Quotes from Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life

Henri J.M. Nouwen ·  165 pages

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“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.”
― Henri J.M. Nouwen, quote from Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life


“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.”
― Henri J.M. Nouwen, quote from Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life


“The great spiritual task facing me is to so fully trust that I belong to God that I can be free in the world--free to speak even when my words are not received; free to act even when my actions are criticized, ridiculed, or considered useless.... I am convinced that I will truly be able to love the world when I fully believe that I am loved far beyond its boundaries.”
― Henri J.M. Nouwen, quote from Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life


“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. ”
― Henri J.M. Nouwen, quote from Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life


“a spiritual life without prayer is like the gospel without Christ.”
― Henri J.M. Nouwen, quote from Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life


“By prayer, community is created as well as expressed.”
― Henri J.M. Nouwen, quote from Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life


“It is my growing conviction that my life belongs to others just as much as it belongs to myself and that what is experienced as most unique often proves to be most solidly embedded in the common condition of being human.”
― Henri J.M. Nouwen, quote from Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life


“In the midst of a turbulent, often chaotic, life we are called to reach out, with courageous honesty to our innermost self, with relentless care to our fellow human beings, and with increasing prayer to our God.”
― Henri J.M. Nouwen, quote from Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life


“Just as words lose their power when they are not born out of silence, so openness loses its meaning when there is no ability to be closed.”
― Henri J.M. Nouwen, quote from Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life


“Those who do not run away from our pains but touch them with compassion bring healing and new strength. The paradox indeed is that the beginning of healing is in the solidarity with the pain. In”
― Henri J.M. Nouwen, quote from Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life


“When we live with a solitude of heart, we can listen with attention to the words and the worlds of others, but when we are driven by loneliness, we tend to select just those remarks and events that bring immediate satisfaction to our own craving needs. Our”
― Henri J.M. Nouwen, quote from Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life


About the author

Henri J.M. Nouwen
Born place: in Nijkerk, Netherlands
Born date January 24, 1932
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