Clowning in Rome: Reflections on Solitude, Celibacy, Prayer and Contemplation Paperback – 19 Mar 2001
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Clowning in Rome: Reflections on Solitude, Celibacy, Prayer, and Contemplation collects four lectures given by the Catholic priest Henri Nouwen at the North American College in Rome in the 1970s. The lectures, which explore each of the topics named in the book's subtitle, are direct, pragmatic and delightful. Nouwen's views on these weighty subjects are suffused with a lightness inspired by the clowns whose street performances captured his imagination during his visit to the Holy City. He describes these clowns as "awkward, out of balance and left-handed"; as reminders of human weakness whose fumblings offer important lessons about the holiness of play. "[W]henever the clowns appear we are reminded that what really counts is something other than the spectacular and the sensational", Nouwen writes. "Clowns remind us of what happens between the scenes. The clowns show us by their 'useless' behavior not simply that many of our preoccupations, worries, tensions, and anxieties need a smile, but that we too have white on our faces and that we too are called to clown a little". --Michael Joseph Gross --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Acknowledged as one of the world's great spiritual writers, the renowned Catholic theologian left behind a wealth of insights that have brought encouragement and ministered to thousands."--"Christianity Today"See all Product description
Top customer reviews
He also suggests that there needs to be a renewed emphasis on celibacy. Love is of God and too many people seek full love in a marriage and their expectations are not met because of their over-high expectations. Chastity is a witness to the fact that sexual love is not the whole of love and that the love of God can fill a person's life and enable him to relate more lovingly to others than if he were married. Poverty should be part of celibacy - a witness to capitalist society that there is more to life than possession of money or a marriage partner.
I enjoyed this book as it challenged many of my assumptions about the primacy of action over contemplation. It also made reflective prayer sound useful in a positive
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The first couple of chapters were great. Drawing upon the image of clowns, Nouwen talks about the characters life and how they can be the real show even when they are on the sidelines, similar to clowns at the circus. I thoroughly enjoyed his discussion on solitude and its effect on the individual and the community. Who were are in solitude helps us understand who were are not and how God works with us, things that we can take into community.
The other topics in the book are dull and boring. I was looking forward to his chapter on celibacy however if he admits that he avoids the more obvious questions.
In the end, it's still a good read, but not a life changer or a thinker.
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