Item 1600 - 'What do you know by heart?': learning spirituality

Identity area

Reference code

CA ON00389 1-9-1-1600

Title

'What do you know by heart?': learning spirituality

Date(s)

  • August 1977 (Creation)

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Item

Extent and medium

3 p. of textual records

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(1932-1996)

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Scope and content

This item is a 3 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, “‘What do you know by heart?’: Learning Spirituality”, published in Sojourners, August , 1977, pp. 14 – 16. Nouwen begins this article outlining his theme by using a story which he says ‘expresses in a simple but powerful way the importance of spiritual formation in theological education’. Nouwen then goes on to speak of the inadequacy in theological studies of ‘head’ knowledge. What is also needed he says is ‘heart’ knowledge; spiritual formation. Nouwen suggests three themes which he says are important in the context of theological education: Lectio Divina, silence and guidance. By Lectio he means the prayerful, meditative reading of scripture. By silence he suggests the ground for the word to bear fruit. He says, ‘In silence the word of scripture can be received and meditated on.’ Nouwen talks of guidance as the need for someone competent to help the student through the pitfalls of spiritual formation. Nouwen then goes on to stress in addition that ‘Christian spirituality is in essence communal’. ‘All of this suggests strongly that spiritual formation in theological education includes ongoing formation in community life’. Nouwen sees the need then for emphasis on the communal in classroom, worship, and responsibility for one another. He says, ‘So spiritual life is always communal. It flows from community and it creates community’. Nouwen concludes the article by stressing the role of the Holy Spirit in all spiritual life and ends with the following conclusion:’ Spiritual formation gives us a free heart able to see the face of God in the midst of a hardened world and allows us to use our skills to make that face visible to all who live in darkness’.

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Existence and location of originals

Original published article is found in Archives bound volume: Sojourners, vol. 6, 1977.

Existence and location of copies

There is a photocopy in the file along with the complete volume of Sojourners.
Preservation photocopy available in Articles by Nouwen Access Copy Box 1.

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Publication note

Published in Sojourners 6, no. 8 (August 1977): 14-16.

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Alternative identifier(s)

Accession Number

2000 01

Location

Box 294

Previous Item Number

21-89

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