Ray's Reviews > Following Jesus: Finding Our Way Home in an Age of Anxiety

Following Jesus by Henri J.M. Nouwen
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it was amazing

Following Jesus by Henri Nouwen is destined to be a Christian classic. It is simple . . . profound . . . and life-changing. Highly recommended.

“Are you following Jesus? I want you to look at yourself and ask that question. Are you a follower? Am I?” With those words, Fr. Henri Nouwen began a series of six talks presented during Lent 1985 on following Jesus. These never-before published talks were deftly transcribed and faithfully edited by Nouwen archivist and scholar Gabrielle Earnshaw into the recently released book Following Jesus – Finding our Way Home in an Age of Anxiety by Henri J. M. Nouwen.

The words said by Henri Nouwen to an ecumenical group listening in the basement of St. Paul’s Church in Cambridge near Harvard where he was teaching are not dissimilar to what might have been said by St. Francis (Nouwen’s favorite saint) to his brothers at the Portiuncula in Assisi. And those same words would be a most appropriate in a homily at Mass or anyplace that Christians gather to share their faith. This wonderful little book prompts us to listen for Jesus saying, “Follow me. Don’t keep running around. Follow me. Don’t just sit there. Follow me.” Each day we have the opportunity to accept or ignore the invitation. The choice is ours.

Through Scripture and his keen understanding of human nature and our woundedness, Nouwen gently guides us to follow Jesus in six steps starting with The Invitation (“Come and See”); responding to The Call (“Come Follow Me”); accepting The Challenge (“Love Your Enemies”); bearing The Cost (“Take Up Your Cross”); sharing The Reward (“My Joy Will Be Yours”); and living The Promise (“I Will Be With You Always”). At every step, Nouwen reveals God’s love for us as individuals and as a community of believers and helps us to see how Jesus calls us into relationship with him and his Father.

In a letter to his nephew Marc, Henri Nouwen wrote, “If you were to ask me point-blank, ‘What does it mean to you to live spiritually?’ I would have to reply, ‘Living with Jesus at the center.’” Following Jesus is Nouwen’s personal testimony about how to live with Jesus at the center. Nouwen writes, “Following Jesus is focusing on the One who calls and gradually trusting that we can let go of our familiar world and that something new will come.” And, “(Following Jesus) is a letting go of our worldly self to find our true self in Jesus.” Continuing on, “Following Jesus means following the Lord who is the Lord of history, the Lord who is with us here now and here, at this moment.” Finally, “(Following Jesus is) to live fully in the present, because God is always the God of now, of here. The day in which we live is the day of the Lord. . . . Prayer and service are at the heart of following Jesus.”

You might consider reading this book yourself during Advent and then giving it as a Christmas gift to those you love. There is no better holiday gift than choosing to follow Jesus and Henri Nouwen is a trustworthy and spirit-filled guide.

Online Book Discussion of Following Jesus during Advent: Following Jesus is the book that will be discussed in the Henri Nouwen Society online book discussion this Advent. We will gather in a virtual community for Introductions beginning on Wednesday, November 27, 2019. Our discussions start on Sunday, December 1, 2019. For more information: http://wp.henrinouwen.org/

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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
November 2, 2019 – Shelved

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