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

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.

Broken

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.

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