Henri Jozef Machiel Nouwen, was a Dutch Catholic priest, professor, writer and theologian. His interests were rooted primarily in psychology, pastoral ministry, spirituality, social justice and community. After nearly two decades of teaching at academic institutions including the University of Notre Dame, Yale Divinity School and Harvard Divinity School, Nouwen went on to work with mentally and physically handicapped people at the L’Arche Daybreak community in Richmond Hill, Ontario.
Ministry Is The Least Important Thing. You Cannot Not Minister If You Are In Communion With God And Live In Community.
The Journey From Teaching About Love To Allowing Myself To Be Loved Proved Much Longer Than I Realised.
Did I Offer Peace Today? Did I Bring A Smile To Someone's Face? Did I Say Words Of Healing? Did I Let Go Of My Anger And Resentment? Did I Forgive? Did I Love? These Are The Real Questions. I Must Trust That The Little Bit Of Love That I Sow Now Will Bear Many Fruits, Here In This World And The Life To Come.
The Discipline Of Gratitude Is The Explicit Effort To Acknowledge That All I Am And Have Is Given To Me As A Gift Of Love, A Gift To Be Celebrated With Joy.
The Greatest Trap In Our Life Is Not Success, Popularity Or Power, But Self-rejection.
The Christian Leaders Of The Future Have To Be Theologians, Persons Who Know The Heart Of God And Are Trained - Through Prayer, Study, And Careful Analysis - To Manifest The Divine Event Of God's Saving Work In The Midst Of The Many Seemingly Random Events Of Their Time.
The Real Enemies Of Our Life Are The 'Oughts' And The 'Ifs.' They Pull Us Backward Into The Unalterable Past And Forward Into The Unpredictable Future. But Real Life Takes Place In The Here And Now.
Peacemaking Is A Full-time Vocation That Includes Each Member Of God's People.
For Jesus, There Are No Countries To Be Conquered, No Ideologies To Be Imposed, No People To Be Dominated. There Are Only Children, Women And Men To Be Loved.
If Fear Is The Great Enemy Of Intimacy, Love Is Its True Friend.
When We Honestly Ask Ourselves Which Person In Our Lives Means The Most To Us, We Often Find That It Is Those Who, Instead Of Giving Advice, Solutions, Or Cures, Have Chosen Rather To Share Our Pain And Touch Our Wounds With A Warm And Tender Hand.
Intimacy Is Not A Happy Medium. It Is A Way Of Being In Which The Tension Between Distance And Closeness Is Dissolved And A New Horizon Appears. Intimacy Is Beyond Fear.
Prayer Is The Most Concrete Way To Make Our Home In God.
People With Handicaps Teach Me That Being Is More Important Than Doing, The Heart Is More Important Than The Mind, And Caring Together Is Better Than Caring Alone.
To Give Someone A Blessing Is The Most Significant Affirmation We Can Offer.
Friendship Has Always Belonged To The Core Of My Spiritual Journey.
When We Have Nothing To Cling To As Our Own And Cease Thinking Of Ourselves As People Who Must Defend Privileges, We Can Open Ourselves Freely To Others With The Faithful Expectation That Our Strength Will Manifest Itself In Our Shared Weakness.
Ministers Are Powerless People Who Have Nothing To Boast Of Except Their Weaknesses. But When The Lord Whom They Serve Fills Them With His Blessing They Will Move Mountains And Change The Hearts Of People Wherever They Go.
God Is A God Of The Present. God Is Always In The Moment, Be That Moment Hard Or Easy, Joyful And Painful.
The Christian Leader Of The Future Is Called To Be Completely Irrelevant And To Stand In This World With Nothing To Offer But His Or Her Own Vulnerable Self. God Loves Us, Not Because Of What We Do Or Accomplish, But Because God Has Created And Redeemed Us In Love.
Just As People Can Watch Spellbound A Circus Artist Tumbling Through The Air In A Phosphorized Costume, So They Can Listen To A Preacher Who Uses The Word Of God To Draw Attention To Himself. But A Sensational Preacher Stimulates The Senses And Leaves The Spirit Untouched. Instead Of Being The Way To God, His 'Being Different' Gets In The Way.
A Life Without A Lonely Place, That Is, Without A Quiet Center, Becomes Destructive.
Our Inclination Is To Show Our Lord Only What We Feel Comfortable With. But The More We Dare To Reveal Our Whole Trembling Self To Him, The More We Will Be Able To Sense That His Love, Which Is Perfect Love, Casts Out All Our Fears.
Each Day Holds A Surprise. But Only If We Expect It Can We See, Hear, Or Feel It When It Comes To Us. Let's Not Be Afraid To Receive Each Day's Surprise, Whether It Comes To Us As Sorrow Or As Joy It Will Open A New Place In Our Hearts, A Place Where We Can Welcome New Friends And Celebrate More Fully Our Shared Humanity.
Our Glory Is Hidden In Our Pain, If We Allow God To Bring The Gift Of Himself In Our Experience Of It.
Solitude Is Very Different From A 'Time-out' From Our Busy Lives. Solitude Is The Very Ground From Which Community Grows. Whenever We Pray Alone, Study, Read, Write, Or Simply Spend Quiet Time Away From The Places Where We Interact With Each Other Directly, We Are Potentially Opened For A Deeper Intimacy With Each Other.
Perhaps Nothing Helps Us Make The Movement From Our Little Selves To A Larger World Than Remembering God In Gratitude. Such A Perspective Puts God In View In All Of Life, Not Just In The Moments We Set Aside For Worship Or Spiritual Disciplines. Not Just In The Moments When Life Seems Easy.
Jesus Didn't Say, 'Blessed Are Those Who Care For The Poor.' He Said, 'Blessed Are We Where We Are Poor, Where We Are Broken.' It Is There That God Loves Us Deeply And Pulls Us Into Deeper Communion With Himself.
One Of The Main Tasks Of Theology Is To Find Words That Do Not Divide But Unite, That Do Not Create Conflict But Unity, That Do Not Hurt But Heal.
Waiting Is A Period Of Learning. The Longer We Wait, The More We Hear About Him For Whom We Are Waiting.
Spiritual Identity Means We Are Not What We Do Or What People Say About Us. And We Are Not What We Have. We Are The Beloved Daughters And Sons Of God.
Our Efforts To Disconnect Ourselves From Our Own Suffering End Up Disconnecting Our Suffering From God's Suffering For Us. The Way Out Of Our Loss And Hurt Is In And Through.
The Evangelical Movement Has Become Just A Bit Victimized By A Success-oriented Culture, Wanting The Church - Like The Corporation - To Be Successful.
One Of The Most Beautiful Ways For Spiritual Formation To Take Place Is To Let Your Insecurity Lead You Closer To The Lord. Natural Hypersensitivity Can Become An Asset; It Makes You Aware Of Your Need To Be With People And It Allows You To Be More Willing To Look At Their Needs.
'How Much Longer Will I Live?'... Only One Thing Seems Clear To Me. Every Day Should Be Well-lived. What A Simple Truth! Still, It Is Worthy Of My Attention.
Fear Is The Great Enemy Of Intimacy. Fear Makes Us Run Away From Each Other Or Cling To Each Other But Does Not Create True Intimacy.
In Solitude We Become Aware That We Were Together Before We Came Together And That Life Is Not A Creation Of Our Will But Rather An Obedient Response To The Reality Of Our Being United.
Solitude Is The Place Where We Can Connect With Profound Bonds That Are Deeper Than The Emergency Bonds Of Fear And Anger.
Prayer Is The Beginning And The End, The Source And The Fruit, The Core And The Content, The Basis And The Goal Of All Peacemaking.
Much Violence Is Based On The Illusion That Life Is A Property To Be Defended And Not To Be Shared.
In Our Production-oriented Society, Being Busy, Having An Occupation, Has Become One Of The Main Ways, If Not The Main Way, Of Identifying Ourselves. Without An Occupation, Not Just Our Economic Security But Our Very Identity Is Endangered.
I Have An Increasing Sense That The Most Important Crisis Of Our Time Is Spiritual And That We Need Places Where People Can Grow Stronger In The Spirit And Be Able To Integrate The Emotional Struggles In Their Spiritual Journeys.
Asking People For Money Is Giving Them The Opportunity To Put Their Resources At The Disposal Of The Kingdom.
To Learn Patience Is Not To Rebel Against Every Hardship.
God Wants You To Live For Others And To Live That Presence Well.
The Resistance To Praying Is Like The Resistance Of Tightly Clenched Fists. This Image Shows A Tension, A Desire To Cling Tightly To Yourself, A Greediness Which Betrays Fear.
To Be A Christian Who Is Willing To Travel With Christ On His Downward Road Requires Being Willing To Detach Oneself Constantly From Any Need To Be Relevant, And To Trust Ever More Deeply The Word Of God.
Living In A Community With Very Wounded People, I Came To See That I Had Lived Most Of My Life As A Tightrope Artist Trying To Walk On A High, Thin Cable From One Tower To The Other, Always Waiting For The Applause When I Had Not Fallen Off And Broken My Leg.
I've Had A Tremendous Problem With Depression In My Life. I'd Rather Not Talk About It, Because It's Over. But Depression Is Real.
In Their Poverty, The Mentally Handicapped Reveal God To Us And Hold Us Close To The Gospel.