Henri Nouwen sought the center of things. Never content to observe life from the sidelines, his approach to new experiences and relationships was full throttle. He looked at the world with the enthusiastic anticipation of a child, convinced that right in the midst of life he would find the God who loves us without conditions. Helping us recognize this God in the very fabric of our lives was the enduring passion of Henri’s life and ministry.
The Henri Nouwen Spirituality Series embodies Henri’s legacy of compassionate engagement with contemporary issues and concerns. Developed through a partnership between the Henri Nouwen Society and Upper Room Ministries, the Series offers fresh presentations of themes close to Henri’s heart. We hope each volume will help you discover that in your daily round God is closer than you think.
--John S. Mogabgab, Series Editor
the excerpt below is from A Spirituality of Living
As disciples of Jesus, we are sent to wherever there is poverty, loneliness, suffering of any kind. We are given the courage to be with suffering people. We can trust that by entering into places of pain, we will find the joy of Jesus. A new world grows out of compassion.
The call to compassionate ministry is a great call. But we must not be fearful. We must not say, "I can't do that." When we are aware that we are the beloved, and when we have friends around us with whom we live in community, we can do anything. We're not afraid anymore. We're not afraid to knock on the door while somebody is dying. We're not afraid to open a discussion with a person who underneath all the glitter is much in need of ministry. We are free.
What counts in your life and mine is not successes but fruits. The fruits of our life are born often in our pain and in our vulnerability and in our losses. The fruits of our life come only after the plow has carved through our land. God wants us to be fruitful.
The question is not, "How much can I still do in the years that are left to me?" The question is, "How can I prepare myself for total surrender so my life can be fruitful?"
Our little lives are small, human lives. But in the eyes of the One who calls us the beloved, we are great–greater than the years we have. We will bear fruit, fruit that you and I will not see on this earth but whose reality we can trust.
Solitude, community, ministry–these disciplines help us live a fruitful life.