the latter, setting boundaries. The second heading is entitled ‘participation in a certain plenitude’. Here, Nouwen states, ‘ The people who have had the most influence on me in my life…are men and women who never tried to convert me, change me, or make me do or not do certain things. …They were people who were so much in touch with themselves, were so self-possessed and eradiated so much inner freedom, that they became a point of orientation for my own search’.

Loneliness contagious

This item is a half-page article by Henri Nouwen entitled: Loneliness Contagious, published in the National Catholic Reporter, May 31, 1974. In this article Nouwen speaks of loneliness as a pervasive experience in modern life. He speaks first of his own loneliness and then states “ Loneliness is one of the most universal human experiences but our contemporary western society has heightened the awareness of our loneliness to an unusual degree”. He describes the loneliness people feel in crowded subways or at parties even though the images or words of welcome seem to imply warmth and closeness. “The language with which we are surrounded suggests anything but loneliness… it is a language which reveals the desire to be close and receptive to the stranger, but which in our society sadly fails to heal the pains of our loneliness, because the real pain is felt where we can hardly allow anyone to enter”. Nouwen concludes “The roots of loneliness are very deep and cannot be touched by optimistic advertisement, substitute love images or social togetherness”.

Marriage as ministry

This item is a 6 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘Marriage as Ministry’, published in Notre Dame Journal of Education, Vol. 5, No. 2, Summer 1974, p. 101 – 106. Nouwen has divided this article into two parts: 1) Marriage as the binding of each other’s wounds and 2) Marriage as the healing of the suffering guest. Nouwen begins the first part by stating, ‘ What is man’s wound?...Words such as alienation, separation, isolation and loneliness have been used to indicate man’s wounded condition. I like to use the word loneliness in this context and try to understand our loneliness in the context of marriage’. Nouwen asks if ‘we are not trying to avoid a confrontation with our basic human loneliness ‘ by looking for another to fill all the loneliness of human life. He suggests that a marriage relationship is healing when the ‘love between husband and wife means a deep respect for the holy center where they are different, where they cannot reach each other, but must remain strangers’. He goes on to say that ‘many marriages are ruined because neither partner was able to fulfill the hidden hope that the other would take his or her loneliness away’. In part 2, Nouwen writes of how marriage, ‘can become a form of ministry not only to each other, but to strangers as well’, but that this is most healing when the stranger can enter into the space on their own terms, where the relationship between the couple creates ‘room for the other and…a friendly space where he can feel free to come and go, to be close and to take distance, to rest and to play, to talk and to be silent, to eat and to fast’. Nouwen suggests that in such a space each is free to recognize and own the loneliness and pain of the other which is a reality of human life. Nouwen concludes the article by saying, ‘Marriage is a ministry because marriage is where we can bind each other’s wounds with care and heal with our carefully protected wounds the many who pass us on their way. Loneliness is man’s wound.’

Love protects aloneness

This item is a half-page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘Love protects aloneness’ published in the National Catholic Reporter, undated but possibly July or Sep. 1974. Nouwen is continuing his focus on the importance of solitude for the spiritual development of the individual. He begins, ‘By slowly converting my loneliness into a deep solitude, I create that precious space where I can distinguish the voice telling me about my inner necessity- that is, my vocation’. He follows this point by raising the question, ’How many people can claim their ideas, opinions and viewpoints as their own?’. He states that ‘frequently, we are restlessly looking for answers, going from door to door, from book to book, or from school to school, without having really listened carefully to the questions’. Nouwen points out that our society tends to pull us away from fruitful solitude and encourages seeking answers instead of listening to the questions. He suggests that in solitude we can become present to ourselves and from this we become closer to others. ‘In this solitude we encourage each other to enter into the silence of our innermost being and discover there the voice which calls us beyond the limits of human togetherness to a new communion.’

Liberation thinking: an evangelical assessment

Item consists of a book in which Nouwen has written Chapter 4, beginning on p. 23, titled: "Liberation: Freedom to love". The chapter represents excerpts from Nouwen's prologue to Gutierrez' book: We Drink from Our Own Wells, in which he speaks directly to several of the issues of "Venezuelian Agenda."

Caring for the Commonweal: education for religious and public life

Item consists of a book in which Nouwen has written Chapter 5, beginning on p. 93, titled: "Theology as Doxology: Reflections on Theological Education." He stated in part: "I . . . realize that [the theological moments that God's Word really broke through to my own and my students' hearts] were indeed moments of doxology in which knowing God, loving God, and praising God became one" (p. 109).

From brokenness to community

Item consists of a book in which Nouwen has written the foreword, stating in part: ". . . much of what he said [at the Harvard Divinity School] radiated the same spirit as the Harvard lectures published in this book. It is a spirit of simplicity, a spirit of gratitude, a spirit of celebration, fed by a deep love for the poor."

Vanier, Jean

A seven day journey with Thomas Merton

Item consists of a book in which Nouwen has written the foreword, reflecting on his own visit with Merton and a friend, Joe Ahearn, in 1966. Nouwen concludes in part: "When I read Esther de Waal's [book] I said to myself: 'What better guide can there be than this earthy, yet so spiritual man, whom I met with my friend Joe at the pond in Gethsemani.'"

Meditations before mass

Item consists of a book in which Nouwen has written the foreword, stating in part: "Readers will encounter in these reflections one of the most important spiritual writers of this century, and will realize that although the liturgy of the Eucharist underwent major changes in recent decades, God's great gift to us continues to be the real grace of Christ's presence among us in the Mass."

A dry roof and a cow: dreams and portraits of our neighbours

Item consists of a pamphlet in which Nouwen has written the introduction, stating: "The people portrayed in the book 'are in touch with something larger than a wish for a gift from a stranger who might come along and show pity on them. They are in touch with a dream that makes them visionaries of a new future.'"

A different accent

Item consists of a book which features Nouwen in a chapter "Peace", subtitled "Living peace" dated April 28, 1983 and beginning on p. 35.

"Toekomstige parkeerplaats tussen de sterren"

Item consists of an article which defends Nouwen's article "Toekomstige parkeerplaats tussen de sterren" after an accusation of Nouwen of being "ensconced behind the walls of the Pius - convict" [according to a brief translation].

Alabama march

Item consists of an article regarding the march from Selma, Alabama, to Montgomery, Alabama.

Encounter loneliness

Item consists of an article which is an excerpt from the upcoming book, Reaching Out. Note in the article: the text "will appear in a revised and enlarged form in the book: Reaching Out."

Maria, madre dei sacerdoti

Item consists of a booklet featuring a homily by Nouwen on Mary for the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the Cathedral Church of St. Michael, Toronto, during Marian year 1988.

Met open handen: notities over het gebed

Item consists of a book which Nouwen wrote about prayer; the translated title is: With Open Hands. The book has been divided into the following (English translation): Foreword; Introduction, With Clenched Fists; Chapter 1, Prayer and Silence; Chapter 2, Prayer and Acceptance; Chapter 3, Prayer and Hope; Chapter 4, Prayer and Compassion; Chapter 5, Prayer and Revolution; Conclusion, With Open Hands.

Reaching out: the three movements of the spiritual life

Item consists of a book which Nouwen wrote about the spiritual life. The book has been divided into the following: Foreword; Introduction; Reaching Out to our Innermost Self, The First Movement: From Loneliness to Solitude, Chapter 1: A Suffocating Loneliness, Chapter 2: A Receptive Solitude, Chapter 3: A Creative Response; Reaching Out to our Fellow Human Beings, The Second Movement: From Hostility to Hospitality, Chapter 4: Creating Space for the Stranger, Chapter 5: Forms of Hospitality, Chapter 6: Hospitality and the Host; Reaching Out to our God, The Third Movement: From Illusion to Prayer, Chapter 7: Prayer and Mortality, Chapter 8: The Prayer of the Heart, Chapter 9: Community and Prayer; Conclusion; Notes.
As is stated in the front flap: "In Reaching Out, [Nouwen] . . . lays out an incomparable plan for living a life in and with the Spirit and achieving the ultimate goal of that life: union with God."

Gracias!: a Latin American journal

Item consists of a book in which Nouwen wrote about his six-month stay, from October 1981 to March 1982, in Bolivia and Peru. The book has been divided into the following: Acknowledgments; Introduction, In Search of a Vocation; 1. October, The Lord of the Miracles; 2. November, New Faces and Voices; 3. December, A Land of Martyrs; 4. January, In Pablo and Sophia's House; 5. February, An Inner and Outer Struggle; 6. March, The Outlines of a Vision; Conclusion, A Call to Be Grateful.
As is stated in the back flap: "A treasure lies hidden in the soul of Latin America, a spiritual treasure to be recognized as a gift for us . . . the treasure of gratitude that can help us break through the walls of our individual and collective self-righteousness and can prevent us from destroying ourselves and our planet. "

Love in a fearful land: a Guatemalan story

Item consists of a book which Nouwen wrote about two North American parish priests who served in Guatemala -- Stanley Francis Rother and John Vesey. Three years after Stanley was murdered in Santiago Atitlan on July 28, 1981, John took his place as parish priest. "This is also a story about the mysterious presence of a faithful God in the midst of a country ravaged by violence, torture and assassination. Most of all, it is a story about prayer" (p. 10).

Lifesigns: intimacy, fecundity, and ecstasy in Christian perspective

Item consists of a book which Nouwen wrote about intimacy, fecundity, and ecstasy during visits to the L'Arche community in Trosly-Breuil. The book has been divided into the following: Introduction From the House of Fear to the House of Love; Part One Intimacy, Introduction, Intimacy and Fear, Intimacy and Love, Intimacy and Solidarity, Conclusion; Part Two Fecundity, Introduction, Fecundity and Fear, Fecundity and Love, Fecundity and Mission, Conclusion; Part Three Ecstasy, Introduction, Ecstasy and Fear, Ecstasy and Love, Ecstasy and a New International Order, Conclusion; Conclusion Signs of Life, A Final Prayer.
As is stated on the back flap: "Fr. Nouwen shows how, together, these three elements [intimacy, fecundity, and ecstasy] offer the essential key to a life free from the domination of fear, and filled instead with hope and love."

In the name of Jesus: reflections on Christian leadership

Item consists of a book Nouwen wrote concerning a speech he gave about Christian leadership at the 15th anniversary of the Center for Human Development in Washington, D.C., by invitation of Murray McDonnell, chairman of the board of the Center for Human Development. The book has been divided into the following: Prologue; Introduction; 1 From Relevance to Prayer, The Temptation: To Be Relevant; The Question: "Do You Love Me?", The Discipline: Contemplative Prayer; II From Popularity to Ministry, The Temptation: To Be Spectacular, The Task: "Feed My Sheep", The Discipline: Confession and Forgiveness; III From Leading to Being Led, The Temptation: To be Powerful, The Challenge: "Somebody Else Will Take You", The Discipline: Theological Reflection; Conclusion; Epilogue.
As is stated on the front flap: ". . .By looking back at his own life and transition from the academic setting of Harvard to working with the mentally handicapped at the L'Arche communities in Toronto, Henri Nouwen reflects upon the challenges and the solutions to the problems within today's Christian leadership."

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