Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life” as Want to Read:
Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life

(سلسلة الحياة الروحيّة #15)

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  3,673 ratings  ·  198 reviews
With clarity and deep spiritual insight, this religious bestseller offers today's Christian a perceptive, systematic plan for living the spiritual life achieving union with God. ...more
Paperback, 165 pages
Published August 5th 1986 by Image (first published 1975)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Reaching Out, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.09  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,673 ratings  ·  198 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life
Jan 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spirituality
I've completed this, my first Nouwen book, with the conviction that I waited far too long to begin reading this author!

"Reaching Out" is a simple, straightforward, deep, and dense treatment of the inward, outward, and upward movements of the spiritual life.
The inner movement (from loneliness to solitude) involves letting go of expectations from others, and being willing to be alone. Once contentment is found there, one can act in accordance with his/her deep desires, rather than reactively and
Jacob Aitken
Key idea: Nouwen teaches us how to convert our loneliness into solitude and our solitude into healing action.

First Movement: We are lonely as a society and we mask our loneliness by busyness. As Nouwen says, “We must find the courage to enter into the desert of loneliness and change it by gentle and persistent efforts into a garden of solitude” (Nouwen 34). Solitude allows us to listen to and enter into the troubles of others.

Love protects “and respects the aloneness of the other and creates a f
Keri Murcray
Apr 18, 2012 rated it it was ok
Some favorite quotes:

“Only few ‘happy endings’ make us happy, but often someone’s careful and honest articulation of the ambiguities, uncertainties and painful conditions of life gives us new hope.”

“When we think about the people who have given us hope and have increased the strength of our soul, we might discover that they were not the advice givers, warners or moralists, but the few who were able to articulate in words and actions the human condition in which we participate and who encouraged
M Christopher
Aug 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
The late Henri Nouwen's works are always worth reading. I was surprised, however, when this book seemed to start off slowly for me. As I got into it, I realized that the first two "movements" of the book's title promise, "The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life," relate to things I've gone through some time ago (though I probably will again). The movement from loneliness to solitude is something that I've dealt with since I was a lonely / solitary child. The movement from hostility to hospital ...more
David Eiffert
Jun 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"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."

Henri Nouwen gets 5 stars no matter what out of principle!!!!!!
But even if that weren't true, it'd still give 5 stars to this book (and Wounded Healer, I mean come on).

We love you Mr Nouwen.
Nov 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Simply beautiful. ‘Reaching Out’ has easily become a favorite of mine. Chapters 5 and 8 were particularly practical. I would certainly recommend this for anyone in a pastoral role, but also for anyone who is interested in growing in their spiritual life with Christ.
Audrey Bienek
Jul 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Since I started reading this book I have reccomended it to over ten different people. We will be in the middle of friendly conversation and they will say something that will spark a connection to something I had read in the book and instantly I know that the answer they are looking for is found. In life there is a time where you realize the person you are and the person you want to be. This book embodies the person I want to be. The growth I want to achieve in my faith. This book doesn't provide ...more
Stephen Hicks
This remarkably slim book was my first entrance into Henri Nouwen’s writing. The overall structure of the book consists of these three movements from one disposition to another, much like opposing poles on a magnet.

The first movement, from loneliness to solitude, was one of the more ambiguous ones. Perhaps it’s my deep-seated Presbyterian/Calvinist leanings that cause me to struggle with the language of “inner life” and “deepest voice of yourself”. Regardless, I do think that by the end of the
Feb 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I was very thankful for this energizing & thought-provoking quick read. In an age of "me-centered" culture, Reaching Out was both challenging and refreshing. Nouwen pushed me to think differently about cultivating solitude rather than accepting loneliness... which is super relevant during an isolating pandemic! His chapters on hospitality did make me long for social gatherings but were inspiring too - to keep seeking out and serving others in creative ways. ...more
Kelley Kimble
Jan 26, 2021 rated it liked it
Really love Henry Nouwen’s work but this was not my favorite. An aside, this is the 3rd book I’ve read with reference to Philippe Petit, the man who walked a tightrope between the two World Trade Centers.
Erin *Help I’m Reading and I Can’t Get Up*
Not the Nouwen I'm used to. A little less poetic; maybe the closest he ever came to a manual for spiritual formation. Well-conceived and meaningful. 4 stars. ...more
Dec 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: i-own-hard-copy
I will read this book over and over again.
Andrew Roberts
Dec 01, 2020 rated it liked it
Some interesting and good ideas spread out through the book, but overall I was unimpressed by his writing style and the way he chose to get his points across.
Billy Hinshaw
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I still have yet to pick up a book by Henri Nouwen's own hand that I have found to be mediocre by any means. I first discovered this particular title as a citation in Leslie Verner's book "Invited," in which she shares her stories about hospitality. While Nouwen has a lot to say about hospitality in many dimensions, more importantly he zeroes in on three crucial movements of spiritual growth: loneliness to solitude, hostility to hospitality, and illusion to prayer. An essential work of spiritual ...more
Jul 21, 2020 added it
Shelves: henri-nouwen
Great follow up and expansion of “Making All Things New” Well written with much good news!2xs
Dec 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kathleen Curtin
Jul 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Nouwen offers counsel on moving from loneliness to solitude, from hostility to hospitality, and from illusion to prayer. In particular, his discussion of solitude was particularly helpful. For Nouwen, solitude is foundational to the other two forms of outreach because it provides a basis in the self from which to give to others. Nouwen takes solitude, usually not something that sounds very exciting, and presents it as a creative opportunity, a space within that can be offered to God and to other ...more
Jul 13, 2010 added it
Shelves: spirit, nonfiction
Doesn’t feel right to rank this one with the star-system; a good quiet read, especially the first two sections on loneliness/solitude and hostility/hospitality; Nouwen’s books repeat themselves often and also state the obvious, but I always find surprising new gems in his simple-seeming books.

Been thinking a lot about my philosophy of teaching lately, and he says beautiful things here about teacher as host, class as a space of hospitality: “A good host is the one who believes that his guest is c
Darryl Howard
Oct 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
A friend gave me this book while I was going through a major life transistion. Not having a strong religious foundation growing up, I found myself in the beginning of the book resentful and slightly offended that my friend thought I needed 'reached out to'.

As I read more, those feelings swiftly changed and I embraced every chapter; each movement. This is a short read, but I read it slowly and repeated many pages to really grasp the message. I really enjoyed it and will continue to reference it
Jul 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is a book I have given to a friend who was sick and had to stay home for a month. She told me later on that she thought it was mean of me to let her read this book when she herself needed to be reached out. Of course she was judging the book by its cover. Surprisingly the book ministered to her in touching ways.
May 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spirituality
The clear writing is straightforward and the book progresses logically in three movements: from loneliness to solitude, hostility to hospitality, and from illusion to prayer.
Aug 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I always appreciate Nouwen's writing. It is always inspiring and thoughtful. ...more
Apr 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Excellent book about the three movements of the spiritual life--transitioning from loneliness to solitude, hostility to hospitality, and illusion to prayer.
Erin Sundquist
Jul 13, 2015 marked it as to-read
Recommended by Emily. Mentions education and parenting.
António Manuel Esteves dos Santos Casimiro
Full of Life

I think this book can help to live with Life in the world where sadness is common! It is full of life!
Aug 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
One of the insightful and refreshing books on spirituality I have read. A real gem.
Micah Hester
Aug 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
My favorite book of 2015! Reading this book was a transformative experience for me.
Donner Tan
Feb 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Someone once quipped that Henri Nouwen was such a gifted writer that anything he scribbled out even on a discarded bus ticket deserved to get published! Having read many of his published works, I would nod heartily at that hyperbolic statement! There is in Nouwen's simple and beautiful literary expressions a profound grasp of life in the Spirit with all its odd tensions and paradoxes. This shows in the schema he uses in this book which sees the progress in the spiritual life not so much as a lad ...more
Aaron Brand
Jun 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book appeals to every single human on this planet, even if they do not realize it. Nouwen's 3 Movements of spirituality might turn some people off, especially the final movement from illusions to prayer. But they would be missing out on dramatic insights into the struggles that haunt each of us daily.

The first movement, from loneliness to solitude, teaches us to be at peace in silence and stillness. That seems especially difficult in today's hyper-connected, over-scheduled world (he wrote u
Jul 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: religious, 2018
From loneliness to solitude: "Friendship and love cannot develop in the form of an anxious clinging to each other. They ask for gentle fearless space in which we can move to and from each other. . . . 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."

From hostility to hospitality: "When hostility
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Contemplative Prayer
  • The Soul's Code: In Search of Character and Calling
  • The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry: How to Stay Emotionally Healthy and Spiritually Alive in the Chaos of the Modern World
  • Emotionally Healthy Spirituality: Unleash a Revolution in Your Life In Christ
  • Fathered by God: Learning What Your Dad Could Never Teach You
  • When the Heart Waits: Spiritual Direction for Life's Sacred Questions
  • The Mingling of Souls: God's Design for Love, Marriage, Sex, and Redemption
  • The Furious Longing of God
  • Dreaming the Dark: Magic, Sex, and Politics
  • Sex God: Exploring the Endless Connections Between Sexuality and Spirituality
  • Thoughts in Solitude
  • How To Know God: The Soul's Journey Into The Mystery Of Mysteries
  • The Cross and the Lynching Tree
  • To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings
  • Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places: A Conversation in Spiritual Theology (Spiritual Theology #1)
  • The Holy Longing: The Search for a Christian Spirituality
  • The Prophetic Imagination
  • A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society
See similar books…
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

Other books in the series

سلسلة الحياة الروحيّة (1 - 10 of 33 books)
  • العليّة في غمار الروح
  • المدعوّون في الكتاب المقدّس
  • الإنسان وفعل الروح
  • الروح القدس مدرسة الإيمان
  • رياضات القدّيس إغناطيوس - بنيتها وجوهرها وديناميّتها
  • مدخل إلى روحانيّة إغناطيوس دي لويولا
  • مَن أنتَ أيّها الكاهن؟
  • إخوتي جميع البشر
  • صلّ لتحيا
  • المشورات الإنجيليّة والنضج الإنسانيّ

News & Interviews

The idea for The Gilded Ones came to author Namina Forna in a dream. The recurring image was one of a young girl in armor walking up a...
44 likes · 2 comments
“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.” 132 likes
“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.” 131 likes
More quotes…