Henri J.M. Nouwen Quotes

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1. “Over the years, I have come to realize that the greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity, or power, but self-rejection. Success, popularity, and power can indeed present a great temptation, but their seductive quality often comes from the way they are part of the much larger temptation to self-rejection. When we have come to believe in the voices that call us worthless and unlovable, then success, popularity, and power are easily perceived as attractive solutions. The real trap, however, is self-rejection. As soon as someone accuses me or criticizes me, as soon as I am rejected, left alone, or abandoned, I find myself thinking, "Well, that proves once again that I am a nobody." ... [My dark side says,] I am no good... I deserve to be pushed aside, forgotten, rejected, and abandoned. Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the "Beloved." Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence.”

Tags : Beloved Christianity Faith Feelings Identity Rejection Self Spiritual Life Spiritual Warfare Success Temptation Truth

2. “A waiting person is a patient person. The word patience means the willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us.”

Tags : Patience

3. “When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.”

Tags : Empathy Friends Friendship Inspirational
Source : Out of Solitude: Three Meditations on the Christian Life

4. “This cry for mercy is possible only when we are willing to confess that somehow, somewhere, we ourselves have something to do with our losses. Crying for mercy is a recognition that blaming God, the world, or others for our losses does not do full justice to the truth of who we are. At the moment we are willing to take responsibility, even for the pain we didn't cause directly, blaming is connected into an acknowledgement of our own role in human brokenness. The prayer for God's mercy comes from a heart that knows that this human brokenness is not a fatal condition of which we have become the sad victims, but the bitter fruit of the human choice to say "No" to love.”

Tags : Brokenness Loss Mercy
Source : With Burning Hearts: A Meditation on the Eucharistic Life

5. “Often we come home from a sharing session with a feeling that something precious has been taken away from us or that holy ground has been trodden upon.”

Tags : Introverts Sharing Small Groups

6. “As long as we continue to live as if we are what we do, what we have, and what other people think about us, we will remain filled with judgments, opinions, evaluations, and condemnations. We will remain addicted to putting people and things in their "right" place.”

Tags : Hereandnow Judging Matthew7 1

7. “The spiritual life does not remove us from the world but leads us deeper into it”

Tags : Life Spirituality

8. “We become neighbors when we are willing to cross the road for one another. (...) There is a lot of road crossing to do. We are all very busy in our own circles. We have our own people to go to and our own affairs to take care of. But if we could cross the road once in a while and pay attention to what is happening on the other side, we might indeed become neighbors.”

Tags : Attention Busy Compassion Love Love Your Neighbor Neighbors
Source : Bread for the Journey: A Daybook of Wisdom and Faith

9. “The thought that human beings are considering saving lives by killing millions of their fellow human beings is so preposterous that the words 'saving life' have lost all of their meaning. One of the most tragic facts of our century is that this 'No' to nuclear weapons has been spoken so seldom, so softly, and by so few.”

Tags : Nuclear Weapons Peacemaking

10. “Every time we make the decision to love someone, we open ourselves to great suffering, because those we most love cause us not only great joy but also great pain. The greatest pain comes from leaving. When the child leaves home, when the husband or wife leaves for a long period of time or for good, when the beloved friend departs to another country or dies … the pain of the leaving can tear us apart.Still, if we want to avoid the suffering of leaving, we will never experience the joy of loving. And love is stronger than fear, life stronger than death, hope stronger than despair. We have to trust that the risk of loving is always worth taking.”

Tags : Leaving Love Pain

11. “Christians should put survival of the planet ahead of national security...Here is the mystery of our global responsibility: that we are in communion with Christ- and we are in communion with all people...The fact that the people of Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, Russia, Afghanistan, and Ethiopia are our brothers and sisters is not obvious. People kill each other by the thousands and do not see themselves as brothers and sisters. If we want to be real peace-makers, national security cannot be our primary concern. Our primary concern should be survival of humanity, the survival of the planet, and the health of all people. Whether we are Russians, Iraqis, Ethiopians, or North Americans, we belong to the same human family that God loves. And we have to start taking some risks- not just individually, but risks of a more global quality, risks to let other people develop their own independence, risks to share our wealth with others and invite refugees to our country, risks to offer sanctuary- because we are people of God”

Tags : Christians Communion Global Responsibility Humanity National Security

12. “Lifting our cup means sharing our life so we can celebrate it. When we truly believe we are called to lay down our lives for our friends, we must dare to take the risk to let others know what we are living.”

Tags : Catholic Catholic Author Inspirational

13. “Hospitality means primarily the creation of free space where the stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy. Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place. It is not to bring men and women over to our side, but to offer freedom not disturbed by dividing lines.”

Tags : Acceptance Change Freedom Friend Holy Hospitality Other Space Stranger
Source : Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life

14. “To be chosen as the Beloved of God is something radically different. Instead of excluding others, it includes others. Instead of rejecting others as less valuable, it accepts others in their own uniqueness. It is not a competitive, but a compassionate choice. Our minds have great difficulty in coming to grips with such a reality. Maybe our minds will never understand it. Perhaps it is only our hearts that can accomplish this. Every time we hear about 'chosen people', 'chosen talents', or 'chosen friends', we almost automatically start thinking about elites and find ourselves not far from feelings of jealousy, anger, or resentment. Not seldom has the perception of others as being chosen led to aggression, violence, and war.”

Tags : Children Of God God S Love
Source : Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World

15. “The Christian leader of the future is called to be completely irrelevant and to stand in this world with nothing to offer but his or her own vulnerable self. That is the way Jesus came to reveal God's love. The great message that we have to carry, as ministers of God's Word and followers of Jesus, is that God loves us not because of what we do or accomplish, but because God has created and redeemed us in love and has chosen us to proclaim that love as the true source of all human life.”

Tags : Christian Leadership Christianity Clergy God S Love Jesus Ministry Pastoral Ministry
Source : In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership

16. “When spirituality becomes spiritualization, life in the body becomes carnality. When ministers and priests live their ministry mostly in their heads and relate to the Gospel as a set of valuable ideas to be announced, the body quickly takes revenge by screaming loudly for affection and intimacy. Christian leaders are called to live the Incarnation, that is, to live in the body, not only in their own bodies but also in the corporate body of the community, and to discover there the presence of the Holy Spirit.”

Tags : Clergy Holy Spirit Incarnation Practicing Faith
Source : In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership

17. “The world is evil only when you become its slave.”

Tags : Evil Sin
Source : Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World

18. “when the imitation of Christ does not mean to live a life like Christ, but to live your life as authentically as Christ lived his, then there are many ways and forms in which a man can be a Christian.”

Tags : Imitation
Source : The Wounded Healer: Ministry in Contemporary Society

19. “Forgiveness is the name of love practiced among people who love poorly. The hard truth is that all people love poorly. We need to forgive and be forgiven every day, every hour increasingly. That is the great work of love among the fellowship of the weak that is the human family.”

Tags : Forgiveness Love

20. “Solitude is very different from a ’time-out’ from our busy lives. Solitude is the very ground from which community grows. Whenever we pray alone, study, read, write, or simply spend quiet time away from the places where we interact with each other directly, we are potentially opened for a deeper intimacy with each other.”

Tags : Alone Community Each Other Interact Intimacy Lives Pray Quiet Read Solitude Study Write

21. “The word of the Eucharist makes us part of the great story of our salvation. Our little stories are lifted up into God's great story and there given their unique place. The word lifts us up and makes us see that our daily, ordinary lives are, in fact, sacred lives that play a necessary role in the fulfillment of God's promises.”

Tags : Ordinary Lives Word Of God
Source : With Burning Hearts: A Meditation on the Eucharistic Life

22. “Are we condemned to be passive victims of our moods? Must we simply say: 'I feel great today' or 'I feel awful today', and require others to live with our moods?Although it is very hard to control our moods, we can gradually overcome them by living a well-disciplined spiritual life. This can prevent us from acting out of our moods. We might not 'feel' like getting up in the morning because we 'feel' that life is not worth living, that nobody loves us, and that our work is boring. But if we get up anyhow, to spend some time reading the Gospels, praying the Psalms, and thanking God for a new day, our moods may lose their power on us.”

Tags : Attitude In Life Spiritual Life

23. “Intimacy between people requires closeness as well as distance. It is like dancing. Sometimes we are very close, touching each other or holding each other; sometimes we move away from each other and let the space between us become an area where we can freely move.To keep the right balance between closeness and distance requires hard work, especially since the needs of the partners may be quite different at a given moment. One might desire closeness while the other wants distance. One might want to be held while the other looks for independence. A perfect balance seldom occurs, but the honest and open search for that balance can give birth to a beautiful dance, worthy to behold.”

Tags : Closeness Intimacy Relationships Solitude Vulnerability
Source : Bread for the Journey: A Daybook of Wisdom and Faith

24. “Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.”

Tags : Joy

25. “From the heart arise unknowable impulses as well as conscious feelings, moods, and wishes. The heart, too, has its reasons and is the center of perception and understanding. Finally, the heart is the seat of the will: it makes plans and comes to good decisions. Thus the heart is the central and unifying organ of our personal life. Our heart determines our personality, and is therefore not only the place where God dwells but also the place to which Satan directs his fiercest attacks. It is this heart that is the place of prayer. The prayer of the heart is a prayer that directs itself to God from the center of the person and thus affects the whole of our humanness.”

Tags : Personality Satan The Heart
Source : The Way of the Heart: The Spirituality of the Desert Fathers and Mothers

26. “Suffering invites us to place our hurts in larger hands. In Christ we see God suffering – for us. And calling us to share in God’s suffering love for a hurting world. The small and even overpowering pains of our lives are intimately connected with the greater pains of Christ. Our daily sorrows are anchored in a greater sorrow and therefore a larger hope.”

Tags : Cross Crucifix Death Grief Jesus Loss Suffering Turn My Mourning Into Dancing

27. “Christian life is not a life divided between times for action and times for contemplation. No. Real social action is a way of contemplation, and real contemplation is the core of social action.”

Tags : Christian Ministry

28. “When God makes a covenant with us, God says: 'I will love you with an everlasting love. I will be faithful to you, even when you run away from me, reject me, or betray me.' In our society we don’t speak much about covenants; we speak about contracts. When we make a contract with a person, we say: 'I will fulfill my part as long as you fulfill yours. When you don’t live up to your promises, I no longer have to live up to mine.' Contracts are often broken because the partners are unwilling or unable to be faithful to their terms.But God didn’t make a contract with us; God made a covenant with us, and God wants our relationships with one another to reflect that covenant. That’s why marriage, friendship, life in community are all ways to give visibility to God’s faithfulness in our lives together.”

Tags : Christianity Contracts Covenant God God S Faithfulness Relationships
Source : Bread for the Journey: A Daybook of Wisdom and Faith

29. “Since my visit to the Hermitage, I had become more aware of the four figures, two women and two men, who stood around the luminous space where the father welcomed his returning son. Their way of looking leaves you wondering how they think or feel about what they are watching. These bystanders, or observers, allow for all sorts of interpretations. As I reflect on my own journey, I become more and more aware of how long I have played the role of observer. For years I had instructed students on the different aspects of the spiritual life, trying to help them see the importance of living it. But had I, myself, really ever dared to step into the center, kneel down, and let myself be held by a forgiving God? The simple fact of being able to express an opinion, to set up an argument, to defend a position, and to clarify a vision has given me, and gives me still, a sense of control. And, generally, I feel much safer in experiencing a sense of control over an undefinable situation than in taking the risk of letting that situation control me. Certainly there were many hours of prayer, many days and months of retreat, and countless conversations with spiritual directors, but I had never fully given up the role of bystander. Even though there has been in me a lifelong desire to be an insider looking out, I nevertheless kept choosing over and over again the position of the outsider looking in. Sometimes this looking-in was a curious looking-in, sometimes a jealous looking-in, sometimes an anxious looking-in, and, once in a while, even a loving looking-in. But giving up the somewhat safe position of the critical observer seemed like a great leap into totally unknown territory. I so much wanted to keep some control over my spiritual journey, to be able to predict at least a part of the outcome, that relinquishing the security of the observer for the vulnerability of the returning son seemed close to impossible. Teaching students, passing on the many explanations given over the centuries to the words and actions of Jesus, and showing them the many spiritual journeys that people have chosen in the past seemed very much like taking the position of one of the four figures surrounding the divine embrace. The two women standing behind the father at different distances the seated man staring into space and looking at no one in particular, and the tall man standing erect and looking critically at the event on the platform in front of him--they all represent different ways of not getting involved. There is indifference, curiosity, daydreaming, and attentive observation; there is staring, gazing, watching, and looking; there is standing in the background, leaning against an arch, sitting with arms crossed, and standing with hands gripping each other. Every one of these inner and outward postures are all too familiar with me. Some are more comfortable than others, but all of them are ways of not getting directly involved," (pp. 12-13).”

Tags : Control Observer Outsider Prodigal Son Rembrandt
Source : The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming

30. “In the face of the oppressed I recognize my own face, and in the hands of the oppressor I recognize my own hands. Their flesh is my flesh, their blood is my blood, their pain is my pain, their smile is my smile.”

Tags : Oppressed Oppressor

31. “I kept running around it in large or small circles, always looking for someone or something able to convince me of my Belovedness.Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the "Beloved". Being the Beloved expresses the core truth of our existence.”

Tags : Existence Self Rejection
Source : Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World

32. “But still – that is our vocation: to convert the hostis into a hospes, the enemy into a guest and to create the free and fearless space where brotherhood and sisterhood can be formed and fully experienced.”

Tags : Enemy Guest Henri Nouwen Hospitality Reaching Out Welcome

33. “Secularity is a way of being dependent on the responses of our milieu. The secular or false self is the self which is fabricated, as Thomas Merton says, by social compulsions. 'Compulsive' is indeed the best adjective for the false self. It points to the need for ongoing and increasing affirmation. Who am I? I am the one who is liked, praised, admired, disliked, hated or despised. Whether I am a pianist, a businessman or a minister, what matters is how I am perceived by my world. If being busy is a good thing, then I must be busy. If having money is a sign of real freedom, then I must claim my money. If knowing many people proves my importance, I will have to make the necessary contacts. The compulsion manifests itself in the lurking fear of failure and the steady urge to prevent this by gathering more of the same - more work, more money, more friends.”

Tags : False Self Perception Self Esteem Self Perception Worldliness
Source : The Way of the Heart: The Spirituality of the Desert Fathers and Mothers

34. “It is tragic to see how the religious sentiment of the West has become so individualized that concepts such as "a contrite heart," have come to refer only to the personal experiences of guilt and willingness to do penance for it. The awareness of our impurity in thoughts, words and deeds can indeed put us in a remorseful mood and create in us the hope for a forgiving gesture. But if the catastrophical events of our days, the wars, mass murders, unbridled violence, crowded prisons, torture chambers, the hunger and the illness of millions of people and he unnamable misery of a major part of the human race is safely kept outside the solitude of our hearts, our contrition remains no more than a pious emotion. ”

Tags : Contrite Heart Pious
Source : Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life

35. “The way of the Christian leader is not the way of upward mobility in which our world has invested so much, but the way of downward mobility ending on the cross.”

Tags : Christian Leadership The Cross
Source : In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership

36. “Although claiming my true identity as a child of God, I still live as though the God to whom I am returning demands an explanation. I still think about his love as conditional and about home as a place I am not yet fully sure of. While walking home, I keep entertaining doubts about whether I will be truly welcome when I get there. As I look at my spiritual journey, my long and fatiguing trip home, I see how full it is of guilt about the past and worries about the future. I realize my failures and know that I have lost the dignity of my sonship, but I am not yet able to fully believe that where my failings are great, 'grace is always greater.' Still clinging to my sense of worthlessness, I project for myself a place far below that which belongs to the son, (p. 52).”

Tags : Child Of God Dignity Doubts Failure Failures God Grace Guilt Home Identity Love Son Sonship Worries Worry Worthlessness
Source : The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming

37. “First, silence makes us pilgrims. Secondly, silence guards the fire within. Thirdly, silence teaches us to speak.”

Tags : Growth Silence

38. “Being with a friend in great pain is not easy. It makes us uncomfortable. We do not know what to do or what to say, and we worry about how to respond to what we hear. Our temptation is to say things that come more out of our own fear than out of our care for the person in pain. Sometimes we say things like 'Well, you’re doing a lot better than yesterday,' or 'You will soon be your old self again,' or 'I’m sure you will get over this.' But often we know that what we’re saying is not true, and our friends know it too.We do not have to play games with each other. We can simply say: 'I am your friend, I am happy to be with you.' We can say that in words or with touch or with loving silence. Sometimes it is good to say: 'You don’t have to talk. Just close your eyes. I am here with you, thinking of you, praying for you, loving you.”

Tags : Companionship Friendship Presence
Source : Bread for the Journey: A Daybook of Wisdom and Faith

39. “Often we want to be somewhere other than where we are, to even to be someone other than who we are. We tend to compare ourselves constantly with others and wonder why we are not as rich, as intelligent, as simple, as generous, or as saintly as they are. Such comparisons make us feel guilty, ashamed, or jealous. It is very important to realize that our vocation is hidden in where we are and who we are. We are unique human beings, each with a call to realize in life what nobody else can, and to realize it in the concrete context of the here and now.We will never find our vocations by trying to figure out whether we are better or worse than others. We are good enough to do what we are called to do. Be yourself!”

Tags : Be Yourself Comparison Uniqueness Vocation
Source : Bread for the Journey: A Daybook of Wisdom and Faith

40. “Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place. It is not to bring men and women over to our side, but to offer freedom not disturbed by dividing lines. It is not to lead our neighbor into a corner where there are no alternatives left, but to open a wide spectrum of options for choice and commitment. It is not an educated intimidation with good books, good stories, and good works, but the liberation of fearful hearts so that words can find roots and bear ample fruit….The paradox of hospitality is that it wants to create emptiness, not a fearful emptiness, but a friendly emptiness where strangers can enter and discover themselves as created free….not a subtle invitation to adopt the life style of the host, but the gift of a chance for the guest to find his own.”

Tags : Acceptance Of Others Hospitality Spirituality

41. “Ministry means the ongoing attempt to put one's own search for God, with all the moments of pain and joy, despair and hope, at the disposal of those who want to join this search but do not know how.”

Tags : Serving Others

42. “The return to the "Father from whom all fatherhood takes its name" allows me to let my dad be no less than the good, loving, but limited human being he is, and to let my heavenly Father be the God whose unlimited, unconditional love melts away all resentments and anger and makes me free to love beyond the need to please or find approval.”

Tags : Faith Fatherhood God Parents
Source : The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming

43. “When we say to people, 'I will pray for you,' we make a very important commitment. The sad thing is that this remark often remains nothing but a well-meant expression of concern. But when we learn to descend with our mind into our heart, then all those who have become part of our lives are led into the healing presence of God and touched by him in the center of our being. We are speaking here about a mystery for which words are inadequate. It is the mystery that the heart, which is the center of our being, is transformed by God into his own heart, a heart large enough to embrace the entire universe. Through prayer we can carry in our heart all human pain and sorrow, all conflicts and agonies, all torture and war, all hunger, loneliness, and misery, not because of some great psychological or emotional capacity, but because God's heart has become one with ours.”

Tags : Christianity God God S Heart Jesus Our Heart Prayer
Source : The Way of the Heart: The Spirituality of the Desert Fathers and Mothers

44. “When we are crushed like grapes, we cannot think of the wine we will become.”

Tags : Depression Despair
Source : Can You Drink the Cup?

45. “First of all, you have to keep unmasking the world about you for what it is: manipulative, controlling, power-hungry, and, in the long run, destructive. The world tells you many lies about who you are, and you simply have to be realistic enough to remind yourself of this. Every time you feel hurt, offended, or rejected, you have to dare to say to yourself: 'These feelings, strong as they may be, are not telling me the truth about myself. The truth, even though I cannot feel it right now, is that I am the chosen child of God, precious in God's eyes, called the Beloved from all eternity, and held safe in an everlasting belief.”

Tags : Despair God S Love
Source : Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World

46. “Our society is so fragmented, our family lives so sundered by physical and emotional distance, our friendships so sporadic, our intimacies so 'in-between' things and often so utilitarian, that there are few places where we can feel truly safe.”

Tags : Alienation Brokenness Despair Isolation Loneliness Society
Source : Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World

47. “Do you really want to be converted? Are you willing to be transformed? Or do you keep clutching your old ways of life with one hand while with the other you beg people to for help you change?Conversion is certainly not something you can bring about yourself. It is not a question of willpower. You have to trust the inner voice that shows the way. You know that inner voice. You turn to it often. But after you have heard with clarity what you are asked to do, you start raising questions, fabricating objections,, and seeking everyone else's opinion. Thus you become entangles in countless often contradictory thoughts, feelings, and ideas and lose touch with the God in you. And you end up dependent on all the people you have gathered around you.Excerpt from:The Inner Voice of Love From Anguish to Freedom by Henry Nouwen”

Tags : Inner Voice

48. “Jesus.. says, 'Let go of your complaints, forgive those who loved you poorly, step over your feelings of being rejected, and have the courage to trust that you won't fall into an abyss of nothingness but into the safe embrace of a God whose love will heal all your wounds.”

Tags : Christian Identity
Source : Here and Now: Living in the Spirit

49. “Jesus came to announce to us that an identity based on success, popularity and power is a false identity- an illusion! Loudly and clearly he says: 'You are not what the world makes you; but you are children of God.”

Tags : Christian Identity
Source : Here and Now: Living in the Spirit

50. “To the degree that we embrace the truth that our identity is not rooted in our success, power, or popularity, but in God's infinite love, to that degree can we let go of our need to judge.”

Tags : Christian Identity
Source : Here and Now: Living in the Spirit

51. “We have to keep asking ourselves: 'What does it all mean? What is God trying to tell us? How are we called to live in the midst of all this?' Without such questions our lives become numb and flat.”

Tags : Christian Identity
Source : Here and Now: Living in the Spirit

52. “...death is not the total dissolution or our identity but the way to its fullest revelation.”

Tags : Christian Identity
Source : Here and Now: Living in the Spirit

53. “It wasn't that the Gospel proved useful for my many worries but that the Gospel proved the uselessness of my worries and so refocused my whole attention.”

Tags : Christian Identity Worry
Source : Here and Now: Living in the Spirit

54. “When we face death with hope, we can live life with generosity.”

Tags : Death Generosity Hope

55. “Our humanity comes to its fullest bloom in giving. We become beautiful people when we give whatever we can give: a smile, a handshake, a kiss, an embrace, a word of love, a present, a part of our life...all of our life.”

Tags : Fulfillment Humanity Love Self Giving
Source : Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World

56. “Our greatest fulfillment lies in giving ourselves to others.”

Tags : Fulfillment Love Self Giving
Source : Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World

57. “I can be happy or unhappy in all situations. I am sure of it, because I have been. I have felt distraught and joyful in situations of abundance as well as poverty, in situations of popularity and anonymity, in situations of success and failure. The difference was never based on the situation itself, but always on my state of mind and heart. When I knew I was walking with God, I always felt happy and at peace. When I was entangled in my own complaints and emotional needs, I always felt restless and divided.”

Tags : Happypoverty Henri Nouwen Joy Peace Peace Of Mind Peacefulness Walking With God

58. “The spiritual life is a gift. It is a gift of the Holy Spirit, who lifts us up into the kingdom of God's love. But to say that being lifted up into the kingdom of love is a divine gift does not mean that we wait passively until the gift is offered to us.”

Tags : Devotional Classics

59. “Learn the discipline of being surprised not by suffering but by joy. As we grow old, there is suffering ahead of us, immense suffering, a suffering that will continue to tempt us to think that we have chosen the wrong road. But don't be surprised by pain. Be surprised by joy, be surprised by the little flower that shows its beauty in the midst of a barren desert, and be surprised by the immense healing power that keeps bursting forth like springs of fresh water from the depth of our pain.”

Tags : Desert Joy Pain Suffering Water

60. “For many of us prayer means nothing more than speaking with God. And since it usually seems to be a quite one-sided affair, prayer simply means talking to God. This idea is enough to create great frustrations. If I present a problem, I expect a solution; if I formulate a question, I expect an answer; if I ask for guidance, I expect a response. And when it seems, increasingly, that I am talking into the dark, it is not so strange that I soon begin to suspect that my dialogue with God is in fact a monologue. Then I may begin to ask myself: To whom am I really speaking, God or myself?”

Tags : Prayer Talking To God
Source : The Way of the Heart: The Spirituality of the Desert Fathers and Mothers

61. “You have come to realize that you must leave it (the old country) and enter the new country, where your Beloved dwells. You know that what helped and guided you in the old country no longer works, but what else do you have to go by? You are being asked to trust that you will find what you need in the new country. That requires the death of what has become so precious to you: influence, success, yes, even affection and praise.”

Tags : Inspriational Spritual

62. “Can we only speak when we are fully living what we are saying? If all our words had to cover all our actions, we would be doomed to permanent silence! Sometimes we are called to proclaim God’s love even when we are not yet fully able to live it. Does that mean we are hypocrites? Only when our own words no longer call us to conversion. Nobody completely lives up to his or her own ideals and visions. But by proclaiming our ideals and visions with great conviction and great humility, we may gradually grow into the truth we speak. As long as we know that our lives always will speak louder than our words, we can trust that our words will remain humble.”

Tags : Actions Ideals Lives Truth Words
Source : Bread for the Journey: A Daybook of Wisdom and Faith

63. “To live a spiritual life we must first find the courage to enter into the desert of our loneliness and to change it by gentle and persistent efforts into a garden of solitude. The movement from loneliness to solitude, however, is the beginning of any spiritual life because it it is the movement from the restless senses to the restful spirit,l from the outward-reaching cravings to the inward-reaching search, from the fearful clinging to the fearless play.”

Tags : Loneliness
Source : Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life

64. “Addiction" might be the best word to explain the lostness that so deeply permeates society. Our addiction make us cling to what the world proclaims as the keys to self-fulfillment: accumulation of wealth and power; attainment of status and admiration; lavish consumption of food and drink, and sexual gratification without distinguishing between lust and love. These addictions create expectations that cannot but fail to satisfy our deepest needs. As long as we live within the world's delusions, our addictions condemn us to futile quests in "the distant country," leaving us to face an endless series of disillusionments while our sense of self remains unfulfilled. In these days of increasing addictions, we have wandered far away from our Father's home. The addicted life can aptly be designated a life lived in "a distant country." It is from there that our cry for deliverance rises up.”

Tags : Faith
Source : The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming

65. “As soon as we are alone,...inner chaos opens up in us. This chaos can be so disturbing and so confusing that we can hardly wait to get busy again. Entering a private room and shutting the door, therefore, does not mean that we immediatel;y shut ou all our iner doubts, anxieities, fears, bad memories, unresolved conflicts, angry feelings and impulsive desires. On the contrary, when we have removed our outer distraction, we often find that our inner distraction manifest themselves to us in full force. We often use the outer distractions to shield ourselves from the interior noises. This makes the discipline of solitude all the more important.”

Tags : Solitude
Source : Making All Things New and Other Classics

66. “solitude begins with a time and a place for God, and God alone. If we really believe not only that God exists but also that God is actively present in our lives-- healing, teaching and guiding-- we need to set aside a time and space to give God our undivided attention. (Matt 6:6)”

Tags : Solitude
Source : Making All Things New and Other Classics

67. “We enter into solitude first of all to meet our Lord and to be with Him and Him alone. Only in the context of grace can we face our sin; only in the place of healing do we dare to show our wounds; only with a single-minded attention to Christ can we give up our clinging fears and face our own true nature. Solitude is a place where Christ remodels us in his own image and frees us from the victimizing compulsions of the world.”

Tags : Solitude
Source : The Way of the Heart: The Spirituality of the Desert Fathers and Mothers

68. “In solitude we realize that nothing human is alien to us.”

Tags : Compassion Humanity Solitude

69. “It is this nothingness (in solitude) that I have to face in my solitude, a nothingness so dreadful that everything in me wants to run to my friends, my work, and my distractions so that I can forget my nothingness and make myself believe that I am worth something. The task is to persevere in my solitude, to stay in my cell until all my seductive visitors get tired of pounding on my door and leave me alone. The wisdom of the desert is that the confrontation with our own frightening nothingness forces us to surrender ourselves totally and unconditionally to the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Tags : Solitude
Source : The Way of the Heart: The Spirituality of the Desert Fathers and Mothers

70. “Solitude is the furnace in which transformation takes place.”

Tags : Solitude Thewayoftheheart

71. “Compassion- which means, literally, "to suffer with"- is the way to the truth that we are most ourselves, not when we differ from others, but when we are the same. Indeed the main spiritual question is not, "What difference do you make?" but "What do you have in common?" It is not "excelling" but "serving" that makes us most human. It is not proving ourselves to be better than others but confessing to be just like others that is the way to healing and reconciliation.”

Tags : Here Now

72. “I also came to see that I should not worry about tomorrow, next week, next year, or next century. The more willing I was to look honestly at what I was thinking and saying and doing now, the more easily I would come into touch with the movement of God's Spirit in me, leading me to the future. God is a God of the present and reveals to those who are willing to listen carefully to the moment in which they live the steps they are to take toward the future. "Do not worry about tomorrow," Jesus says, "tomorrow will take care of itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own" (Matthew 6:34).”

Tags : Future God Of The Present Holy Spirit Present Revelation Today Tomorrow
Source : In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership

73. “Gratitude goes beyond the 'mine' and 'thine' and claims the truth that all of life is a pure gift. In the past I always thought of gratitude as a spontaneous response to the awareness of gifts received, but now I realize that gratitude can also be lived as a discipline. The discipline of gratitude is the explicit effort to acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me as a gift of love, a gift to be celebrated with joy.”

Tags : Gift Grace Gratitude Spiritual Discipline Thankfulness

74. “Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into the places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion, and anguish. Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears. Compassion requires us to be weak with the weak, vulnerable with the vulnerable, and powerless with the powerless. Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human.”

Tags : Compassion

75. “Let us not underestimate how hard it is to be compassionate. Compassion is hard because it requires the inner disposition to go with others to place where they are weak, vulnerable, lonely, and broken. But this is not our spontaneous response to suffering. What we desire most is to do away with suffering by fleeing from it or finding a quick cure for it.”

Tags : Compassion

76. “When we are securely rooted in personal intimacy with the source of life, it will be possible to remain flexible without being relativistic, convinced without being rigid, willing to confront without being offensive, gentle and forgiving without being soft, and true witnesses without being manipulative.”

Tags : Christian Living

77. “the real "work" of prayer is to become silent and listen to the voice that says good things about me.To gently push aside and silence the many voices that question my goodness and to trust that I will hear the voice of blessing-- that demands real effort. ”

Tags : Prayer
Source : Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World

78. “[Praying] demands that you take to the road again and again, leaving your house and looking forward to a new land for yourself and your [fellow human]. This is why praying demands poverty, that is, the readiness to live a life in which you have nothing to lose so that you always begin afresh.”

Tags : Prayer

79. “On the one hand the younger son realizes that he has lost the dignity of his sonship, but at the same time that sense of lost dignity makes him also aware that he is indeed the son who had dignity to lose," (pp. 49).”

Tags : Dignity Son
Source : The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming

80. “If I were to ask about my seven months at the Abbey, "Did it work, did I solve my problems?" the simple answer would be, "It did not work, it did not solve my problems." And I know that a year, two years, or even a lifetime as a Trappist monk would not have "worked" either. Because a monastery is not built to solve problems but to praise the Lord in the midst of them.”

Tags : Faith Monastery

81. “Mostly we think of people with great authority as higher up, far away, hard to reach. But spiritual authority comes from compassion and emerges from deep inner solidarity with those who are 'subject' to authority. The one who is fully like us, who deeply understands our joys and pains or hopes and desires, and who is willing and able to walk with us, that is the one to whom we gladly give authority and whose 'subjects' we are willing to be.It is the compassionate authority that empowers, encourages, calls forth hidden gifts, and enables great things to happen. True spiritual authorities are located in the point of an upside-down triangle, supporting and holding into the light everyone they offer their leadership to.”

Tags : Authority Compassion Empathy Leadership Servant Leadership
Source : Bread for the Journey: A Daybook of Wisdom and Faith

82. “We may be little, insignificant servants in the eyes of a world motivated by efficiency, control and success. But when we realize that God has chosen us from all eternity, sent us into the world as the blessed ones, handed us over to suffering, can't we, then, also trust that our little lives will multiply themselves and be able to fulfill the needs of countless people?”

Tags : Community God S Children The Church
Source : Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World

83. “In solitude we can come to the realization that we are not driven together but brought together. In solitude we come to know our fellow human beings not as partners who can satisfy our deepest needs, but as brothers and sisters with whom we are called to give visibility to God's all-embracing love. In solitude we discover that community is not a common ideology, but a response to a common call. In solitude we indeed realize that community is not made but given.”

Tags : Community Henri Nouwen Sacred Practices Solitude Spiritual Disciplines

84. “If you look at every flower individually, they look quite miserable. Put them together in a vase and they become a bouquet and that's quite attractive. I think about our community often in that way”

Tags : Bouquet Community Flower Individualism

85. “Is God present or is he absent? Maybe we can say now that in the center of our sadness for his absence we can find the first signs of his presence. And that in the middle of our longings we discover the footprints of the one who has created them. It is in the faithful waiting for the loved one that we know how much he has filled our lives already. Just as the love of a mother for her son can grow while she is waiting for his return, and just as lovers can rediscover each other during long periods of absence, so also our intimate relationship with God can become deeper and more mature while we wait patiently in expectation for his return.”

Tags : Expectation Jesus Second Coming Waiting
Source : Out of Solitude: Three Meditations on the Christian Life

86. “The many contradictions in our lives – such as being home while feeling homeless, being busy while feeling bored, being popular while feeling lonely, being believers while feeling many doubts – can frustrate, irritate, and even discourage us. They make us feel that we are never fully present. Every door that opens for us makes us see how many more doors are closed.But there is another response. These same contradictions can bring us into touch with a deeper longing, for the fulfillment of a desire that lives beneath all desires and that only God can satisfy. Contradictions, thus understood, create the friction that can help us move toward God.”

Tags : Contradictions God Longing Paradox
Source : Bread for the Journey: A Daybook of Wisdom and Faith

87. “There is a great difference between successfulness and fruitfulness. Success comes from strength, control, and respectability. A successful person has the energy to create something, to keep control over its development, and to make it available in large quantities. Success brings many rewards and often fame. Fruits, however, come from weakness and vulnerability. And fruits are unique. A child is the fruit conceived in vulnerability, community is the fruit born through shared brokenness, and intimacy is the fruit that grows through touching one another's wounds. Let's remind one another that what brings us true joy is not successfulness but fruitfulness.”

Tags : Community Fruitfulness Success Vulnerability Intimacy
Source : Bread for the Journey: A Daybook of Wisdom and Faith

88. “Theological formation is the gradual and often painful discovery of God's incomprehensibility. You can be competent in many things, but you cannot be competent in God.”

Tags : Education God Theology

89. “How can we embrace poverty as a way to God when everyone around us wants to become rich? Poverty has many forms. We have to ask ourselves: 'What is my poverty?' Is it lack of money, lack of emotional stability, lack of a loving partner, lack of security, lack of safety, lack of self-confidence? Each human being has a place of poverty. That’s the place where God wants to dwell! 'How blessed are the poor,' Jesus says (Matthew 5:3). This means that our blessing is hidden in our poverty.We are so inclined to cover up our poverty and ignore it that we often miss the opportunity to discover God, who dwells in it. Let’s dare to see our poverty as the land where our treasure is hidden.”

Tags : Christianity God Poor In Spirit Poverty
Source : Bread for the Journey: A Daybook of Wisdom and Faith

90. “The word "Eucharist" means literally "act of thanksgiving." To celebrate the Eucharist and to live a Eucharistic life has everything to do with gratitude. Living Eucharistically is living life as a gift, a gift for which one is grateful. But gratitude is not the most obvious response to life, certainly not when we experience life as a series of losses! Still, the great mystery we celebrate in the Eucharist and live in a Eucharistic life is precisely that through mourning our losses we come to know life as a gift.”

Tags : Eucharist Gratitude
Source : With Burning Hearts: A Meditation on the Eucharistic Life

91. “This leaves us with the urgent question: How can we be or become a caring community, a community of people not trying to cover the pain or to avoid it by sophisticated bypasses, but rather share it as the source of healing and new life? It is important to realize that you cannot get a Ph.D. in caring, that caring cannot be delegated by specialists, and that therefore nobody can be excused from caring. Still, in a society like ours, we have a strong tendency to refer to specialists. When someone does not feel well, we quickly think, 'Where can we find a doctor?' When someone is confused, we easily advise him to go to a counselor. And when someone is dying, we quickly call a priest. Even when someone wants to pray we wonder if there is a minister around.”

Tags : Caring Church Ministry Priesthood Of All Believers Specialization
Source : Out of Solitude: Three Meditations on the Christian Life

92. “All human beings are alone. No other person will completely feel like we do, think like we do, act like we do. Each of us is unique, and our aloneness is the other side of our uniqueness. The question is whether we let our aloneness become loneliness or whether we allow it to lead us into solitude. Loneliness is painful; solitude is peaceful. Loneliness makes us cling to others in desperation; solitude allows us to respect others in their uniqueness and create community.Letting our aloneness grow into solitude and not into loneliness is a lifelong struggle. It requires conscious choices about whom to be with, what to study, how to pray, and when we ask for counsel. But wise choices will help us to find the solitude where our hearts can grow in love.”

Tags : Community Isolation Loneliness Relationships Solitude
Source : Bread for the Journey: A Daybook of Wisdom and Faith

93. “The measure of your solitude is the measure of your capacity for communion.”

Tags : Communion Solitude
Source : The Genesee Diary: Report from a Trappist Monastery

94. “To die to our neighbors means to stop judging them, to stop evaluating them, and thus to become free to be compassionate. Compassion can never coexist with judgment because judgment creates the distance, the distinction, which prevents us from really being with the other.”

Tags : Compassion Judgment Solidarity The Other
Source : The Way of the Heart: The Spirituality of the Desert Fathers and Mothers