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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.’

Listen to pain with heart

This item is a half-page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Listen to pain with heart’, published in the National Catholic Reporter, September 6, 1974, p. 15. Nouwen begins this article by stating that ‘when my response to the world remains hanging between my mind and my hands, it remains weak and superficial….Only when my mind has descended into my heart can I expect a lasting response welling up from my innermost self’. Nouwen speaks of the solitude of the heart as the place from which effective and meaningful actions flow. ‘It is in the solitude of the heart that we can truly listen to the pains of the world because there we can recognize them as strange and unfamiliar pains but as pains which are indeed our own’. Nouwen suggests that it is from being in touch with out inner solitude that we can avoid self-righteousness and grow in compassion. Nouwen quotes several passages from the Trappist monk Thomas Merton, who speaks of the fruitfulness of solitude as a school for compassion. Nouwen concludes the article by stating ‘The paradox indeed is that the beginning of healing is in the solidarity with the pain. And in our solution-oriented society it is more important than ever to realize that wanting to alleviate pain without sharing it is like wanting to save a child from a burning house without the risk of being hurt’.

Wisdom of emptiness

This item is a half-page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Wisdom in Emptiness’ published in the National Catholic Reporter, October 4, 1974, p. 11. Nouwen begins the article by stating that most people need constant occupation and without it are restless and feel useless. He says ‘Being busy, active and on the move has nearly become part of our constitution’. Nouwen goes on to state ‘this is why silence is such a difficult task’. He suggests that occupation and preoccupation are our ’fearful ways to keep things the same’…’we hold on to the familiar life items which we have collected in the past’. Nouwen uses as an example of this a story by Carlos Castaneda and the story of Jesus’ exhortation that we should ‘not worry …your heavenly father knows what you need’. Nouwen concludes by saying, ‘ Conversion is an inner event that cannot be planned or organized, but needs to develop from within. Just as you cannot force a plant to grow, but can take away the weeds and stones which prevent its development, so you can… offer the space where such a conversion can take place’.

Compassion: solidarity, consolation and comfort

This item is a 5 and a half page article by Henri Nouwen, entitled, ‘Compassion: Solidarity, Consolation and Comfort, published in America magazine, America Press Inc., New York, March 13, 1976, pp. 195 – 200. In this article Nouwen uses the letters to his brother Theo and the paintings of the Dutch painter, Vincent Van Gogh to write of the expression of compassion in a human life. Nouwen states as the aspects of compassion he wishes to look at in the following way: ‘When we read Vincent’s letters and contemplate his paintings and drawings, three aspects of compassion come into focus: solidarity, consolation and comfort’. He then goes on with regard to these aspects to say, ‘When we say, “Blessed are the compassionate,” we do so because the compassionate manifest their human solidarity by crying out with those who suffer. They console by feeling deeply the wounds of life, and they offer comfort by pointing beyond the human pains to glimpses of strength and hope. 1) Solidarity: Nouwen suggests that although a sense of human solidarity might seem obvious that capacity has receded in our society. But he describes Vincent’s sense of it: ‘He realized that the road to human solidarity is painful and lined by weeping willows, but once Vincent found his aim in life, nothing, absolutely nothing, could hold him back’. 2) Consolation: Nouwen begins this aspect ‘when we have given up our desire to be different and have recognized our intimate solidarity with the human condition, then consolation can manifest itself. In Vincent Van Gogh, Nouwen sees consolation growing out of the artists desire to ‘come in touch with the heart of life as he saw it in the poor of spirit… for him, to draw meant to draw out of his fellow human beings that which binds them together’. Nouwen concludes this section by stating, ‘Consolation indeed asks for the sincere struggle to reach into the center of human brokenness; out of its common depths compassion can be expressed’. 3) Comfort: ‘Comfort…is the great human gift that creates community. Those who come together in mutual vulnerability are bound together by a new strength that makes them into one body’. Nouwen goes on to describe how Van Gogh especially in his later life tried to comfort by ‘drawing out of the dirtiest corners of life a ray of light’. Van Gogh’s own suffering of loneliness, obscurity and mental anguish, did not obscure the reality that ‘it is the sun that has made Vincent famous’.

Does the news destroy compassion?

This item is a 3 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Does the News Destroy Compassion?, published in The Sign, September, 1976, pp.25 -27. Nouwen begins this article by making reference to the monk, Thomas Merton who read no newspapers, nor watched television, nor listened to the radio but who had a strong sense of solidarity with humanity. Nouwen quotes Merton ‘ My first duty is to start to live as a member of a human race that is no more and no less ridiculous than I am myself’. This, Nouwen suggests, lead Merton to compassion. ‘It was because of this compassionate solidarity that Merton was able to speak out and to offer criticism…to distinguish illusions from reality’. Nouwen then speaks about our modern exposure daily to images and descriptions of deep human suffering that we can do nothing about. He says, ‘ I am wondering, more and more, if day-to-day confrontation with human suffering with which identification is impossible does not, in fact, create more anger than love and more disgust than compassion’. He then asks, ‘How can I become a compassionate person?. Nouwen indicates that most of Merton’s information came from personal sources, letters, from individuals rather than collectivities. “In these letters Merton saw the world with its pains and joys; these letters brought him in contact with a living community of people who had real faces, real tears, and real smiles’. Nouwen concludes the article ‘A compassionate person has an eye for small things and is able to trust in the simple response. The great temptation is to make things so complex that any response seems inadequate and meaningless’.

The minister as the wounded healer: pastoral care and counseling

This item is a 6 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘ The Minister as the Wounded Healer’ published in Pulpit Digest, November-December 1976. Nouwen’ s first heading in this article is ‘The Wounded Minister’ and he opens by stating, ‘ This means that he who wants to announce the liberation is not just called to care for his own wounds but even to make them into the main source of his healing power’. Nouwen asks which wounds these might be and suggests the words alienation, separation, isolation and loneliness. He finds the word ‘loneliness is closest to our immediate experience and therefore most fit to make us aware of our broken condition’. Nouwen finds loneliness to be one of modern humanity’s deepest wounds, one which we make painful attempts to break through. However, he goes on to say ‘the Christian way of life is not to take away our loneliness but to protect and to cherish it as a precious gift’. Nouwen believes that the minister’s gift is to embrace this loneliness in his own life and use it to share his own broken humanity with those he serves. The next heading entitled, ‘The Healing Minister” asks the question, ‘how does healing take place?’ Nouwen speaks here of care and compassion but develops the theme of hospitality. ‘Hospitality is the virtue which allows man to speak through the narrowness of his own fears and to open his house for the stranger with the intuition that salvation comes to us in the form of a tired traveler’. In this way the minister who has come to terms with his own loneliness can offer a healing hospitality. Nouwen concludes by stating ‘No minister can save anyone. He can only offer himself as a guide to fearful people…because a shared pain is no longer paralyzing but mobilizing when it is understood as a way to liberation’.

Compassion: the core of spiritual leadership

This item is a 6 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘Compassion, The Core of Spiritual Leadership’, published in Occasional Papers by the Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research, Collegeville, Minnesota, March 1977, No. 2. Nouwen begins the article by stating that his discussion of compassion as the core of spiritual leadership can be looked at in three areas: 1) The phenomenology of compassion. How does compassion manifest itself? Answer: In solidarity.2) The ascesis of compassion. How is compassion disciplined? By voluntary displacement. 3) The theology of compassion. How is compassion lived out in the light of the gospel? In discipleship. Nouwen then goes on to discuss each of these areas. 1) Solidarity. ‘Solidarity, as the manifestation of compassion, does not mean resignation to the sad fact that we are about the same as other human beings, but it means desire to participate in our human sameness as fully and deeply as possible’. Nouwen discusses the implications of solidarity for the spiritual leader and states ‘ Not critical observation, but compassionate participation; that is the vital source of all authority.’ He suggests Jesus as the divine manifestation of compassionate authority. 2) Displacement. Nouwen identifies compassion as a gift rather than something that can be learned. Nouwen suggests that displacement is the discipline of compassion and uses a dictionary definition to define it: ‘to move or to shift from the ordinary or proper place’. In the concrete this means, according to Nouwen, moving away from ‘what is ordinary and proper’ and getting in touch with our own ‘inner brokenness as well as with the brokenness of our fellow human beings’. He concludes the section by stating, ‘ And so, the discipline of displacement is the mysterious way by which the expression of compassionate solidarity becomes possible. 3) Discipleship. Nouwen’s principle point here is described by him, ‘Every human attempt to be compassionate independent of Christ is doomed to failure. The discipline of compassion only makes sense as an expression of discipleship’. He further clarifies, ‘ In Christ we can do a little thing while doing much, we can show care without being crushed and we can face the pains of the world without becoming gloomy, depressed or doomsday prophets’. Nouwen concludes the article by stating that the school in which all this is taught is the school of prayer.

Coping with the seven o'clock news: compassion in a callous world

This item is a 2 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Coping with the Seven O’Clock News: Compassion in a callous world’, published in Sojourners, September 1977, Vol. 6, No. 10, pp. 15 & 18. Within the article is a separate article by Henri Nouwen called, ‘Portrait of Compassion” about his friend Joel Filartiga, which includes a full page illustration by Dr Filartiga, pp 16 & 17. In the first article Nouwen describes how hard it is for most people to feel a sense of compassion when inundated nightly by ‘pictures of starving babies, dying soldiers, burning houses, flooded villages and wrecked cars’. He attributes this difficulty in feeling compassion to the sense of being overwhelmed by the massiveness of it and our inability to feel we can do anything. Nouwen then says ‘When information about human suffering comes to us through a person who can be embraced, it is humanized’. He uses Thomas Merton as an example of one who received letters from all over the world speaking about human suffering and says, ‘ In these letters Merton saw the world with its pains and joys; they drew him into a real community of living people with real faces, real tears and real smiles’. Nouwen uses this as an example to suggest that compassion must be rooted in solidarity and community. Nouwen suggests that in our world which tends to value difference, uniqueness, it is our sense of community and our common humanity which will bring about compassion.
In the article about Paraguayan Doctor Joel Filartiga Nouwen speaks of the doctor’s life serving the very poor of his area, of his defense of the poor and his sharp criticism of the regime. He suggests that because the government could not hurt Joel, they kidnapped, tortured and killed his 17 year old son. Nouwen believes that through the father’s suffering for his people and his son, came very powerful drawings which Nouwen and his fellow authors wanted to use in their writings on compassion.

Not without confrontation

This item is a one page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Not Without Confrontation’, published in Sojourners, October 1977, Vol. 6, No. 10, p. 9. This is identified as the second in a series on compassion. Nouwen begins the article by stating that ‘compassion does not exclude confrontation’. Nouwen points to the prophets and to Jesus to make this point and suggests as an example that ‘we cannot suffer with the poor when we are not willing to confront those who cause poverty’. He goes on to state that the confrontation must be a humble one or in risks being self-righteous or self-serving. Nouwen then goes on to discuss the place of anger in confrontation and suggests that, for instance, anger is an appropriate response to injustice. Nouwen concludes the article by stating that ‘confrontation always includes self-confrontation. This self- confrontation prevents us from becoming alienated from the world which we must confront’.

Solitude and community

This item is a 15 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, Solitude and Community, published in the UISG Bulletin (International Union of Superiors General), Rome, 1978. The article is described as a conference given by Henri Nouwen as part of the program of monthly meetings arranged by the English-speaking councilors of generalates in Rome. Nouwen begins by describing a number of world events occurring in the weeks before, which he concludes leaves our world in ‘a state of emergency’. He goes on to say, ‘while we approach the end of the second millennium of the Christian era, our world is clouded with an all-pervading fear, a growing sense of despair and the paralyzing awareness that indeed humanity has come on the verge of suicide’. Nouwen then asks how or if, the christian (sic) community can or will respond and says he wishes ‘to try to explain how the emergency situation …in which we live can open for us a new understanding of the indispensability of solitude in the life of the christian community’. Nouwen writes under three major headings: 1) Solitude and Intimacy, 2) Solitude and Ministry and 3) Solitude and Prayer, as they relate to communities of religious. 1) After an introduction in which Nouwen states, ‘ a community in which no real intimacy can be experienced cannot be a creative witness for very long in our fearful and angry world’. Nouwen then moves to discuss further under two major headings. The first,’ solitude: grounds for community growth’ suggests solitude is necessary for the growth of a loving community and for increasing fruitful intimacy among the members. The second sub-heading is ‘solitude: where we learn dependence upon God’. Nouwen says here, ‘with solitude, we learn to depend on God by whom we are called together in love, in whom we can rest, and through whom we can enjoy and trust one another…’ 2) Under the heading Solitude and Ministry Nouwen speaks of the new varieties of ministry available but also of the loss of communal character and therefore, common witness. Under the sub-heading ‘solitude: place where common vocation becomes visible’ Nouwen states, ‘We should never forget that God calls us as a people, and that our individual religious vocation should always be seen as a part of the larger vocation of the community. A further heading in this section is, ‘solitude: a place of communal obedience’. 3) In this section headed Solitude and Prayer, Nouwen begins by stating ‘It is very simplistic to say that emergencies make people pay more attention to God and re-awaken religious feelings’. He wonders if in fact, the opposite is not true. He goes on to remind religious to be aware of how much secularism has permeated religious life and how prayer is ‘has lost its central place’. There are two sub-headings:’ solitude: the place of the great encounter and conversion’ in which Nouwen says,’ In solitude we leave behind us our many activities, concerns, plans and projects, opinions and convictions, and enter into the presence of our loving God , totally naked, totally vulnerable, totally open, totally receptive’. In the second sub-heading entitled, ‘solitude: unlimited space for others’ Nouwen says ‘…through prayer and especially through intercessory prayer, the religious community stands open to the whole world. By their prayers, the members of a religious community form an open square in which there is space for any and everyone’. Nouwen concludes by saying ‘I hope that I have been able to convince you to some degree of the indispensability of solitude in the life of the religious community’.

Contemplation and ministry: making the clouded clear

This item is a 3 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘Contemplation and Ministry’ published in Sojourners, June 1978, pp. 9,11-12. Nouwen begins the article by asking what is the relationship between contemplation and ministry?. He answers by stating ‘The contemplative life is a life with a vision and life of ministry is the life in which this vision is revealed to others’. He speaks then of a spiritual discipline which leads to movement in life from opacity to transparency. Nouwen uses three examples to discuss this: Nature, Time and People. With regard to Nature Nouwen believes that we are no longer able to let nature minister to us; rather we use and abuse it. With regard to Time, Nouwen suggests that time has become almost an enemy rather than a present moment full of God; a kairos. He suggests that ‘the contemplative life is the life in which time slowly loses its opaqueness and becomes transparent’. With regard to People, Nouwen states ‘ contemplation as seeing what is really there has a very significant meaning in the context of interpersonal relationships…here we can begin to see the intimate connection between contemplation and ministry’. Nouwen concludes by discussing briefly two other important aspects of contemplative prayer for ministry: simplicity and obedience.

The hell of mercy: confronting Merton's spirituality

This item is a 1 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘The Hell of Mercy’, published in the journal, Sojourners, December 1978, p.19. Nouwen writes of his interpretation of Thomas Merton's "small, but very penetrating book," 'Contemplative Prayer'. Nouwen discusses how, rather than Merton leading us into morbidity, Merton is actually illustrating how entirely dependent we are on God's mercy.

The desert counsel to flee the world

This item is a 5 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘The Desert Counsel to Flee the World’ which is part one of a 3 part series published in Sojourners, pp. 14, 15 – 18, June 1980. Nouwen introduces the article by speaking of the desert fathers and mothers, in particular he writes briefly of the life of St. Anthony ‘the father of monks’. Nouwen identifies in the life of Anthony the profound importance of solitude and states, ‘When he emerged from his solitude, people recognized in him the real “healthy” man, whole in body, mind and soul’. Under the heading ‘The compulsive minister’ Nouwen expresses concern that the lives of many ministers are ‘horrendously secular’ busy with meetings, people, agendas, services. He suggests the very busyness of this life can be a way to avoid solitude, being alone with God. In the next section entitled, ‘The furnace of transformation’ Nouwen identifies solitude as the furnace of transformation. ‘Solitude is the place of the great struggle and the great encounter’. Here, the minister encounters himself or herself in the struggle to die to the false self, to meet God and ‘to be with him and him alone’. In the final heading entitled ‘A Compassionate Ministry’ Nouwen suggests that the life of prayer in solitude is the source of the quality of compassion for the minister. He concludes by stating, ‘In a world that victimizes us by its compulsions, we are called to solitude where we can struggle against our anger and greed and let our new self be born in the loving encounter with Jesus Christ. It is in this solitude that we become compassionate people…’

Reflections on compassion: convention keynote address

This item is a 6 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled,’ Reflections on Compassion’ which was the Keynote address at the annual assembly of the Catholic Health Association of Canada, published in the C.H.A.C. Review, July/August, 1980. Nouwen opens his talk with a quotation from the Letter to the Philippians 2: 1 – 11. In his introduction he begins by asking the people if they think they are compassionate which he suggests means ‘ to enter, with other people, where it hurts; to enter places of pain; to be there where people are suffering’. He suggests that we do not of our own accord do this and that it is God only who is compassionate. Nouwen suggests that one reason we are not compassionate is that we are too competitive. He goes on to state that God who is in no way in competition with us nevertheless became like us but not to take ’our pains away but to share them, to enter them and to become fully part of them. Nouwen asks his audience to think of those people who are most meaningful to us. Are they not the people who remain alongside us in our need? Nouwen speaks of Jesus’ powerful response of caring as described in the scriptures; a caring that comes from his ‘gut’. ‘Jesus felt the pain so deeply, he trembled so deeply that he trembled people to new life. He was moved, and out of that inner divine movement new health, cure and change came about’. Nouwen then speaks of the distinction between cure and care. Cure without care can be harmful, even violent. ‘Care broadens your vision; care makes you see around you; care makes you aware of possibilities’. Finally, Nouwen speaks of the possibility of being compassionate both in presence and absence.

Descend with the mind into the heart: the call to unceasing prayer

This item is a five page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Descend with the Mind into the Heart; the call to unceasing prayer’, published in Sojourners, August 20, 1980, pp: 20 – 24. This is the third part of a series which included articles on solitude and silence. Nouwen begins by stating ‘solitude and silence can never be separated from the call to unceasing prayer’. He also, once again uses stories from the desert fathers beginning with Arsenius to point to the importance of prayer. Nouwen, in his first part of this article headed, Prayer of the Mind, suggests that most ministers would say that prayer is of the utmost importance but that in fact, they don’t do it. ‘The contrast between the great support for the idea of prayer and the lack of support for the practice of it is so blatantly visible that it becomes quite easy to believe in the ruses of the evil one which Amma Theodora describes with such vivid detail. These ruses are identified as: 1) to make us think of prayer as an activity of the mind 2) a viewpoint that restricts the meaning of prayer to thinking about God. Nouwen states that ‘both these views of prayer are the products of a culture in which high value is place on mastering the world through the intellect’. Nouwen then goes on to discuss what he identifies as the prayer of the heart ‘which leads to that rest where the soul can dwell with God’. Nouwen identifies in his concluding section entitled ‘Prayer and Ministry’ three disciplines of prayer: 1) Nurtured by short prayers 2) unceasing and 3) all-inclusive. Nouwen concludes this third article by stating: ‘When we have been remodeled into living witnesses of Christ through solitude, silence and prayer, we will no longer have to worry about whether we are saying the right thing or making the right gesture, because then Christ will make his presence known even when we are not aware of it’.

Encounter in solitude

This item is a 6 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Encounter in Solitude’ and is an excerpt from his book ‘The Way of the Heart’ published in The Sign, February, 1981, pp. 12 - 17. Nouwen introduces the article by speaking of the desert fathers and mothers, in particular he writes of the life of St. Anthony ‘the father of monks’. Nouwen identifies in the life of Anthony the profound importance of solitude and states, ‘When he emerged from his solitude, people recognized in him the real “healthy” man, whole in body, mind and soul’. Nouwen expresses concern that the lives of many people are ‘horrendously secular’. Nouwen identifies ‘the two main enemies of the spiritual life: anger and greed. He also suggests that the very busyness of life can be a way to avoid solitude, being alone with God. Nouwen describes solitude as ‘the furnace of transformation’. ‘Solitude is the place of the great struggle and the great encounter – the struggle against the compulsions of the false self, and the encounter with the loving God who offers himself as the substance of the new self’. Nouwen speaks then of the fruit of solitude, ‘ it is compassion’. He concludes by stating, ‘In a world that victimizes us by its compulsions, we are called to solitude where we can struggle against our anger and greed and let our new self be born in the loving encounter with Jesus Christ. It is in this solitude that we become compassionate people…’

Service

This item is a one page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Service’, published in America, November 27, 1982, p. 325. This is an excerpt from Nouwen’s book, Gracias!: A Latin American Journal’. In this excerpt Nouwen writes of his sense of the power of the vocation to pray living amidst the poor of Cochabamba in Bolivia. He says, ‘True prayer always includes becoming poor. When we pray we stand naked and vulnerable in front of Our Lord and show him our true condition’. Part of the need for prayer as Nouwen describes it, using Psalm 80 as an example is to call God to task, ‘for challenging Him to make His love felt among the poor, is more urgent than ever’.

Prayer and peacemaking

This item is a 3 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled:’ Prayer and Peacemaking’ published in the Catholic Agitator by the Los Angeles Catholic Worker, December 1982, Vol. 12, No. 10. Nouwen begins by stating, ‘A peacemaker prays. Prayer is the beginning and the end, the sources and the fruit, the core and the context, the basis and the goal of all peacemaking.’ Nouwen uses the image of dwelling place throughout: do we live in the dwelling place of fear or the dwelling place of Jesus. ‘Praying is living in the house of the Lord’. Nouwen then goes on to describe what he sees as the ‘depth of human need’: our need for attention, affection, influence, power, and to be worthwhile. He then asks ‘why is it that our own needs are spoiling even the most altruistic gestures?’ Nouwen heads the next few sections: Those who hate peace; Dark works of conflict; Holy duty, which outline his sense that fear is one of the most powerful forces which fight against peace. Nouwen then speaks of the gospel message that prayer drives out fear and that only peacemaking rooted in Love is real peacemaking. He concludes: ‘The life of prayer, the spiritual life, thus becomes not one of the obligations peacemakers should not forget, but the essence of all they do, think or say in the service of peace’.

Solitude is the furnace of transformation

This item is a photocopy of a ½ page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘Solitude is the furnace of Transformation’ published in The Episcopalian, June 1983. This item is identified as an excerpt from Nouwen, Henri: The Way of the Heart, The Seabury Press, 1981. Nouwen opens by writing of the call of Anthony one of the desert fathers into solitude where ‘ he had to face his enemies – anger and greed – head –on and let himself be totally transformed. That, Nouwen suggests, is necessary for all ministry to be fruitful.

Henri Nouwen: a call to peacemaking

  • CA ON00389 F4-9-1-1653
  • Item
  • [between July 27 - September 15, 1983]
  • Part of Henri Nouwen fonds

This item is a 5 page article, an adaptation of a talk, by Henri Nouwen entitled, A Call To Peacemaking, prepared by World Peacemakers Inc, founded in The Church of the Savior, Washington, D.C., summer 1983. Nouwen begins by stating that his returning from Nicaragua to the United States to give this and other talks resulted from an unintended month-long stop in Nicaragua on his way to Peru. Nouwen states that his visit made him aware of the turmoil and potential possibility of war in Central America and he felt he needed to return to the United States in order to ‘say, loudly and clearly, let us work together to prevent war’. He goes on to state that he has, for some time, seen that the ‘spiritual destiny of North America is somehow intimately connected with the spiritual destiny of Latin America’. Nouwen states then, that he wishes to speak as honestly as he can of what he experienced in Nicaragua. He describes his desire to listen to as many voices as he could from government, church and people. From his discussion with government people he identifies several points: 1) ‘I learned…that the revolution …has given the people a new sense of dignity 2) ‘From my observations …the revolution is a deeply Christian event. Nouwen felt the leaders have been ‘formed in a deep way’ by the word of God and their own suffering, 3)’What you see and hear is that the revolution is for the people, for the poor’. From his experience of the church in Nicaragua, which he describes as ‘divided’, ‘polarized. ‘I suddenly realized the enormous pain and agony of the church.’ It was when Nouwen spoke with ‘the people’ that he finally felt he understood what his task was; why he was there. From the people he discovered that there was still much suffering in their lives in spite of the revolution although to some extent it was recognized that this was caused by outside forces such as the American economic blockade. However in spite of this suffering he felt a measure of hope but also a certainty that the United States must not interfere any longer. Nouwen concludes by stating he has a whole new awareness of the words of the Mass: ‘Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again’.

Caring presence: reflections

This item is a 2 column article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Caring Presence’, published in SCJ News, October, 1983, Vol. 5, No. 2, p. 4. This item is an excerpt from Nouwen, Henri: Out of Solitude. Nouwen begins the article by asking, ‘What does it mean to care?’ He suggests that the word ‘care’ has often been misused and offers several examples. Nouwen goes on to say ‘… we tend to look at caring as an attitude of the strong toward the weak, of the powerful toward the powerless’. However, Nouwen suggests that real caring is when another shares our pain, touches our wounds with a ‘gentle and tender hand’. Nouwen concludes by stating, ‘To care means first of all to be present to each other…presence is a healing presence because they accept you on your terms and they encourage you to take your own life seriously…’.

We drink from our own wells

This item is a 4 page book review by Henri Nouwen published in America magazine, October 15, 1983, pp.205 – 208. Nouwen is reviewing a book by Gustavo Gutierrez entitled ‘We Drink From Our Own Wells: The Spiritual Journey of a People’ and that is also the title of the review. Nouwen opens the review by noting Gutierrez’ earlier book entitled ‘A Theology of Liberation’ which he suggests ‘soon became a charter for many Latin American theologians and pastoral workers’. Nouwen then goes on to describe this new book as ‘the nuanced articulation the Christ-encounter as experienced by the poor of Latin America in their struggle to affirm their human dignity and claim their true identity as sons and daughters of God’. Nouwen then goes on to describe his own personal experience of hearing Gutierrez speak before this book was written and his sense of the effect of his spirituality on those who were working for the poor in Latin America. Nouwen quotes Gutierrez “Poverty means death” and goes on to describe what this involves, ‘This death is not only physical but mental and cultural as well. It refers to the destruction of individual persons, peoples, cultures and traditions’. Nouwen then outlines three aspects of the spirituality of liberation described in the book: 1) that it is impossible to reduce liberation theology to a political movement, 2) that it is Christ-centered and 3) that is drawn from the concrete daily experiences of the Christian communities in Latin America. Nouwen states toward the conclusion, ‘When Gustavo Gutierrez points to freedom as the goal of a spirituality of liberation, he connects the struggle of the people of Latin America with the spiritual struggle of all the great Christians throughout the centuries’. Nouwen concludes the review with a re-iteration of his own sense that the spiritual destinies of the Americas are closely linked.

The suffering Christ: peacemaking across the Americas

This item is a 4 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘The Suffering Christ’, published in The Other Side, December 1983, Issue 147, pp. 16 – 19. This article is identified as an adaptation of a talk given by Henri Nouwen during a vigil for peace and non-intervention in Central America which was held in Philadelphia, Fall 1983. Nouwen opens the article by stating, ‘As people of God we are called to know God. Yet we who live in North America will never fully know God if we ignore the way God speaks to us through the people of South America’. This theme runs through the article which asks people to become involved in the struggles and sufferings currently in Central and South America. Nouwen describes his own attempts to understand what is happening there by going himself to Nicaragua. He states that the more people he talked to, the more confused he became and the more aware of deep divisions even among Christians. He asks ‘How can one live in such a world and be faithful? How can one live in a country in which even the Christians are growing more and more suspicious of one another? How can one live in that world and find one’s own spiritual center?’ Nouwen’s answer is to look at the ‘deep truth of those words we repeat so often: “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again”. For Nouwen there is the revelation of God’s suffering in the men, women and children of Central America; Nouwen then sees that because Christ is risen ‘that Jesus has overcome death; he has overcome evil and agony. Nouwen then states, ‘“Christ will come again”. What does this mean for us today?’ His answer is that Christ will not ask us if we have been successful but what we have done to serve the least of Christ’s people. Nouwen concludes by asking, ‘Are we willing to be weak and vulnerable with those who suffer? Are we willing to sit in solidarity with them and share their sorrow, their anxiety, their agony?’.

Henri J.M. Nouwen on prayer

This item is a ¾ page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘On Prayer’, published in Reflections, St. Luke’s Parish newsletter for Week VI of Spring, 1984, April 8 – April 14. The location of this parish is not identified. The item is identified as an excerpt from, Nouwen, Henri: With Open Hands, Ave Maria Press, Notre Dame, IN., 1972. Nouwen begins by speaking of the connection between prayer and silence. He suggests however, that for many people ‘silence has become a real disturbance’. Nouwen then goes on to speak of inner silence which, he suggests, when it comes is a gift, a promise. ‘It is the silence of the ‘poor in spirit’ where you learn to see your life in its proper perspectives’. He also suggests that ‘prayer is acceptance’.Nouwen concludes the excerpt by stating, ‘Above all, praying means to be accepting toward God who is always new, always different’.

Intimacy and solidarity

This item is a 4 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘Intimacy and Solidarity’, published in The Round Table, by The Catholic Worker movement, St. Louis, MO, Autumn, 1984, pp. 3 – 6. Nouwen begins the article by stating, ‘The words we most need to hear during these turbulent days are: “Do not be afraid”’. Nouwen then goes on to describe the power of fear current in society. He suggests however that fear omnipresent as it is need not be considered acceptable; that it is still possible to live in ‘the house of love’. Nouwen identifies Jean Vanier, founder of the L’Arche movement as the one who helped him to see that ‘intimacy, fecundity and ecstasy are the three qualities of a life together in the house of love’. Nouwen goes on to talk about ‘home’,’ homelessness’ and suggests that intimacy is the first and most obvious quality of home. Nouwen writes of the connection between intimacy and what people might think is counter-intuitive, solidarity with others. The solidarity in intimacy is Nouwen’s sense of the meeting of all human beings, in the heart of Jesus. ‘Living in the intimacy of God’s home we can come to see that the God who loves us with a perfect love includes all human beings in that love without in any way diminishing the unique quality of this love for each individual person’. Nouwen concludes the article by again referencing Jean Vanier and his work with mentally handicapped people especially as it is a reminder of solidarity with the weak, the poor, the ‘inefficient’.

Prayer embraces the world

This item is a 5 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Prayer Embraces the World’, published in Maryknoll magazine, Vol. 79, No. 4, April 1985, pp. 17 – 21. Nouwen opens the article by pointing to the immediacy of our awareness of the many trials and wars in our world via the media. He then asks ‘Do we pray more for our deeply wounded world since we know so much more about it?’. Nouwen describes the purpose of this article by stating ‘I’d like to explore why praying for the world and the missions has become so difficult and propose a way to make prayer the solid basis of all mission work.’
Nouwen points to the difficulty modern people feel in carrying in prayer the burdens of the world in part, he suggests, because we see these burdens in terms of issues rather than praying to a ‘personal God who loves us and hears us’. ‘Life becomes an unbearable burden whenever we lose touch with the presence of a loving Savior and see only hunger to be alleviated, injustice to be addressed, violence to be overcome, wars to be stopped and loneliness to be removed’. Nouwen suggests that burdens can be lightened because Jesus in his death ‘gathered up the human sufferings of all times and places’ and destroyed its fatal power. Near the conclusion Nouwen reminds us that ‘Prayer is leading every sorrow to the source of all healing…’. Nouwen believes that missioners will find support in knowing they are prayed for and that the people who pray will be part of ‘the new and joyful task of participating in God’s great work of salvation’.

Excerpts from With open hands

This item consists of 2 short excerpts from Henri Nouwen’s book ‘With Open Hands’ published in The Newsletter of the New Hampshire Cursillo, Manchester, New Hampshire, May 1985, p. 2 & p. 4. The first excerpt is about prayer and God’s deep desire to give himself to us. The second excerpt is also about prayer and describes prayer as living. ‘ There are as many ways to pray as there are moments in life’.

The icon of the Virgin of Vladimir: an invitation to belong to God

This item is a 3 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘ The Icon of the Virgin of Vladimir: An Invitation to Belong to God’, published in America, N.Y. May 11, 1985, Vol. 152, No. 18, pp. 387 – 390. Nouwen begins the article by asking, ‘To whom do we belong– the world… or God and God’s people’? He then goes on to state that during a recent 30 day retreat he found himself ‘drawn into [the] mysterious intimacy [of the icon] and came to know by heart its urgent invitation to belong to God’. Nouwen first writes of his impression of the eyes of the Virgin in the icon. He sees the eyes as gazing ‘upon the infinite spaces of the heart where joy and sorrow are no longer contrasting emotions, but are transcended in spiritual unity’. Nouwen then describes the hands of the Virgin as leading the viewer to Jesus. After the hands Nouwen moves to the child as portrayed in the icon. ‘The tender embrace of this mother and Child is far from a sentimental event. It is the portrayal of the mysterious interchange between God and humanity made possible by the Incarnation of the Word’. Nouwen concludes the article by suggesting that the icon portrays what it means to belong to God.

Excerpt from Gracias

This item is a short quote from Nouwen, Henri: Gracias!: A Latin American Journal, published at the top of the contents page of The Plough, No. 11, July /August 1985 by Hutterian Brethren, Rifton, N.Y. Nouwen identifies his sense that the poor often have a clearer sense of good and evil than do the wealthy who create many grey areas. ‘This intuitive clarity [of the poor] is often absent from the wealthy, and that absence easily leads to the atrophy of the moral sense’.

From the house of fear to the house of love

This item is a one page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘From the House of Fear to the House of Love’, published in World Peacemakers Inc., Washington, D.C., Fall 1985, p. 3. This article is identified as ‘a portion of three articles by Henri from a series entitled ‘The House of God: A Home amid and anxious world’ published in Sojourners Magazine, June, July and August-September, 1985. Nouwen begins the article by saying, ‘The words we most need to hear during these turbulent days are: “Do not be afraid”. These words from the Gospels are then followed by a list of some of the major fearful preoccupations of people in our time. Nouwen writes about how fear permeates so much of daily living and suggests that ‘Many of us Western people of the 20th century live in the house of fear’. He suggests that Jesus, when asked questions based in fear moved to ‘transform the question’ to a different level. Nouwen then asks, ‘Is it possible to live in the house of love and to listen to the questions raised there by the Lord of love?’ He identifies the ‘house of love’ not as a distant, hoped-for heaven but in Jesus, now, who is our home. ‘This is conversion: coming home. And this is what prayer is about: seeking our home where the Lord has built a home – in the intimacy of our own heart’. The fruits of this conversion as Nouwen sees it are: Intimacy, fecundity and ecstasy. Being in the home of Jesus is learning intimacy and trust which exclude no one; the fecundity that arises from this becomes ‘global’, for everyone. Nouwen finally, suggests that ‘complete joy is the reward of the fruitful life in the house of God. Ecstasy is this complete joy’. Nouwen completes this thought by suggesting that this joy, this fecundity can make nations less defensive and fearful and more inclusive.

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…’

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.

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.

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.

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’.

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.

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