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

Death has the potential to deepen the bonds of love

The death of those whom we love and who love us opens up the possibility of a new, more radical communion, a new intimacy, a new belonging to each other. If love is stronger than death, then death has the potential to deepen and strengthen the bonds of love.

It is only when we have died that our spirits can completely reveal themselves. The spirit of love, once freed from our mortal bodies. will blow where it will, even when few will hear its coming and going.

~ from BECOMING THE BELOVED by Henry Nouwen

Freed enough from the addictions of the world that I can be true to my Work sent from above

For me, the question is whether my encounter with death has freed me enough from the addictions of the world that I can be true to my Work as I now see it "sent" from above. It clearly involves a call to prayer, contemplation, silence, solitude, and inner detachment. I have to keep choosing my "not belonging" in order to belong, my not being from below in order to be from above. For, the taste of God's unconditional love quickly disappears when the addictive powers of everyday existence make their presence felt again.

~ from BEYOND THE MIRROR by Henry T. Nouwen

When you are interiorly free you call others to freedom, whether you know it or no

When you are interiorly free you call others to freedom, whether you know it or not. Freedom attracts wherever it appears. A free man or a free woman creates a space where others feel safe and want to dwell. Our world is so full of conditions, demands, requirements, and obligations that we often wonder what is expected of us. But when we meet a truly free person there are no expectations, only an invitation to reach into ourselves and discover there our own freedom. Where true inner freedom is, there God is. And where God is, there we want to be.

~ Henri Nouwen, with thanks to James V. Dolson

Seeing joy where I expect only sadness

I have made a friend who is so deeply connected with God that he can see joy where I expect only sadness. He travels much and meets countless people. When he shares, he tells of the hidden joys he has found: someone who brought him hope and peace, little groups of people who are faithful to each other in the midst of turmoil, the small wonders of Gexhilerating od. At times I realize that I am disappointed because I want to hear "newspaper news," exciti9ng and stories. But he never responds to my need for sensationalism. He keeps saying: "I saw something very small and very beautiful, something that gave me much joy."

~ from RETURN OF THE PRODIGAL SON by Henri Houwen

Death is a friend who wants to welcome us home

Is it  possible to prepare for our death with the same attentiveness that our parents had in preparing for our birth?

Can we wait for our death as for a friend who wants to welcome us home?

~ from OUR GREATEST GIFT by Henri Nouwen

My life is rooted in the truth of my spiritual identity

Prayer is listening to the voice of the One who calls you the beloved. It is to constantly go back to the Truth of who we are and claim it for ourselves. I'm not what I do. I'm not what people say about me. I'm not what I have. My life is not rooted in the world, the things the world gives me. My life is rooted in the truth of my spiritual identity. Whatever we do — we have to go back regularly to that place of core identity.

~ by Henri Nouwen

Silence teaches us how to speak

Silence makes us pilgrims. It guards the fire within. It teaches us how to speak.

~ by Henri Nouwen
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