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Spiritual Direction: Wisdom for the Long Walk of Faith

4.24  ·  Rating Details ·  1,165 Ratings  ·  65 Reviews
Spiritual Direction gives us the unique and unrivaled experience of having Henri Nouwen as our personal spiritual director, answering our questions about the spiritual life in his wise, comfortable, and engaging style. With Nouwen's guidance, we can reorient our lives and open the door to true spiritual transformation.

Henri Nouwen, the world-renowned spiritual guide and co
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Hardcover, 192 pages
Published May 23rd 2006 by HarperOne (first published 2006)
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Walter
Apr 02, 2010 Walter rated it it was amazing
This is the author's last book, published posthumously and representing an edited compilation of his work in this area. Therefore, one might expect it to differ in form and substance from his previous work; this would be a mistaken assumption. It is a very well-done piece of meaningful insight and practical application rolled into one.

As a discipline, spiritual direction is something that Henri Nouwen both practiced and preached, so to speak, serving in the role of spiritual director for many wh
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Kirsten
Apr 17, 2008 Kirsten rated it really liked it
provided much inspiration.

"it helps to realize that the Bible is not primarily a book of information about God but of formation of the heart. it is not merely a book to be analyzed, scrutinized, & discussed, but a book to nurture, unify, & serve as a constant source of contemplation. we must struggle constantly against the temptation to read the Bible instrumentally as a book full of good stories & illustrations that can help us make our point in sermons, lectures, papers, & arti
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Stacey
Jan 19, 2015 Stacey rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2015
I tried to read this semi-slow, but it didn't work out. The best way I suggest to read this as they do at the beginning of the book. Once straight through, and then once taking a chapter a week or month to work through the questions, topics, and ideas. There is a lot here which I can take away from the book, and I will probably go through it slower after I finish the trilogy.
Johnny
Jul 05, 2011 Johnny rated it really liked it
Shelves: devotional
As a young seminarian and pastor, I was profoundly affected by a book written by this psychologist, professor, and priest. As an old geezer, I was inspired by another book by the same author--an individual who practiced what he "priest" in that he left a prestigious position at Harvard and ended up fulfilled by ministering to a handful of mentally challenged individuals--trading influence on millions to influence on less than 10.

I suppose the secret can be found in a story he tells about talking
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Edward Ortiz
Sep 23, 2012 Edward Ortiz rated it really liked it


This book is a collection of articles, sermons, and other related works from the late Henri Nouwen, a catholic priest. The book is very interesting and informative but a word of caution for the readers. Some of Henri’s views are problematic but overall it is a good book, specially in the area of living in community. The book starts with a definition for Spiritual direction, that states, “it is a relationship initiated by a spiritual seeker who finds a mature person of faith willing to pray and
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Bob Price
Dec 19, 2013 Bob Price rated it liked it
Spiritual Direction is a series of lectures based on Henri Nouwen's classes and articles he wrote about...so in that sense it is not necessarily a Henri Nouwen book.

But any chance to go through Nouwen's wisdom on spiritualty is a good one. This book is divided into three sections: looking within, looking for God in the Word and looking for God in community. He explores each of these sections with biblical knowledge, personal stories, and a deep insight into the nature of people.

The book is desi
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Buddy Draper
Sep 13, 2015 Buddy Draper rated it it was amazing
This is a compilation of essays and lessons from Nouwen brought together on this subject. I truly love and enjoy everything by Nouwen and I found this encouraging and challenging.
Amanda
A wonderful conglomeration of writings by the theologian Henry Nouwen, this book details much of his thoughts and writings on the spiritual direction of faith communities and individuals within a faith. I am always a fan of the writings of Nouwen and this is no exception. I also greatly appreciated the reflection opportunities at the end of each chapter with apt room for journaling to process the material.
Rob Nicholls
Jan 01, 2017 Rob Nicholls rated it it was amazing
An excellent resource. Well worth reading very slowly and taking time to reflect for at least a week between chapters.
Tyler Hurst
At first I was a bit unsure of it. First Nouwen book I have read, heard a lot about him, but not sure where he stood on many issues in terms of his Catholicism (liberal, liberation, conservative, etc.) and his first part was pretty individualistic and touchy feely, but second and third parts were great once I got into them.
Harry Allagree
Nov 07, 2013 Harry Allagree rated it it was amazing
In preparing for a spiritual formation group, I stumbled upon this truly unusual and excellent book, published in 2006, on the subject of spiritual direction, or, as Nouwen preferred to called it, "spiritual friendship" or "soul friend". The co-authors are Michael J. Christensen, a former spiritual direct of Henri's, of the Henri Nouwen Society's board of directors & director of Drew University's D.Min. program, & Rebecca J. Laird, a spiritual director, ordained minister, and associate p ...more
Mindi
May 02, 2013 Mindi rated it it was amazing
Spiritual Direction, subtitled Wisdom for the Long Walk of Faith, is a collection of the writings of Henri Nouwen on personal guidance for the Christian.

Nouwen always combines the spiritual with the practical.

For instance, here is an excerpt on Active Resistance to Listening:

"Those who have really listened to God's voice have often found themselves being called away from familiar and relatively comfortable places to places they would rather not go...Resistance in the form of preoccupation and
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Ron
I finished reading this work of Henri Nouwen in February making notes for a review which I would write when I finished but before I finished I mentioned to my Pastor that I was enjoying it very much and he replied that he would like to read it when I finished. And when he finished it, the counselor who has been working with me for twelve plus years asked for it. So that is where it is now. I expect to get it back before summer is over and write my review. The counseling is for major depression t ...more
Jeremy
Jan 31, 2012 Jeremy rated it really liked it
There is probably no one that has more heavily influenced my spiritual formation in the last two years than Henri Nouwen. That said, there are times that his perspective or approach concern me from a theological standpoint. As a result, I want to caution younger readers to read him along with a spiritual director or mentor who can help you process his teachings. His insights on the contemplative life and spiritual formation are so rich that one would be much poorer for overlooking them.

In this w
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Patty
For Lent I have been exploring spiritual direction and I ran across this book in a local library. I am so glad I found it. This is a compilation of things that Nouwen wrote or said on spiritual direction. It would be a great small group book.

Each chapter leads the reader on a path to a better understanding of how one's spiritual life can be improved, including group and individual activities.

I found two parts of this book especially helpful. There is an appendix that talks about how to find a sp
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Sarah
Aug 02, 2007 Sarah rated it really liked it
I love Henri Nouwen and this was another good one. I'm considering spiritual direction and it was cool to read this book and have a little bit of direction from Nouwen. I appreciated the personal stories of struggles he had alluded to in other books. This gave a more personal portrait of Henri. It also gave some ideas of what he was thinking about later in his life before his death - some of it I wasn't sure I could agree with, but a great book to get me thinking and seriously considering the am ...more
Dana Kraft
May 06, 2016 Dana Kraft rated it really liked it
I finished my first quick pass through the book. A slower chapter by chapter re-read will take a lot longer and will require a much greater investment of time and contemplation. The questions at the end of each chapter are excellent and are where the real meat of this book lies for me. There is wisdom in the structure of the book and in Nouwen's writing but the real payoff will require considerable effort on my part. It's almost a little daunting as it threatens my mindset of reading a book, pul ...more
Rebeccameder
Aug 02, 2011 Rebeccameder rated it really liked it
This is definitely a book I want to buy! He seems so unpretentious and real. There are so many good and relevant questions that he asks that seem to be the exact things I need to reflect on in my life.

I also found it challenged me to make some spiritual disciplines regular like prayer and engaging with and being accountable to your community. However, his words don't come across in a way that make you feel judged, which I am often very sensitive too, instead he uses his own life and own struggl
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Robert
Oct 15, 2009 Robert added it
Very short pamphlet - very large message about a subject that I have wanted to understand. Nouwen talks about the need for three disciplines: the church, the Book and the Heart and of the need to be committed to move towards an "obedient life." The concept of a spiritual director is something I have mulled over many times before. But now in my discernment phase, I realize that I need to take on this process for myself, regardless of the outcome of my "call" and the process in this diocese.
Kristin
Jul 18, 2015 Kristin rated it it was amazing
Apart from his stance that God is the same God of Hindus and Buddhists (kind a big deal!), the writing and truth were amazing. I literally teared and got goosebumps throughout the entire book. It met me right were I was at, and you could tell this was a man that spent time in God's presence. Highly recommended.
Shelly
Sep 08, 2009 Shelly added it
Shelves: spiritual
Humble and thoughtful words of wisdom and guidance from a priest who taught at Yale and Harvard, yet later in his career became a personal assistant to Adam, a mentally and physically disabled man at L'Arche, a residential facility in Canada. Nouwen maintained his deep faith in God's goodness despite his own struggle with clinical depression.
Vivian
Mar 03, 2013 Vivian rated it it was amazing
I read parts of this book in theology school and found it inspiring. Reading the entire book now after ministering for five years puts Nouwen's timeless wisdom in a new light. His words are still inspiring. The suggested spiritual exercises and reflections would be excellent for small community groups or spiritual friends to explore.
Val
Oct 07, 2016 Val rated it really liked it
A really nice read, I have become a fan of Henri's books they seem to give me a sense of well being throughout the book you also learn about Henri's own life. This book would benefit anyone who may be interested in looking at Spiritual Direction as a career path or wanting to attended a Director as part of their own faith journey
Eric
Jul 21, 2013 Eric rated it really liked it
What a treat to read this wonderful set of teachings culled from the writings of Henri Nouwen by two of his students, while spending a week at Kripalu in Lenox, MA

The synchronicity between Nouwen's teachings about the life of the spirit and what I have been learning about Whole Self Well-Being is remarkable.

Even as a Jew, I found great insight and Torah in Nouwen's message.
Jennifer Lindsay
Jun 09, 2008 Jennifer Lindsay marked it as to-read
Shelves: spiritual
Asbury Memorial Methodist bible study group is reading this. Had a chance to sit in on the discussion around Chapter 7 last Sunday and have added it to my must-read-this-book-in-the-near-future-list.
Joe McFadden
Mar 05, 2016 Joe McFadden rated it it was amazing
Great short book on the process of spiritual direction and its place and practices in spiritual formation. Would definitely recommend this to others! It is a short book designed to be read contemplatively.
Marianna
Jul 28, 2010 Marianna rated it liked it
This book is loaded with information and insight. I found there was a lot of redundancy in what was said, but given that this is a compilation put together from notes, letters, journal entries etc. I suppose that is to be expected.
Keith
Feb 27, 2013 Keith rated it it was amazing
An incredible book for those seeking to be spiritually formed. This book touches on various aspects of the spiritual life and offers a variety of disciplines and practices that will help you draw nearer to God and live on purpose!
Sarah
Jan 08, 2013 Sarah rated it it was amazing
A collection of Henri Nouwen's writings arranged by two scholars of his work, this is meant to be a book that reads like interacting with a spiritual director. It's classic Nouwen, pairing personal insight with theological observation. Read slowly and with a journal nearby.
Raffi
Sep 13, 2011 Raffi rated it it was ok
Shelves: christian
This was my first Nouwen book, and I was expecting to learn more about spiritual direction, the failures and successes, more examples from the Bible. I felt that it was on the gates of being melancholic, specially when he talks about relationships.
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Spiritual Direction 3 9 Jan 13, 2014 12:29AM  
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  • Holy Listening: The Art of Spiritual Direction
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  • The Divine Hours (Volume Two): Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime: A Manual for Prayer
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  • The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier
  • Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices That Transform Us
  • Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening
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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
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