Birthday of Henri J. M. Nouwen | Naming the Days


Henri J.M. Nouwen, the prolific Christian non secular author, psychologist, and theologian was born on today in 1932 in Nijkerk, Holland. He was ordained as a Catholic priest in 1957. Nouwen taught at Notre Dame (1966 – 1968) earlier than changing into a professor at Yale Divinity College from 1971 – 1981. Throughout this era of his life, he spent seven months at a Trappist monastery the place he deepened his prayer life. In 1981, he went to Latin America to dwell for a yr with the poor; there he developed a spirituality of social involvement. Then he returned to the U. S. the place he taught theology at Harvard from 1983 to 1985. Nouwen discovered what he referred to as “true dwelling” because the pastor of Dawn, a L’Arche group in Toronto that gives a house for mentally and bodily handicapped folks.

Nouwen wrote, “The non secular life is a reaching out to our innermost self, to our fellow human beings and to our God.” For him, writing was a devotional self-discipline through which he conveyed his struggles and vulnerabilities as a “wounded healer.” Nouwen broke by means of denominational boundaries and located a various viewers together with Catholics, evangelical Protestants, Japanese Orthodox believers, Jews, and secularists. His curiosity in peace and social justice was an try and tear down the partitions between contemplation and motion, spirituality and politics. In his ministry as pastor of a group of individuals with developmental disabilities, Nouwen found what he referred to as a brand new journey in grace amongst people who had been damaged of their our bodies however had an entire lot of wholeness to share with others.

To Title this Day:


Here’s a transient sampler of quotations from his writings to ponder on his birthday, starting with one concerning the significance of celebrating such a day!

  • Birthdays
    “Celebrating a birthday reminds us of the goodness of life, and on this spirit we actually have to rejoice folks’s birthdays on daily basis, by exhibiting gratitude, kindness, forgiveness, gentleness, and affection. These are methods of claiming: ‘It is good that you’re alive; it is good that you’re strolling with me on earth. Let’s be glad and rejoice. That is the day that God has made for us to be and to be collectively.’ “
    — from Right here and Now: Residing within the Spirit
  • The Fragility and Fantastic thing about Life
    “The sweetness and preciousness of life is intimately linked with its fragility and mortality. We will expertise that on daily basis — after we take a flower in our fingers, after we see a butterfly dance within the air, after we caress somewhat child. Fragility and giftedness are each there, and our pleasure is related with each.”
    — from With Burning Hearts
  • Reverse Mission
    “The poor have a mission to the wealthy, the blacks have a mission to the whites, the handicapped have a mission to the ‘regular,’ the homosexual have a mission to the straight, the dying have a mission to the dwelling. These whom the world has made victims God has chosen to be bearers of fine information.”
    — from Right here and Now: Residing within the Spirit
  • Remembering Others
    “As we get older we’ve an increasing number of folks to recollect, individuals who have died earlier than us. It is rather vital to recollect those that have liked us and people we’ve liked. Remembering them means letting their spirits encourage us in our every day lives.”
    — from Bread for the Journey
  • Do not Choose Others
    “In a world that always asks us to make up our minds about different folks, a nonjudgmental presence appears almost unattainable. But it surely is likely one of the most stunning fruits of a deep non secular life and will probably be simply acknowledged by those that lengthy for reconciliation.”
    — from Bread for the Journey
  • Our Religious Dad and mom
    “Pleasure is hidden in sorrow and sorrow in pleasure. If we attempt to keep away from sorrow in any respect prices, we could by no means style pleasure, and if we’re suspicious of ecstasy, agony can by no means attain us both. Pleasure and sorrow are the dad and mom of our non secular development.”
    — from Bread for the Journey
  • The Neighborhood of Our Hearts
    “The communion of saints isn’t just a community of connections between folks. It’s in the beginning the group of our hearts.”
    — from Bread for the Journey
  • Think about a Circle of Love
    “Simply think about all of the folks on this planet holding fingers and forming one giant circle of affection. We are saying, ‘ I can not think about.’ However God says, ‘That is what I think about, an entire world not solely created but additionally dwelling in my picture.’ “
    — from Bread for the Journey
  • Being the Beloved
    “As a Christian, I’m firmly satisfied that the decisive second of Jesus’ public life was his baptism, when he heard the divine affirmation, ‘You might be my Beloved on whom my favor rests.’ On this core expertise, Jesus is reminded in a deep, deep method of who he actually is.
    There’s in every of us an inside voice of Love that claims: ‘You’re the Beloved of God!’ I need you to say your Belovedness. You do not have to get caught in searches that lead nowhere. Neither do you need to turn out to be the sufferer of a manipulative world or get trapped in any sort of habit. You possibly can select to achieve out now for true inside freedom and discover it ever extra totally. . . . From the second we declare the reality of being the Beloved, we’re confronted with the decision to turn out to be who we’re.”
    —from Religious Route
  • Our Companions on the Journey
    “Pricey God,
    As you draw me ever deeper into your coronary heart,
    I uncover that my companions on the journey
    are men and women
    liked by you as totally and as intimately as I’m.
    In your compassionate coronary heart,
    there’s a place for all of them.
    Nobody is excluded.
    Give me a share in your compassion, pricey God
    in order that your limitless love could turn out to be seen
    in the best way I really like my brothers and sisters.
    — from With Open Fingers


To learn extra inspiring ideas from Henri Nouwen, and to follow them in your every day life, join our 40-part e-course, obtainable on-demand so that you select your individual begin date and frequency, on Training Spirituality with Henri J.M. Nouwen.


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