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Love, Henri: Letters on the Spiritual Life

4.36  ·  Rating details ·  283 ratings  ·  56 reviews
Seven million copies of his books in print! This collection of over 100 unpublished letters from the bestselling author of such spiritual classics as The Return of the Prodigal Son and The Wounded Healer offers deep spiritual insight into human experience, intimacy, brokeness, and mercy.

Over the course of his life, Henri Nouwen wrote thousands of letters to friends, acqua

Hardcover, 375 pages
Published October 4th 2016 by Convergent Books
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Aug 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I will take any opportunity to read a book by Henri S J Nouwen. I was introduced to his writing in 2003, and through reading his books, I have grown spiritually, and this book will do that. Henri grew up in the Netherlands, where he entered the priesthood. He passed away in Canada in 1996, but in the intervening years, he wrote prolifically. Now, a collection of his letters have been anthologized in this book Love, Henri. There are many little quotes and little bits of wisdom that taken to heart ...more
Maggie Gust
Aug 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The publisher gave me an e-galley of this book in exchange for an honest review. In short, I think it is wonderful. The letters are "dense" in the most positive way, and I read this book in bite-size pieces, if you will. I have been a Nouwen fan since I read "The Wounded Healer" back in the early 1970s. He and Anthony Padovano had enormous influence on the young me who was trying to find a spiritual path in the turmoil of the Catholic Church post Vatican II. You do not need to be Catholic to ben ...more
Sep 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
I received an ARC of the book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book is a collection of letters that Henri Nouwen sent people over a span of many years. With each letter, we are not able to see what was originally written, but we are given a summary of who each person is and why they wrote to Nouwen.

This book, much like The Inner Voice of Love, is best read in small dosages. The information in the letters does pack a powerful spiritual punch. However, it is the case where if
Amanda Rogozinski
Oct 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It takes only a few letters to see that Nouwen had the depth and sharpness of thought of C.S. Lewis (not surprising since he taught at Yale and Harvard), and the all-encompassing awareness of the sacramental life that G.K. Chesterton had, while having a tenderness to the human condition all his own. The advice he offers is so life-giving because it is fearlessly convicting while maintaining the highest compassion.
I don’t agree with every aspect of Nouwen’s worldview (not that I agree with every
Emily Robinson
Jan 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Minus one star for a few theological concerns, and because several letters were "skim-able." I highlighted so many items in this one, so many thought-provoking, encouraging tidbits. Henri was constantly reminding others to pray, seek Christ in every circumstance, and unfailingly pointing them to the redemption and love that God has for them in Jesus. A reminder that no matter what words we offer our friends in crisis or struggle, the ones reminding them of God's character and sovereignty are the ...more
Ulvis Katiss
Mar 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dear Henri,
Thank you for leaving such an honest and affirming legacy. I am grateful for this collection of letters that allows others to look in a little deeper into your soul and find there a connection, a familiarity.
Your words to people that you knew, and sometimes didn’t even know, very easy to take to heart and imagine that you meant them for me and others as well because we knew and we felt that you love us.
May we be willing to live a fulfilled and joyous life as you did, in spite of suffe
Aug 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Henri Nouwen wrote letters, lots of them, to his friends mostly, but he also faithfully answered letters sent to him from all over the world. This book records his inner life through the lost art of letter writing. He encourages others, he is grateful for love and support, he shares his innermost struggles, and his chronic depression. For those who love his books, this is a reminder that he, like all of us, was vulnerable. His great faith overcomes.
Oct 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: devotional
I received a digital Advanced Reader Copy of the book Love, Henri, in exchange for an honest review.
Henri Nouwen was a Catholic priest who lived from 1932-1996, and was well known for his many books, but he also wrote letters to thousands of people over the course of his life and ministry. Having completed the organizing and cataloging of the vast collection of letters that Henri left behind, the archivist Gabrielle Earnshaw has done a masterful job of choosing a sampling of letters for this bo
Cynthia Archer
Dec 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This collection of Henri Nouwen's letters is not only faith filled, but full of common sense and wisdom. One of the things that struck me when I was reading this book, was the evolution of faith and thought in Henri Nouwen's own life that was evident in his letters. The book is divided into 3 time periods and arranged chronologically. As I began the collection of letters, I was not terribly impressed by Nouwen's responses. That changed as I read further, and I began to recognize the changing vie ...more
Jan 09, 2017 rated it liked it
WHAT I LIKED: I’ve been a fan of Nouwen for awhile now, but this brought him into another light for me. He is very open and vulnerable about his struggles and also gives very humble and wise advice to his friends. I can tell through reading this that he was a loyal and loving friend.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE: I only ended up actually reading around 2/3 of the letters for various reasons. Some were just boring (more factual than anything) and I didn’t feel like they needed to be included. Others because
Cj Rey
Jan 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is full of beautiful thoughts, comfort and encouragement from a man well acquainted with loneliness.

He calls us to trust that we are unconditionally loved by God. When we accept that, "it becomes possible to love without demanding love in return."

He understands the pain of relationships. "The risk of loving is always great because everyone you deeply love will also become a source of grief and pain for you at times during their life or by their death."

When counseling a friend on copin
Jan 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Reading Nouwen’s letters is a crash course on the art of friendship. But I would have had a hard time being Nouwen’s friend. I think we’re a lot alike in temperament, but he was too demanding a friend—and he needlessly pushed people away in the process. There are numerous theological concerns I have with Nouwen, but I appreciated reading these letters nonetheless.
D.A. Brown
Feb 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
This is a lovely book of spiritual writings but I found it a bit too old time antifemale to continue with. It's not a message I am comfortable with in the current environment and I'm too stressed to take on the mental arguing I would do while reading it. Recommended for firm Catholics, not wobbly ones like me. ...more
Annie Rose
Mar 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I can't say enough good things about this collection of letters. I have enjoyed Nouwen's writing for years, but getting this window into the way he nurtured other people was a blessing. This book gave me spiritual encouragement, and the only negative thing about it was that I wanted to be able to read the letters from the other side! ...more
Apr 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: spiritual
There were some amazing insights in some of these letters about struggles with loneliness, faith, death, anxiety, doubts within the church. It was a very insightful read. I highlighted quite a few quotes and will continue to read through them over and over.
Jp Perkins
Dec 24, 2016 rated it it was ok
I'm disappointed in this book. Most of the letters were mundane lists of what Nouwen was doing. I'm puzzled by why anyone thought that the majority of these letters would of interest to anyone. ...more
Jan 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Dear Henri,

Thank you for the very good letter.

You are God's beloved Child.

Please pray for me.

Love, Evan
Nathan Albright
Oct 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: challenge
[Note: This book was provided by Blogging For Books/Convergence Books. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]

While the thought that my own letters would be compiled with personal commentary after my death for readers would cause me to loose at least a night's worth of sleep in horror and expectation of shame and personal ruin [1], this book is a warm and intimate work that tends to make one think better of Henri Nouwen than one does already, especially to the extent that one sees the graciousnes
James Klagge
Jun 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful book. It must have been a real undertaking to select these letters from among the tens of thousands that Nouwen wrote. The letters are addressed to a wide variety of people covering a huge variety of topics--almost always offering thoughtful graceful meaningful words of encouragement or comfort. The man had an enormous spirit. He several times wrote to people who had lost a loved one, and he invariably included some version of this (p. 299):
As a Christian I often think about the word
Chris Woznicki
Nov 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Over the years I’ve read a lot of Henri Nouwen books. The reading of nearly everyone of these books is associated, in my mind, with some really important even or series of events in my life. To say that Henri Nouwen was there for some of these life changing/ministry changing moments of my life is something of an understatement. However, most of what I have read from Nouwen hasn’t been especially personal. Yes I know he has several “journals” or “memoirs” of certain seasons in his life and minist ...more
Katherine Jones
Oct 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
When I requested this book to review, I had no idea what a treasure I was about to receive. I asked for it because (dare I admit this?) I’d not read any of Henri Nouwen’s books, though of course his reputation is vast and I have often read excerpts of his writing. Based on what little I knew, I wanted to know more. So glad I chased that instinct.

Given that his last letter was written twenty years ago, its relevance came as something of a surprise. Although why should it? Many of the social issue
Aug 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Many Interesting Letters
Joel Jackson
Nov 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
In her epilogue to "Love, Henri: Letters on the Spiritual Life" Sue Mosteller states, "Henri's letters reveal the ever-evolving, ever-deepening, ever-struggling heart of my strong yet vulnerable friend." This statement, which also appears on the back of the book, certainly encapsulates this collection. Through the careful hand of Henri Nouwen as presented in these letters the reader is exposed to a man of passion, a man of integrity, a man of deep feeling, a man of love, and man of God.
Each let
Dec 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Prolific author, spiritual guide, many descriptors can be applied to Henri Nouwen and none of them would fully capture the life and impact he had on others. In Love, Henri: Letters on the Spiritual Life readers are given a glimpse into the life and thought of Nouwen as seen in letters he wrote to friends, students, and many others.

Highlighted in these letters is Nouwen's focus on ministering to others bringing them encouragement and spiritual direction. It would seem in today's world of pastoral
Rachel A.  Dawson
Oct 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
I am a major Henri Nouwen fan. I've read several of his books (browse through all the reviews of them here!) and always adore the thoughtful, humble, honest way he writes about life and faith. He never pretends to be without struggles, but instead vulnerably shares them and in doing so, beautifully points people to the cross and to Christ. Reading this book of letters was such a fascinating insight into more of Nouwen's life, struggles, feelings, and journey of faith. This book was so thoughtful ...more
Jan 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: faith, 2017
Upon his death in 1996, Henri Nouwen left behind a vast collection of personal letters. Archivist Gabrielle Earnshaw spent many years identifying, sorting, and cataloguing these letters and eventually collected thousands of letters from the original recipients. She compiled these letters into this first volume released in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of his death. Spanning 23 years and covering a wide range of topics, these letters are introduced with a brief description to put them int ...more
Oct 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian, biography
Henri’s Letters of Love and Encouragement

The note of forward from Brene Brown is worth the book in and of itself! She sites that there are two major patterns that emerge across all of Henri’s letters: 1. loving and listening to God and, 2. Carving out God-centered time in our lives. In this book, Henri encourages us to make time for listening, prayer, solitude, contemplation and thought. These are things that are so difficult to do in our society today and yet so important for leading a God-cent
Gabrielle Prose
Dec 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The collection of Henri Nouwen's letters was a slow, savory read. I appreciated the normal, real life topics addressed, but the beauty of the letters lies in the vulnerability of Nouwen. He is quick to dive below the surface issues & hit hard on the spiritual components. It was encouraging & inspiring & simple. His life lived in humility & clung tightly to God's word.

I savored this read more as a daily devotional style book. I found that as I read each letter, or a few in a row would be related
Summer bingo-Person on the cover
I was first introduced to Henri Nouwen's writings over 30 years ago when I read The Wounded Healer. Over the next several years I read many of his books and they influenced both my spiritual growth and the direction of my career.
What a joy it has been to read this book of his letters! He writes with the same transparency and honesty as one finds in his books and allows one to learn from how he has coped with his own personal struggles while remaining true to his
An inspiring collection of letters, that not only dealt with spiritual life but also with humane matters. I was touched by the care and attention Henry puts in every letter, and was bewitched by his manners in talking out serious and delicate matters.
I have kept some passages that did speak to my heart and opened the door for me to acknowledge God's Mercy and Love.
I was constantly worried as I was reading this during Ramadan that I might skip some deeply spiritual book, but I am positively surpr
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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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“But you need a spiritual discipline. You need a lot of time to pray, to spend time in solitude and to speak regularly about your love for God, and God’s love for you. Once you take this route life will certainly not become easier but it will be a lot more real and a lot more vital. Nurture your contemplative side, be in a constant conversation (conversatio) with Him, who loves you most intimately, and let yourself be swept off your feet in that great encounter. Don’t worry too much about Yoga or fasting. They might be helpful, they might not. They might even prove to be somewhat of a distraction. You will soon know. I wished that you could spend a good amount of time in a place where you can do nothing else than pray. Pray with words, songs, silence, or just pray by being here and now. Maybe you can go to an abbey or a monastery for that purpose. I love to help you find a good place. But it seems important that at some point you take time out for God and God alone so that after that you will have an inner sensitivity to the spiritual life which will also help you a lot in” 0 likes
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