Item 1564 - Share human sorrow

Identity area

Reference code

CA ON00389 1-9-1-1564

Title

Share human sorrow

Date(s)

  • August 30, 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, ‘Share Human Sorrow’, published in The National Catholic Reporter, August 30, 1974, p. 11. Nouwen begins this article by stating ‘It is tragic to see how the religious sentiment of the West has become so individualized that concepts such as “a contrite heart” have come to refer only to personal experiences of guilt and the willingness to do penance for it’. Nouwen goes on to suggest that the great catastrophes of today do not become part of us and contrition for them becomes ‘no more than a pious emotion’. He asks why the hurtful and corrupt actions of people in our society that are everyday in the newspaper don’t ‘crush our hearts and make us bow our head in an endless sorrow?...Shouldn’t that bring us finally to a confession that we as a people have sinned and need forgiveness and healing?’. Nouwen then asks, ‘how can I live a healthy and creative life when I am constantly reminded of the fate of the millions who are poor, sick, hungry and persecuted?’ Nouwen admits he does not know the answer, but suggests that even though we may feel powerless to do anything we can accept that ‘although the events of the day are out of my hands, they should never be out of my heart. I hope that, instead of bitterness, my life will yield to the wisdom that only from the heart a humble response can come forth’.

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Note

Published in National Catholic Reporter, 30 August 1974, p. 11.
The words 'Aug 30' are written in ink, top right hand corner
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 headed, 'A contrite heart' in Chapter 3, p.54 in Nouwen, Henri, Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life, Image Books, Doubleday, N.Y., 1975 .

Alternative identifier(s)

Accession Number

2000 02

Location

Box 294

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