The Inner Voice of Love: A Journey Through Anguish to Freedom
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The Inner Voice of Love: A Journey Through Anguish to Freedom

4.42 of 5 stars 4.42  ·  rating details  ·  1,974 ratings  ·  127 reviews
Outline The Inner Voice of Love: A Journey Through Anguish to Freedom is a collection of passages from Henri Nouwen's journals, written during a period when his self-esteem evaporated, his energy to
Paperback, 144 pages
Published January 19th 1999 by Image Books (first published 1996)
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Brad Syverson
This is a book to be read and absorbed in small doses. It is a deeply personal and very honest book written during a time of great pain. But it is a hopeful book. It's as though Nouwen is writing to himself from place of hope. My sense is that, through effective advice and sheer force of will, Nouwen imagined a place of hope from which he could write to himself sitting in despair. From this imagined place, Nouwen looks back and sees a path to wholeness, a path to an existential, a real place of...more
Wade
These are selections from a journal that Henri Nouwen wrote when he was in the midst of a very dark season in his life. He writes in the second person singular, saying things like, “You are called to live out of a new place, beyond your emotions, passions, and feelings. As long as you live amid your emotions, passions, and feelings, you will continue to experience loneliness, jealousy, anger, resentment, and even rage, because those are the most obvious responses to rejection and abandonment.” W...more
Belinda
Tainted. My point of view is too tainted to look at this work objectively, and anyone who reads my review of this book should know that.

My reaction to this book was deeply personal and disturbing. This book is a compilation of Nouwen's journal entries over a series of months when he felt great dispair and angst. His colleagues felt the journal would serve as a great instructional tool for others, and hence this little book was born.

However, drawing from my personal experience, I could clearly he...more
Jonathan
Imagine that a priest, writer, and professor with great spiritual wisdom underwent a spiritual collapse. What would he tell himself in these “dark nights of the soul”? What kind of wisdom would he apply to his own life after fifty years of theoretical and practical investigation of his relationship with God? When at the edge of despair, what would he remember the most?

Henri Nouwen’s personal spiritual journal of the most difficult period of his life reads just like that – these are deeply person...more
Mark
A collection of private journal entries by an openly gay but celibate priest, The Inner Voice of Love is a meditation on accepting the kinds of love that are available when the love you want is not available. Because the author was a priest, many of the meditations specifically address accepting divine love, not as a metaphor but as a real, personal gift from an ever-present deity, so I personally had to translate a lot of the concepts into metaphors; but even so, these meditations create a spac...more
Evan Hays
What an excellent book. Nouwen has really been through it, and so you trust him as you helps guide you through your troubles. There were so many excellent and deep insights in this book. It took me a while to get through, but that is because it is a series of devotionals meant to be read slowly and steadily. I can see a lot of growth in my life in the last year, and this book is a significant part of that.

This is one of the best books that you will find that contributes a true Christ centered vi...more
Erika
This book begins with a warning not to read too many of these spiritual imperatives at once and I think that is good advice. There is so much to contemplate with each entry in Nouwen's secret journal. I especially liked "Control Your Own Drawbridge" and "Own Your Pain." I found myself feeling sad for Nouwen as I read, though (even though I knew the purpose of the book was for the reader to reflect on him/herself as opposed to viewing it as a memoir). I took some comfort in the hope that he is no...more
Linda
This is Henri Nouwen's journal that takes us through his own personal journey with depression. He was encouraged to publish it so others could see that the master too was human. An important work, especially for us novices. When you are struggling with your own path, it is good to see that those who continued on had struggles to. I give this volume to all I work with who are new on the journey.
Kelsey
Henri Nouwen is one of my favorite authors. I resonate quite a bit with his introspective nature and keen awareness that this world is not our home. I enjoy his thoughts about solitude, community, dependence, and a variety of other relationship dynamics.
Tom
As I said in another review, this book had a powerful impact on me in conjunction with Brennan Manning's Ruthless Trust.
I have profited from all Nouwen's books, but this and The Return of the Prodigal have been the most important.
Rachel
One of my favorite books to use as a daily devotional. Can be read year after year and enjoyed with each reading. God has used this book to encourage, convict, and guide me as I seek Him.
Alex
Overall, I found this book helpful, hopeful, and challenging, though I was cheesed out here and there.
Dan Brunner
I have read this book often especially is seasons of darkness. It has had a remarkable influence on me.
Tim Daily
Wisdom for the wounded who is moving toward healing.
Sarah Borland
a beautiful book with so much truth
Jackie
This was nothing like what I expected. For one thing, I expected years worth of secret journals to be...well, slightly heftier than this. That is not to say that The Inner Voice of Love lacks emotional heft--far from it--but for someone seeking a traditionally defined narrative this fell short of the mark.

Instead of relating his struggles directly in his diaries, he responds to them through short meditations in the second person. This had an intermittently confusing effect on me, and left me won...more
Sarah Milad
سوف يرحب الآلاف من محبي هنري نووين بهذا الكتاب ترحاب خاص، فهو يضم جميع خواطره التي تم نشرها بموقعنا دورياً في باب "خواطر وأفكار". وأخيراً أصبح بين يدنا الآن. وسوف يقوم مكتب الخدمة، من وقت لآخر، بعقد حلقة مناقشة ومشاركة حول هذا الكتاب لطرح وتبادل الأفكار والمشاعر التي يثيرها نووين بداخلنا من خلال خواطره الفريدة هذه. وتعقد أول حلقة مع بداية الشهر المقبل (يوليو 2009) اضغط هنا للتفاصيل
تـُعد كتابات الأب الراحل هنري نووين (1932- 1996) من أكثر الكتابات التأمُّليّة المُعاصرة عُمقاً ونفاذاً لما تتميّز به...more
Jen
I will probably refer to this book for years. This book of journal entries can either be used as meditations for a prayer group or for personal guidance. Often we don't think deeply about our motivations, desires, and hopes, and each meditation shines a light on what these might be for us, and also how to accept them and move closer to God.

He focuses on universal desires, not his particular situation. So we can be guided no matter what particular concern he was actually dealing with.

The most fr...more
Leah
This book paralleled my own inner journey so closely, I was in tears many days reading it. I found this book at a desperately sad time in my life. Broken into small chapters, thought chapters, you can read one a day, one a week or month. I would pick it up as I felt the need to be understood, and I felt that Henri Nouwen absolutely did understand what was going on in my soul. Very helpful in my journey to understanding myself.
Jamie Park
Do not let the unassuming slender frame of this book fool you. It is, essentially, Christian counseling in a book. You can carry around a biblically sound therapist in your purse! Okay, but seriously Nouwen was a Christian psychologist so he knows what he's talking about. If you've ever had a knawing issue that you might know the 'biblical answers' to, but still find it eating away at you, pick a chapter title that sounds interesting to you and read it. I guarantee Nouwen's words will pierce you...more
Paulist Press
For those who have already read Nouwen, you'll find INNER VOICE similar to his other titles because of his personal immediacy, his thoughtful honesty. It is, unlike titles such as Return of the Prodigal Son or The Road to Daybreak, seemingly light. The shorter length and the absence of a narrative arc may give one the impression it is, perhaps, not one of his more significant works. But,for me, this is one of his best works--One I return to regularly. It is a collection of short to medium length...more
Charis
I did not actually read this whole book. It was sort of weirding out my head--he makes many good points and yet it's all so focused on himself and his psyche that I couldn't possibly evaluate it with my own mind. Nouwen was a Catholic priest who really seemed to suffer from loneliness and isolation, to the point of psychosis (maybe?). I, too, have felt isolated, but I try to focus on God and forget myself to deal with it. Seems to work. He seems to try to deal with it partly by focusing on God a...more
Phoebe
I was introduced to Henri Nouwen by my Youth Ministry professor, Dr. Patty, through an assignment that he had for one of our classes. At that time, his writings didn't resonate with me. About a year or two later, I was speaking interested in becoming a road pastor. I went online and found Michael Guido's e-mail address (former road pastor for dc Talk). I e-mailed him. He gave me his phone number. I called him and we spoke for about an hour. He highly suggested reading Henri Nouwen's books. This...more
Kristen
This book is primarily about longing for acceptance, affection, love, and approval and looking for it in all the wrong places. Written originally as a private journal of a spiritual leader, it reveals the struggle of a godly man battling depression and despair. His daily directives written to himself were sometimes very profound. Other times, I found the directives vague and written in a way that could be misunderstood. The writing lacked concrete details, and this nebulous quality kept me from...more
Tim
If you are a fan of Henri Nouwen, this is a must read. It is comprised of his journal entries during a season where he was going through a deep depression/"dark night of the soul". During this period he wisely gave himself a daily "spiritual imperative" to keep himself connected to truth. Their are entries where in my humble opinion his thinking was off, but most are truly profound. And to read his thoughts and see his process while deeply struggling with God is like being mentored by a wise, se...more
Some
Jun 09, 2012 Some rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: frustrated brothers, unloved sisters, the downtrodden
Recommended to Some by: Christopher Grimes, PsyD.
Having done some deep therapy work with the good folks at Diakonos Counseling in the KC area, one of the strongest recommendations given by my counselor was to read this fine book. By no means a huge book, it's limited pages are powerfully insightful into the struggle of feeling at ropes' end and falling free, only to find how great a love is awaiting just below the end of that rope. Let go, the fall is awesome, as this work showcases the worst of Henri Nouen's spiritual struggle and the best of...more
Kathy D
One of the best books I have ever read. I have given this book to many of my friends. I pick it up often. Each entry spurs something different.
Anne
Has anyone had the experience of picking up the Bible in a moment of suffering and finding the words speak directly to your heart? The Inner Voice of Love is similar in a smaller way. Not all of the entries will speak to you, but the ones that do will give you food for meditation and prayer, and bring healing. Anyone familiar with Fr. Nouwen's writing understands he was profoundly human, fallible, yet also learned, compassionate, caring and wise. This book captures the scope of his humanity, and...more
Pat
Like Mother Theresa's diaries, the shared anguish of Henri Nouwen during a period of great pain, sheds light on the human experience even for those we feel are spiritually way ahead of the rest of us. Nouwen did not publish the writings for eight years after the event when friends urged him to let others know how he had suffered and recovered. It is a little painful at times to read but very comforting. The epilogue explains how he came to a full recovery.

It suggests where our focus should be to...more
Leah
I can't say enough good things about Nouwen's writing. This book is another prime example of how he cuts to the core in such a simply beautiful way that truly touches the heart . He wrote this journal while he was in a time of retreat, in great pain, trying to get his life on track again, and years later his friends encouraged him to publish it for the benefit of others. Each entry is a personal call to live richer, love deeper, and truly receive God's love.
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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
More about Henri J.M. Nouwen...
The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming The Wounded Healer: Ministry in Contemporary Society In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World The Way of the Heart: Desert Spirituality and Contemporary Ministry

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“When suddenly you seem to lose all you thought you had gained, do not despair. You must expect setbacks and regressions. Don't say to yourself "All is lost. I have to start all over again." This is not true. What you have gained you have gained....When you return to the the road, you return to the place where you left it, not to where you started.” 94 likes
“When people show you their boundaries ("I can't do this for you") you feel rejected...part of your struggle is to set boundaries to your own love. Only when you are able to set your own boundaries will you be able to acknowledge, respect and even be grateful for the boundaries of others.” 50 likes
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