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Discernment: Reading the Signs of Daily Life
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Discernment: Reading the Signs of Daily Life

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  138 ratings  ·  19 reviews
Henri Nouwen, the world-renowned spiritual guide and counselor, understood the spiritual life as a journey of faith and transformation that is deepened by accountability, community, and relationships. Though Henri counseled many people during his lifetime, his principles of discernment were never collected into a single volume. Now, in association with the Nouwen Legacy Tr ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published June 25th 2013 by HarperOne (first published January 1st 2011)
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The third of a posthumously published trilogy planned by Nouwen, the publishers recommend _Discernment_ for an Advent or Lenten study. After reading it, I agree, they would be fine for those times, but even more important in Ordinary Time. Why? That's when we need to practice discernment the most: every day. Holidays and fasts and feasts have their expected liturgies public and private, their practices and traditions. But it is in the ordinary days that we tend to get lost, to struggle to know o ...more
Stacey Daze
I originally bought this book before I knew the other two existed, and I'm glad I was able to read it and see his perspective on how God talks to us through our days and how we can discern what is/is not said.

He was a Catholic Monk with what many would say was a very universalist liberal theology. It made me smile. Again, as with the first two books in this trilogy, it is suggested that the book be read in community and I think that would be an awesome thing. The discussion that could come from
Kelly Belvis
The first few chapters of this book were my favorites, I have gone back and reread all that I underlined in the first half of the book. In some spots and mostly in later chapters I found that I differ significantly on a few theological issues. This did not hamper my appreciation for the wisdom contained in the book. Though not written by Nouwen but taken from his diaries and writings the book revealed such a personal, transparent and vulnerable journey that I could easily identify with the searc ...more
Bob Price

Reading Henri Nouwen is like drinking a fine wine. You need to savor every drop of it.

Discernment is a book of Nouwen's writings, however it is not a book written by him. Rather, it is based on his other writings and lectures that he gave. It follows the volume on Spiritual Direction and Spiritual Formation.

Nouwen has the ability to give both insight and understanding in such a way that you might feel that Nouwen is talking to you, rather than writing. This might be the fact that these are dic
This book would make an excellent book for a church book club or small group meeting. Nouwen's writing is straightforward, but extremely powerful.


Ch. 1
"I will see great things when I am willing to be seen. I will receive new eyes that can see the mysteries of God's own life, but only when I allow God to see me, all of me, even those parts that I myself do not want to see."

Ch. 2
"The demon is patient in the way it seeks to devour and destroy the work of God."

"Self-rejection is the greatest
Keith Uffman
Nouwen isa must for those in the 2nd half of life.... brilliant. His biography is excellent, too
This is the third in a three part series posthumously published of Nouwen's work on spiritual direction that I feel is the best written of the three works. I have read numerous books in fact I love reading Henri Nouwen as an author and spiritual thinker and counselor. His work was introduced to me while I was on retreat. "Discernment" covers nothing new learning how to live a spiritual life, to read, and learn from book, people, nature, and community. That we need both solidarity and community. ...more
Benjamin Vineyard
Discernment: Reading the Signs of Daily Life by Henri Nouwen (Book Reaction)

I picked up *Discernment* by Nouwen a few weeks ago with a dual interest: I was eager to read the next book in Nouwen's spirituality trilogy and I was beginning to experience new turbulence within my workplace which created desire for wisdom in navigation.

What I received was very helpful, very formative guidance in the practice of listening.

There wasn't much that was profound, per se, in Nouwen's writing this time, but
This is a spiritual reflection by one of the great writers on religious topics. It is designed for personal searching and/or group discussion. Nouwen uses examples from his own life concerning such as determining a vocation, feeling called to do or undertake something, looking for signs in nature and silence, and so forth. Nouwen always has a gentle tone and an approachable style, often stating his own periods of doubt and questioning. While Nouwen is a Catholic priest, readers of all faiths wil ...more
It's a little bit of a stretch to say Nouwen wrote this - it's technically true, but this book was gathered and edited posthumously from Nouwen's writings and sermons. Chapters 1-3 are solid gold for defining discernment - what it is and is not - as well as different signs God gives in our everyday lives.
I really enjoy the posthumous works of Henri Nouwen. "Discernment" is no different; though at times the compilation seems a little ill-assembled, Henri is a gentle and gracious writer and that was encouraging to me. He speaks from experience about how to discern God's will. In particular, his chapter on vocation was moving to me.
Megan Cusumano
Though I do not completely agree with some of Nouwen's theological views throughout the book, mostly the end chapters, I find it to be a valuable, thought provoking and worth while read.
I love Nouwen, but I love Nouwen's original work so much more than the compilations, like this one, that editors have put together in the last few years.
Interesting but marred by the worst multi faith ecumenism.
Paradoxically simple in its complexity
Paul Bard
It was worth reading, okay book.
Joy Matteson
What does it mean to listen to the silence that often is indicative of the voice of God? How would one go about discerning that voice in one's daily life? Never a one to stray from difficult questions, this Nouwen compilation includes some previously unpublished works of his as he beautifully illustrates what a life can look like as we discern God's presence and peace in our lives. Of course, very highly recommended, as always his works are.
This read like an inspired bibliography.
Michelle Bodle
Wonderful conclusion to this spiritual trilogy.
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Henri Jozef Machiel Nouwen (Nouen), (1932–1996) was a Dutch-born Catholic priest and writer who authored 40 books on the spiritual life.

Nouwen's books are widely read today by Protestants and Catholics alike. The Wounded Healer, In the Name of Jesus, Clowning in Rome, The Life of the Beloved, and The Way of the Heart are just a few of the more widely recognized titles. After nearly two decades of
More about Henri J.M. Nouwen...
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“In the Gospels, there are many examples of Jesus not giving a direct answer to questions put to him by his disciples and others. (For example, the mother of James and John asks whether her two sons might sit one at the right hand and the other at the left hand of Jesus in his kingdom, and Jesus responds, “Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?” [Matt. 20:20–23].) He does this not because he has no patience with them but because their questions are the wrong questions; they are not the questions that live in God’s heart but belong instead to the fearful, anxious world of those who do not know who they are.” 2 likes
“Jesus is deeply connected to the earth on which he walks. He observes the forces of nature, learns from them, teaches about them, and reveals that the God of Creation is the same God who sent him to give good news to the poor, sight to the blind, and freedom to the prisoners. He walks from village to village, sometimes alone and sometimes with others; as he walks, he meets the poor, the beggars, the blind, the sick, the mourners, and those who have lost hope. He listens attentively to those with whom he walks, and he speaks to them with the authority of a true companion on the road. He remains very close to the ground.” 1 likes
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