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Spiritual Direction: Wisdom for the Long Walk of Faith

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  1,798 ratings  ·  106 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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 ·  1,798 ratings  ·  106 reviews

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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, & articles. the Bible
Luke Hillier
Sep 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christianity
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. ...more
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. ...more
Kurtis Allan
Feb 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Henri Nouwen is humble, insightful and authentic. Like few other writers, he offers himself to us. His reflection on writing as a spiritual discipline was particularly inspiring.
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
Feb 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: prayer, discipleship
This is a book that should be read slowly. It is really a collection of Henri Nouwen's thoughts on Spiritual direction put together by people who knew and studied with him. It comes with guided prayers and suggested topics for journaling. There is tremendous wisdom here, including insights into the necessary components for spiritual growth and the importance of both solitude and community. It is a short book, but it will take some time to properly digest it. ...more
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. ...more
Jan 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This collection of Henri Nouwen’s thoughts challenged me to consider my spiritual life with God as the beautiful and sacred thing it is.

Nouwen poked against the edges of my traditionally Protestant theology, and I’m thankful. I was challenged to think a bit differently about how I interact with God, my community, and the broader world.

This lovely little book needs to be soaked in. So much so that I want to revisit it in the future.
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.
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!
Sep 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful collection of Nouwen's spiritual direction principles on topics of identity, prayer, community and ministry ...more
Kevin Wojciechowski
Nov 01, 2020 rated it liked it
As with many other Nouwen books, you get some beautiful, vulnerable insights alongside some questionable theology. I think the title is a little misleading- this book isn’t particularly relevant for the field of spiritual direction.
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
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
Glenn Cameron
Sep 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was an agnostic for many years. I have opened to New Age spirituality in the past eighteen months. Organized religion is not something I adhere to so reading a book from a Catholic priest seemed strange to me. But Henri Nouwen shares truths that cross all religions and helped me open my own eyes and drop my judgements on religion.

It seemed with every chapter I would think to myself that there was nothing for me in the topic at hand, then I would be in awe of the words on the pages. There are n
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.
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!
Jun 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful little book on the topic of spiritual direction. The definition of "spiritual direction," as provided by the book is "a relationship initiated by a spiritual seeker who finds a mature person of faith willing to pray and respond with wisdom and understanding to his or her questions about how to live spiritually in a world of ambiguity and distraction."

The chapters of the book all have questions for titles. "Who Will Answer My Questions?" "Where Do I Begin?" "Who Am I?" "Where
May 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
In many ways this is typical Nouwen. But with a surprise. More of that in a bit. How is it typical? Well, so many themes: silence and solitude; the word of God and Lectio Divina; the intimacy and accountability of community are all there. They come to us in the, oh so often, three points Henri would make. They always include the witness of his life and many stories and parables to illustrate his points. His former students, Michael J. Christensen and Rebecca J. Laird, craft a marvellous work of ...more
Oct 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Best to slowly read small sections at a time...reminds us that we suffer from a fear of empty space, finding it hard to give up our work and preoccupations to create empty space...we fear the voice of God, not sure we would want to go in the direction God may call us to go. Reminds us the Bible is not primarily a book of info about God, but of formation of our hearts. Gave helpful methods of praying, meditating on scripture, and journaling. Author reminds us that all humans are limited in giving ...more
May 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have read many books by Henri Nouwen on Spirituality. This book is amazing because it offers an almost a "how-to" book on forming small groups to explore one's own spiritual journey. When he was a young priest, Henri Nouwen understood spiritual direction as a formal relationship for supervision and accountability between a mature spiritual leader and a new priest or minister. Later in life, he preferred the term "spiritual friendship" or "soul friend." Anyone looking for spiritual direction wi ...more
Summer Green
Nov 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I've spent a solid week seeping in this small and mighty book. It's beauty is in it's simplicity and honesty. I found so much that convicted me, challenged me, and encouraged me. One of my favorite chapters is entitled "Where do I belong". It focus on being in community with God through solitude greeting solitude. Giving God the space to be God and others the space to be human brothers and sisters. The chapter is one that I read aloud to my family, and will continue to sip it as the days go by, ...more
Danielle Shroyer
Mar 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is a collection of essays and writings put together after Nouwen’s death. And you can tell- it lacks the feeling of wholeness that comes from an intentionally structured book project by one author. This isn’t to slight those who put it together; they did a great job. It simply is what it is.

As always, Nouwen has wisdom to share. Much of it you have likely read in other places if you are familiar with him. But I still found myself grateful for his voice.
Sylvia Jeronimo
Jul 25, 2020 rated it liked it
This is a great primer in spiritual direction. Most useful if you have already experienced direction in some form , wether individual or group. The reflection questions at the end of each chapter are very helpful, as are the stories, practical suggestions, theological basis and personal experiences from Henri’s well documented life. If you are an avid Nouwen reader, add this one to your collection.
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.
Valerie Ohle
God, if you're willing, please send me to a mountain top cabin alone with plenty of blank journals, pens, no distractions, and adequate sustenance for the next time I read this book.

I loved this. As I said in an earlier comment, I wish I'd read this before I attempted Foster's Celebration of Discipline. This was so clear, so practical. This is going on my must-read list.
J K Hoffman
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
It was good, even though it was, at times, clearly pieced together from different writings. I liked that each chapter ended with an exercise based on the material in the chapter. Although I didn't do all the exercises, I do plan to go back to do more of them in the future. And, I'm looking forward to the other two books in this series. ...more
Oct 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Spiritual Direction: Wisdom for the Long Walk of Faith is based on the writings of Catholic theologian, Henri Nouwen. The chapters are organized around ten of life's basic questions, such as "Who am I?" "What is prayer?" and "How Can I be of service?" I read this book as part of my daily devotions, but it would be quite appropriate for group study. ...more
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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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“Thus, to receive spiritual help in time of need requires, first of all, not to deny but to affirm the search. Painful questions must be raised, faced, and then lived. This means that we must constantly avoid the temptation of offering or accepting simple answers, to be easy defenders of God, the Church, the tradition, or whatever we feel called to defend. Experience suggests that such glib apologetics animate hostility and anger, and finally a growing alienation from whom or what we are trying to defend. Be careful when life’s questions swirl around you in times of pain. Beware of easy answers or guarantees. Seek the companionship of others who will befriend you and listen as you live the questions of your life.” 0 likes
“Meditation means to let the word descend from our minds into our hearts and thus to become enfleshed.” 0 likes
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