on 20 July 2010
I have given or loaned out more copies of this book than any other during the course of my pastoral ministry. It was given to me during a period of real difficulty and helped enormously. The description of the spiritual life as three movements: towards ourselves, a movement from loneliness to solitude; towards others, a movement from hostility to hospitality; and towards God, a movement from illusion to prayer; is helpful in itself. The book also builds from one section to the next, showing that each movement is dependent on the other. We can't move towards others if we are still struggling to meet our own loneliness because we will then use others rather than giving to them. Loneliness is a universal human experience and I would warmly commend this book not only to Christians, but to anyone with a sense that there is more to life than the material world. Nouwen's treatment of Psalm 4 in section three, illustrating that very often true prayer is about knowing ourselves before God is superb.
on 3 December 2010
This merits deep study. Written from the author's own experience in terms that are easily understood, this approach does more than ask us to listen carefully to ourselves, it takes us out into the world to welcome the stranger and out into the listening arms of God. To try to grasp the richness of this work I have read it twice and then written a seven page summary. This work can be life changing if one has the courage to empty one's self, to be still and to listen without intrusion.
on 7 October 2007
The author, Henri J.M. Nouwen, is a Catholic Priest and writer. In this book he outlines three stages of spiritual growth: reaching out to one's self, then to others, and, finally, to God. He offers examples from literature, scripture, and life to help listeners through struggles with inner restlessness of faith. Anyone from any walk of life that has an interest in understanding a Christian's spiritual life can benefit from this book. Do your self a favor and read this small book.