Item 1560 - Openness can get stale

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Reference code

CA ON00389 F4-9-1-1560

Title

Openness can get stale

Date(s)

  • June 21, 1974 (Creation)

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1 p. of textual records

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(1932-1996)

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This item is a half-page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘Openness can get Stale’ published in the National Catholic Reporter, June 21, 1974, p. 13. Nouwen begins the article by stating, ‘There is a false form of honesty that suggests nothing should remain hidden and everything should be said, expressed and communicated’. The article suggests that a lack of boundaries in relationships and a lack of silence and solitude can lead to a violation of our ‘inner sanctuary’. Nouwen writes that for all the openness we offer to one another there is however, still a ‘desire for protective boundaries by which man and woman do not have to cling to each other but can move graciously in and out of each other’s circle’. He then asks how we can find the road to conversion, ‘the conversion from loneliness into solitude. Instead of running away from my loneliness and trying to forget or deny it, I have to carefully protect it and turn it into a fruitful solitude’. Nouwen ends the article with a reference to his own struggles with this issue and concludes by stating, ‘The few times however in which I followed the counsel of my severe masters and listen silently to my restless heart I started to sense that in the middle of my sadness there was joy, that in the middle of my fears there was peace, that in the middle of my greediness there was compassion and that indeed in the middle of my irking loneliness I could find the beginnings of a quiet solitude’

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Note

Published in National Catholic Reporter, 21 June 1974, p. 13.
Duplicate copy available in the file.
There is a head shot photo of Nouwen, taken by Ron van den Bosch. See P6433 on Page 11 of Album 3 for a full-size version of the photo.
This article is published in a revised form in Chapter 1, A Suffocating Loneliness in Nouwen, Henri, Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life, Image Books, Doubleday, New York, 1975

Alternative identifier(s)

Accession Number

2000 02

Location

Box 294

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