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Henri J.M. Nouwen


Return of the Prodigal Son

The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming is a spiritual adventure story. A chance encounter with a poster depicting a detail of Rembrandt's The Return of the Prodigal Son set in motion a chain of events that enabled Nouwen to redefine and claim his vocation late in his life. In this book, which interweaves elements of art history, memoir, Midrash, and self-help, Nouwen brings the parable to life with empathic analyses of each character. Nouwen's absorption in the story (and the painting) is so complete that the father's challenge to love the son, and the son's challenge to receive that love, become Nouwen's own. And Nouwen's writing is so clear and his tone is so appealingly frank and humble that readers--no matter how far from home--will find hope for themselves in the prodigal peace Nouwen ultimately achieves.




The Inner Voice of Love

Wow. Let me say it again: WOW! This book will change you. It does not matter who you are or what your story is...if you are a human being...this book will change you. Stop reading this review for a moment. Go buy the book. Come back and I will tell you more:


OK then. Now that you have purchased a copy (if you haven't I'm serious-go do it) lets talk about the book you will soon posses---or should I say will soon posses you. This book is amazing. It is the chronicle, told with heartbreaking honesty, of one man's ascent from darkness to light; from death to life...from nothingness to the arms of God.


This is not a story however. There is no narrative. It is a collection of spiritual imperatives that Henri Nouwen wrote to himself during the worst spiritual, emotional, and psychological crisis of his life. Each one drips with meaning.


Each imperative is soaked in the power and grace that can only come from passing through the fire of human suffering. This stuff is what was left at the end of each day Henri spent in the refining fires of his struggles. There is no dross here.

God has clearly spoken here in and through this man. Get this book and listen to what He has to say.




Life of the Beloved : Spiritual Living in a Secular World

What is our place in the world in God's eyes? How can we blend service and spiritual worship with the harshness of the everyday world? How can we, imperfect and each broken in our own way, feel beloved by the Almighty? Nouwen ponders these topics in an open letter to a troubled friend. Methodically, the former instructor at both Harvard and Yale walks us through analogies and insights that bring us to a place of feeling beloved. His comments on his final years serving as pastor to the mentally disabled of L'Arche Daybreak community in Toronto serve as counterpoint to his theories.




The Wounded Healer / Ministry of Spirituality (3 in 1 set)

The Wounded Healer is a hope-filled and profoundly simple book that speaks directly to those men and women who want to be of service in their church or community, but have found the traditional ways often threatening and ineffective. In this book, Henri Nouwen combines creative case studies of ministry with stories from diverse cultures and religious traditions in preparing a new model for ministry. Weaving keen cultural analysis with his psychological and religious insights, Nouwen has come up with a balanced and creative theology of service that begins with the realization of fundamental wounded ness in human nature. Emphasizing that which is in humanity common to both minister and believer, this wounded ness can serve as a source of strength and healing when counseling others. Nouwen proceeds to develop his approach to ministry with an analysis of sufferings -- a suffering world, a suffering generation, a suffering person, and a suffering minister. It is his contention that ministers are called to recognize the sufferings of their time in their own hearts and make that recognition the starting point of their service. For Nouwen, ministers must be willing to go beyond their professional role and leave themselves open as fellow human beings with the same wounds and suffering -- in the image of Christ. In other words, we heal from our own wounds. Filled with examples from everyday experience, The Wounded Healer is a thoughtful and insightful guide that will be welcomed by anyone engaged in the service of others.




Bread for the Journey

Bread for the Journey: A Daybook of Wisdom and Faith is a devotional containing meditations for every day of the year. Henry Nouwen begins the book by honing in on everyday experiences and objects. His reflection on the spiritual significance of mealtime, for instance, renders breakfast a revelatory hour:

The table is one of the most intimate places in our lives. It is there that we give ourselves to one another. When we say, "Take some more, let me serve you another plate, let me pour you another glass...," we say a lot more than our words express. We invite our friends to become part of our lives. We want them to be nurtured by the same food and drink that nurture us. We desire communion.

As the year progresses, Nouwen's focus shifts to the person of Jesus, the nature of the Church, and, finally, to the eternal life that is facilitated, in part, by books of wisdom like this one.




The Way of the Heart

The modern classic that interweaves the solitude, silence, and prayer of the fourth- and fifth-century Egyptian Desert Fathers and Mothers with our contemporary search for an authentic spirituality.








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