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University of St. Michael's College, John M. Kelly Library, Special Collections
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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’.

Choosing joy

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

Reborn from above

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

All is grace

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

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’.


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

The 3 temptations

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

Going home

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


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

The gulf between East & West

Published in New Oxford Review 61, no. 4 (May 1994): 7-8, 10-16.
Item is 2 of a series of 2 articles. See also Published works series, box 299, item 1805.

The living Spirit

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

Our story, our wisdom

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

Ein gutiges herz

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

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