Skip to main content

Letter of Henri Nouwen







Love, Henri: Letters on the Spiritual Life by Henri J.M. Nouwen

The immensity of Henri Nouwen’s faith is only overshadowed by the joyful spirit of his care for others.  In this collection of Henri’s letters, written to friends, family, and many people seeking wise counsel, Henri gives his beautiful life as an example to help others in their struggles.  The wonderful truth is that in Henri’s lifetime he received 16,000 pieces of correspondence to which he replied to each and every one. 

The genuineness of these letters brings out Henri’s personality and his amazing ability to speak so honestly about himself in these letters.  After speaking at a conference, Henri writes to his friend Ed who asked him to come, “But don’t feel guilty about any of this.  I just tell you this as a friend.  It was a good fatigue, a good emptiness and a good exhaustion.  I did not feel angry or anything like that.  In fact I felt grateful to you, and all the kind people.  But I also realized that this should not happen too often and that I am responsible to indicate my own limits.” (18)  In another part of the letters, Henri addresses Jim who is facing the breakdown of his marriage, “In no way do I even think that there was something wrong or lacking from the beginning.  This makes it all the more incomprehensible, the more unreasonable.  There are few explanations that help you.  I keep having the deep sense that you are being tested very deeply.” (38)  Henri feels deeply here but also realizes the unreasonableness of offering certain explanations to his friend.

Henri’s faith was a pathway that few can follow, and yet he reminds us that encouraging people in their place is part of that path.  He writes to Chris about the AIDS epidemic that took many lives and friends of Henri.  He writes, “I know life is very hard for you during this plague of AIDS.  I lost a dear friend in San Francisco last month.  I was glad that we could see each other before his death and give him the Sacrament of the sick.” (113)  Henri could relate to many people in all walks of life because he befriended as many as confided in him.  His emphatic heart led him into the sufferings of others with uncanny wisdom and a deep sense of sharing in their weakness.

I know you will be moved by these letters as Henri explored all of life with those who wrote to him.


Thanks to Blogging for Books for the review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

My Favorite Color is Blue. Sometimes.: A Journey Through Loss with Art and Color

My Favorite Color is Blue. Sometimes by Roger Hutchison

Taking a look at the digital copy of this book allowed me to look at the striking art inside the book, and its connection to the words of the page that were focusing on loss.  Looking at the physical copy of the book even brings to life more the staggering similarity that the words and pain have together on the page.  The focus here is how certain colors express the sentiments of those who have lost a loved one.  I did not think that I would relate too well to this book until two days ago, as we lost our little boy, who was only 17 weeks old.  The pain is palpable and yet the pages of this book give me good reason to think of my son with a sense of pride and hope.

Roger writes, "You are a shooting star. Your light trails across the heavens.  I blinked and you were gone."  We were full of anticipation at the first and second ultrasounds, and there was the picture of our little boy Jackson, his developing face and little …

The Catholic Novelist in the Protestant South

Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose by Flannery O’Connor
A profound simplicity of thought, a penetrating vision of what it means to be human, Flannery O’Connor embodies the spirit of bringing fictional stories to life.  Others might call her fiction ‘grotesque’ in a rather unflattering manner, but O’Connor was not content to live up to their criticisms.  In this short book of collected essay and lectures, Mystery and Manners, editors and friends of Flannery, Robert and Sally Fitzgerald have given us a glimpse into the vision of her faith, style and life as a writer.   A lifelong Catholic, Flannery O’Connor sought to wed together the moral integrity of her faith with the character of her craft in writing.  Specifically, fiction for her was an exploration in imitation.
In a rather illuminating statement in the chapter entitled, “A Catholic Novelist in the Protestant South, “ O’Connor writes,
“I am specifically concerned with fiction because that is what I write.  There is a certain em…