Henri Nouwen

All is grace

Gratitude as a discipline involves a conscious choice. I can choose to be grateful even when my emotions and feelings are still steeped in hurt and resentment. Yet, the choice for gratitude rarely comes without some real effort. But each time I make it, the next choice is a little easier, a little freer, a little less self-conscious. Because every gift I acknowledge reveals another and another until, finally, even the most normal, obvious, and seemingly mundane event or encounter proves to be filled with grace. There is an Estonian proverb that says:

"Who does not thank for little
Will not thank for much."

Acts of gratitude make one grateful because, step by step, they reveal that all is grace.

~ from RETURN OF THE PRODIGAL SON by Henri Nouwen

Members of the same human family

Only when we have the courage to cross the road and look in one another's eyes can we see there that we are children of the same God and members of the same human family.

~ from BREAD FOR THE JOURNEY by Henri J.M. Nouwen

Gratitude erases bitterness and transforms our past

Our cup of sorrow and joy, when lifted for others to see and celebrate, becomes a cup to life . . . Mostly, we are willing to look back at our lives and say: "I am grateful for the good things that brought me to this place.” But when we lift our cup to life, we must dare to say: "I am grateful for all that has happened to me and led me to this moment. This gratitude which embraces all or our past is what makes our life a true gift for others, because this gratitude erases bitterness, resentments, regret, and revenge as well as all jealousies and rivalries. It transforms our past into a fruitful gift for the future, and makes our life, all of it, into a life that gives life.

~ from CAN YOU DRINK THE CUP by Henri J.M. Nouwen
Can You Drink the Cup?
By Henri J. M. Nouwen

Doing what we are called to do

It is not easy to distinguish between doing what we are called to do and doing what we want to do.  Our many wants can easily distract us from our true action.  True action leads us to the fulfillment of our vocation. . . . Actions that lead to overwork, exhaustion, and burnout can't praise and glory God.  What God calls us to do we can do and do well.  When we listen in silence to God's voice and speak with our friends in trust we will know what we are called to do.  We will do it with a grateful heart.

~ from CAN YOU DRINK THE CUP by Henri J.M. Nouwen
Can You Drink the Cup?
By Henri J. M. Nouwen

Prayer leads you to see new paths

Prayer leads you to see new paths and to hear new melodies in the air. Prayer is the breath of your life which gives you freedom to . . . find the many signs which point out the way to a new land. Praying is not simply some necessary compartment in the daily schedule of a Christian or a source of support in time of need, nor is it restricted to Sunday morning or as a frame to surround mealtimes. Praying is living.

~ from With Open Hands by Henri J.M. Nouwen
With Open Hands
By Henri J. M. Nouwen

Living signs of love

In a world so torn apart by rivalry, anger, and hatred, we have the privileged vocation to be living signs of a love that can bridge all divisions and heal all wounds.

~ by Henri Nouwen

A peacemaker prays

A peacemaker prays. Prayer is the beginning and the end, the source and the fruit, the core and the content, the basis and the goal for all peacemaking. I say this without apology, because it allows me to go straight to the heart of the matter, which is that peace is a divine gift, a gift we receive in prayer.

~ Henry Nouwen

The light that comes from an inner fire that never dies

As Rembrandt's life moves toward the shadows of old age, as his success wanes, and the exterior splendor of his life diminishes, he comes more in touch with the immense beauty of the interior life. There he discovers the light that comes from an inner fire that never dies; the fire of love. His art no longer tries to "grasp, conquer, and regulate the visible," but to "transform the visible in the fire of love that comes from his own unique heart."

~ from RETURN OF THE PRODIGAL SON by Henri Nouwen
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