CA ON00389 F4-9-1-1685
- August - September 1985 (Creation)
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This item is a 5 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘, Living in Joyful Ecstasy, The House of God a Home amid an anxious World’, published in Sojourners, Vol. 14, No. 8, August/September 1985, pp. 27 – 31. This is part 3 of a three part series. Nouwen begins by stating that he does not believe ecstasy is simply for the mystical few but is in fact, for all Christian people. ‘I consider it very important to reclaim the word ‘ecstasy’ for all Christian people who strive to move from the house of fear to the house of love’. Nouwen then points to Jesus emphasis that he has come to bring joy and that all are called to remain in that joy. Nouwen moves from this introduction to a section entitled,’ Ecstasy and Fear’ and begins by stating that ‘just as fear prevents intimacy and fecundity, so too it makes ecstasy impossible’. He suggests that fear makes us cling to routine, to sameness and fear of change. Nouwen speaks of the people of L’Arche with whom he spent time and notes both the presence of routine but also the journey from fear to joy.’ If the world is a fearful place where you need all of your emotional energy just to survive, there is little capacity to move from one way of being alive to another…Where all has become fear, joy cannot be’. In the next section entitled, ‘Ecstasy and Love’ Nouwen points to the great difference between ephemeral happiness and deep joy. Deep joy is the joy of Jesus. It is a joy that holds both happiness and sorrow, good times and bad. ‘[Joy] is the solid ground from which new life can always burst forth’. In a final section entitled, ’A New International Order’ Nouwen moves on to write of the fears that are causing nations to build barriers and to fights battles rather than seek reconciliation and peace. He points to Jesus’ call to ‘the nations’ as well as to individual people. Nouwen notes the situations in Central and South America as places in which fear has brought nations almost to the brink of nuclear war. Nouwen concludes by stating, ‘The word “ecstasy” has opened a new perspective on joy as an essential element of a truly Christian spirituality. It is the constant moving away from the static places of death into the place where life can be recognized and celebrated’.
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Published in Sojourners 14, no. 8 (August-September 1985): 27-31.
A revised version of this article is found in, Nouwen, Henri: Lifesigns, Intimacy, Fecundity and Ecstasy in Christian Perspective, Image Books, Doubleday, N.Y., 1986.