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Spiritual Direction: Wisdom for the Long Walk of Faith

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  1,325 Ratings  ·  78 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
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published May 23rd 2006 by HarperOne (first published 2006)
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Apr 02, 2010 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
Apr 17, 2008 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
Stacey Lozano
Jan 19, 2015 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.
Luke Hillier
Sep 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion
This is the first new Henri Nouwen book that I've read in a few years (after a deep dive into his work in college) and it was so much like returning to an old friend. I just find his words to be so comforting, gentle, and wise; it was exactly the book I needed for a more stressful and anticipatory stretch I was in. I particularly liked his thoughts around solidarity, downward mobility, and compassion here, but the book as a whole was great.
Ann Gemmel
Jul 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Such a wonderful read. As was suggested - it is one to read through initially and then go back and take a chapter at a time. So much to ponder. I particularly was both challenged and touched by the chapters on community and service. This really is one that all Christ followers should read at some point in their spiritual journey.
Brenda H.
Jan 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This posthumously written book still captures Nouwen's passion for ministry and spiritual formation. This book is filled with very approachable material and guidelines to implement these disciplines in your everyday life.
Nov 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I highly recommend this book! Nouwen’s intuition, gentleness, and brilliance converge to encourage and direct. So good!
Jul 05, 2011 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
Edward Ortiz
Sep 23, 2012 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
Bob Price
Dec 19, 2013 rated it liked it
Spiritual Direction is a series of lectures based on Henri Nouwen's classes and articles he wrote 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
Buddy Draper
Sep 13, 2015 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.
Nov 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was fantastic to read.

A lot of questions I have about my own stage in life and what I’m becoming had light shed on them from this book. The book is divided into three parts: Looking within, Looking to God, and Looking to others.

Looking within asked questions such as, “where do I begin?” “Who am I?” “Where have I been and where am I going?” While the answers (and others I have personally) weren’t *completely* answered, they did provide a roadmap for me to travel.

Each chapter ends wit
Crystal Bedell
Jan 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I’m so excited for having discovered Fr. Nouwen. This book is beautifully written and truly offers “wisdom for the long walk of faith.” Nouwen is transparent and vulnerable, a true human with insights that can only come from a spiritual leader. My only regret is that I must return my copy to the library. I’ll be adding the hard cover to my Amazon wish list and making this a top shelf read.
Jen Heininger
Mar 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have yet to read anything by Henri Nouwen that I didn't love. He is so transparent in his struggles and moved thru life very honestly examining his sin. Great book on everyday struggle as well as living in community ("The Road to Daybreak" is another favorite of his along these lines.)
Jake Thurston
Nov 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: the-bffs-church
Another Henri Nouwen classic. So clear and thought provoking, putting a fresh twist on so many things that are essential to the Christian life but often get forgotten. Highly recommend!
Oct 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is an incredible book, and while not long, is chock full of great stuff. I read it purposefully slow, so that I could really chew on all that was written. Highly recommend this one!
Ann Augustine
Jun 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Very spiritual
Laurie Anthony
Nov 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A book to read and reread - so much to think about and apply to my life.
Jane Glen
Mar 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religious-faith
I cannot think of another author who so humbly, sincerely and profoundly speaks to the Christian walk. I am always challenged and blessed by his writings.
Harry Allagree
Nov 07, 2013 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
May 02, 2013 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
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
Jan 31, 2012 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
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
Aug 02, 2007 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 rated it really liked it
Shelves: faith, nonfiction
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
Aug 02, 2011 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
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.
Oct 15, 2009 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.
Jul 18, 2015 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.
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Spiritual Direction 3 10 Jan 13, 2014 12:29AM  
  • Life with God: Reading the Bible for Spiritual Transformation
  • The Magnificent Defeat
  • Sacred Companions: The Gift of Spiritual Friendship Direction
  • The Contemplative Pastor: Returning to the Art of Spiritual Direction (The Pastoral series, #4)
  • The Holy Longing: The Search for a Christian Spirituality
  • Soul Feast: An Invitation to the Christian Spiritual Life
  • The Attentive Life: Discerning God's Presence in All Things
  • Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter
  • God's Joyful Surprise: Finding Yourself Loved
  • Holy Listening: The Art of Spiritual Direction
  • The Promise of Paradox: A Celebration of Contradictions in the Christian Life
  • The Practice of Spiritual Direction
  • The Rule of Benedict: Insights for the Ages
  • The Divine Hours (Volume Two): Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime: A Manual for Prayer
  • Open Mind, Open Heart: The Contemplative Dimension of the Gospel
  • The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier
  • Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices That Transform Us
  • Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening
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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