Henri J.M. Nouwen

God's forgiveness is unconditional

God's forgiveness is unconditional; it comes from a heart that does not demand anything for itself, a heart that is completely empty of self-seeking. It is this divine forgiveness that I have to practice in my daily life. It tells me to keep stepping over all my arguments that say forgiveness is unwise, unhealthy, and impractical. It challenges me to step over all my needs for gratitude and compliments. Finally, it demands of me that I step over that wounded part of my heart that feels hurt and wronged and that wants to stay in control and put a few conditions between me and the one I am asked to forgive. This "stepping over" is the authentic discipline of forgiveness.

~ from RETURN OF THE PRODIGAL SON by Henri J. M. Nouwen

The joy that compassion brings

The joy that compassion brings is one of the best-kept secrets of humanity . . . a secret known to only a very few people, a secret to be rediscovered over and over again.

~ Henri J.M. Nouwen
Here and Now: Living in the Spirit
By Henri J. M. Nouwen

What the divine love of God teaches us

The divine love of God teaches us that fruitfulness is more important than success, that love of God is more important than the praise of people, that community is more important than individualism, and compassion is more important than competition.

~ Henri J.M. Nouwen

How can I search for beauty

How can I search for beauty and truth unless that beauty and truth are already known to me in the depth of my heart? It seems that all us human beings have deep inner memories of the paradise that we have lost. We were innocent before we started feeling guilty; we were in the light before we entered into the darkness; we were at home before we started to search for a home. Deep in the recesses of our minds and hearts there lies hidden the treasure we seek. We know its preciousness and we know that it holds the gift we most desire: a life stronger than death.

~ from LIFE OF THE BELOVED by Henri J.M. Nouwen

God has given you a beautiful self

God has given you a beautiful self. There God dwells and loves you with the first love, which precedes all human love. You carry your own beautiful, deeply loved self in your heart. You can hold on to the truth of the love you were given and recognize that same love in others who see your goodness and love you... The task is not to die to life-giving relationships, but to realize that the love you receive in them is part of a greater love.

~ from THE INNER VOICE OF LOVE by Henri J.M. Nouwen

Gratitude begets gratitude

GRATITUDE is the most fruitful way of deepening your consciousness that you are not an "accident", but a divine choice. It is important to realize how often we have had chances to be grateful and have not used them. When someone is kind to us, when an event turns out well, when a problem is solved, a relationship restored, a wound healed, these are very concrete reasons to offer thanks... When we keep claiming the light, we will find ourselves becoming more and more radiant. What fascinates me so much is that every time we decide to be grateful, it will be easier to see new things to be grateful for. Gratitude begets gratitude, just as love begets love.

~ from BECOMING THE BELOVED by Henri J.M. Nouwen

Being silent with friends

THE ROAD TO DAYBREAK, the latest sharing of Henri J.M. Nouwen's spiritual journey, is a gift of his struggles and self-doubts as he entered into a new vocation in the L'Arche community. From his entry on Being Silent With Friends:

~ from THE ROAD TO DAYBREAK by Henri J.M. Nouwen
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