Friday, February 6, 2009

Henri Nouwen Excerpt

This exerpt from Henri Nouwen's The Way of the Heart really spoke to me, so I wanted to share it with our community:

“We enter into solitude first of all to meet our Lord and to be with him and him alone….Only in the context of grace can we face our sin; only in the place of healing do we dare to show our wounds; only with a single-minded attention to Christ can we give up our clinging fears and face our own true nature….[W]e come to realize that it is not we who live, but Christ who lives in us, that he is our true self….Precisely because our secular [and religious] milieu offers us so few spiritual disciplines, we have to develop our own. We have, indeed, to fashion our own desert where we can withdraw every day, shake off our compulsions, and dwell in the gentle healing presence of our Lord. Without such a desert we will lose our own soul while preaching the gospel to others….[We] need to…set apart a time and a place to be with God and him alone….[L]ike all great disciples of Jesus, Mother Teresa affirmed…the truth that ministry can be fruitful only if it grows out of a direct and intimate encounter with our Lord” (20-21).

My prayer for all of us is for a direct and intimate encounter with our Lord!


Anonymous said...

When I read the part about fashioning our own desert, I was reminded of a part in James Cowen's book "Desert Father." As a man who tracks down St. Anthony's hermitage in the Egyptian desert, he finds a man who lives there as a monk. When this man showed James around, he pointed out an area which was filled with icons, and was set aside for prayer. The monk, known as Lazarus, said that the desert winds could get so violent as to blow a person out of the lofty perch of the cave--and only the prayer alcove was a safe place against the winds. If you have not read the book, I highly recommend it.

Paul Corrigan said...

Rickey, thanks for this excerpt from Nouwen. _The Way of the Heart_ has a special place in my heart because it is one of the texts on spirituality that Christine and I share. She read it for a course she took in college and the copy we own was in fact hers. With the excerpt that you've given, I like how it discusses both the main purpose of contemplative practice ("We enter into solitude first of all to meet our Lord and to be with him and him alone") as well as some of the practical psychological aspects (face our sins and so forth).

John Orzechowski said...

Thanks for sharing this beautiful selection from Nouwen. I like this idea of "fashion[ing] our own desert where we can withdraw every day." For Christmas, Erica bought me a set of meditation pillows for centering. It's been extremely meaningful for me to have them as a sacred physical space for
prayer--a parallel to the spiritual place we enter in God's presence that Nouwen describes here.

living stones said...

Rickey, I am grateful to be drawn into the "healing presence of our Lord." Thank you for sharing this reading, and thank you for sharing in the process. Love, Anna

Susan Price said...

God has used Henri Nouwen's gentle spirit, and spiritual insights in other books to initiate healing in a number of areas in my life. This excerpt from The Way of the Heart resonated in my own heart. Thank you for sharing it, Rickey.

Daniel said...

This book carries special significance in my life also. Thank you for drawing me to this passage again.

Mark Wills said...

Very nice, especially for me in my own context..."we lose our own soul while preaching the gospel to others." I've misplaced mine a time or two! Thanks for this centering thought!

Kate said...

Dr. Cotton,

It's Kaitlyn Rockrohr, and I finally looked up this blog. Thanks for this post; it really spoke to me.
I miss you all very much!

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