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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’.

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’.

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 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.

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’.

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 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.

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’.

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.


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.

Ein gutiges herz

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

Prayer, Leisure are Linked

Item consists of one article by Sister Mary Ann Walsh titled "Prayer, Leisure are Linked." This article discusses leisure and how some find it difficult to use leisure to connect with God. Walsh interviewed Nouwen for the article.

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