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Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life by Henri J.M. Nouwen
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Reaching Out Quotes Showing 1-30 of 61
“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.”
Henri J.M. Nouwen, Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life
“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.”
Henri J.M. Nouwen, Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life
“The great spiritual task facing me is to so fully trust that I belong to God that I can be free in the world--free to speak even when my words are not received; free to act even when my actions are criticized, ridiculed, or considered useless.... I am convinced that I will truly be able to love the world when I fully believe that I am loved far beyond its boundaries.”
Henri Nowen, Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life
“It is tragic to see how the religious sentiment of the West has become so individualized that concepts such as "a contrite heart," have come to refer only to the personal experiences of guilt and willingness to do penance for it. The awareness of our impurity in thoughts, words and deeds can indeed put us in a remorseful mood and create in us the hope for a forgiving gesture. But if the catastrophical events of our days, the wars, mass murders, unbridled violence, crowded prisons, torture chambers, the hunger and the illness of millions of people and he unnamable misery of a major part of the human race is safely kept outside the solitude of our hearts, our contrition remains no more than a pious emotion. ”
Henri J.M. Nouwen, Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life
“a spiritual life without prayer is like the gospel without Christ.”
Henri J.M. Nouwen, Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life
“By prayer, community is created as well as expressed.”
Henri J.M. Nouwen, Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life
“In the midst of a turbulent, often chaotic, life we are called to reach out, with courageous honesty to our innermost self, with relentless care to our fellow human beings, and with increasing prayer to our God.”
Henri J.M. Nouwen, Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life
“It is my growing conviction that my life belongs to others just as much as it belongs to myself and that what is experienced as most unique often proves to be most solidly embedded in the common condition of being human.”
Henri J.M. Nouwen, Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life
“Just as words lose their power when they are not born out of silence, so openness loses its meaning when there is no ability to be closed.”
Henri J.M. Nouwen, Reaching Out
“Those who do not run away from our pains but touch them with compassion bring healing and new strength. The paradox indeed is that the beginning of healing is in the solidarity with the pain. In”
Henri J.M. Nouwen, Reaching Out
“Prayer is often considered a weakness, a support system, which is used when we can no longer help ourselves. But this is only true when the God of our prayers is created in our own image and adapted to our own needs and concerns. When, however, prayer makes us reach out to God, not on our own but on his terms, then prayer pulls us away from self-preoccupations, encourages us to leave familiar ground, and challenges us to enter into a new world which cannot be contained within the narrow boundaries of our mind or heart.”
Henri J.M. Nouwen, Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life
“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. Our”
Henri J.M. Nouwen, Reaching Out
“A good host is the one who believes that his guest is carrying a promise he wants to reveal to anyone who shows genuine interest.”
Henri J.M. Nouwen, Reaching Out
“We will never believe that we have anything to give unless there is someone who is able to receive.”
Henri J.M. Nouwen, Reaching Out
“Loneliness is one of the most universal human experiences, but our contemporary Western society has heightened the awareness of our loneliness to an unusual degree. During a recent visit to New York City, I wrote the following note to myself: Sitting in the subway, I am surrounded by silent people hidden behind their newspapers or staring away in the world of their own fantasies. Nobody speaks with a stranger, and a patroling policeman keeps reminding me that people are not out to help each other. But when my eyes wander over the walls of the train covered with invitations to buy more or new products, I see young, beautiful people enjoying each other in a gentle embrace, playful men and women smiling at each other in fast sailboats, proud explorers on horseback encouraging each other to take brave risks, fearless children dancing on a sunny beach, and charming girls always ready to serve me in airplanes and ocean liners. While the subway train runs from one dark tunnel into the other and I am nervously aware where I keep my money, the words and images decorating my fearful world speak about love, gentleness, tenderness and about a joyful togetherness of spontaneous people.”
Henri J.M. Nouwen, Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life
“The paradox of prayer is that it asks for a serious effort while it can only be received as a gift. We cannot plan, organize or manipulate God; but without a careful discipline, we cannot receive him either.”
Henri J.M. Nouwen, Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life
“Small, seemingly innocent events keep telling us how easily we eternalize ourselves and our world. It takes only a hostile word to make us feel sad and lonely. It takes only a rejecting gesture to plunge us into self-complaint. It takes only a substantial failure in our work to lead us into a self-destructive depression. Although we have learned from parents, teachers, friends and many books, sacred as well as profane, that we are worth more than what the world makes us, we keep giving an eternal value to the things we own, the people we know, the plans we have, and the successes we “collect.”
Henri J.M. Nouwen, Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life
“The main problem of service is to be the way without being “in the way.” And if there are any tools, techniques and skills to be learned they are primarily to plow the field, to cut the weeds and to clip the branches, that is, to take away the obstacles for real growth and development.”
Henri J.M. Nouwen, Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life
“But Karl Menninger did not accept any of these answers as the right one. His answer was “diagnosis.” The first and most important task of any healer is making the right diagnosis. Without an accurate diagnosis, subsequent treatment has little effect. Or, to say it better, diagnosis is the beginning of treatment. For Karl Menninger, speaking to a group of future psychiatrists, this obviously meant that the most attention should be paid to learning the diagnostic skills of the profession. But when we take the word diagnosis in its most original and profound meaning of knowing through and through (gnosis = knowledge; dia = through and through), we can see that the first and most important aspect of all healing is an interested effort to know the patients fully, in all their joys and pains, pleasures and sorrows, ups and downs, highs and lows, which have given shape and form to their life and have led them through the years to their present situation.”
Henri J.M. Nouwen, Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life
“One of the greatest tragedies of our culture is that millions of young people spend many hours, days, weeks and years listening to lectures, reading books and writing papers with a constantly increasing resistance. This has become such a widespread phenomenon that teachers on all levels, from grade school to graduate school, are complimented and praised when they can get the attention of their students and motivate them to do their work. Practically every student perceives his education as a long endless row of obligations to be fulfilled. If there is any culture that has succeeded in killing the natural spontaneous curiosity of people and dulling the human desire to know, it is our technocratic society.”
Henri J.M. Nouwen, Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life
“But in Solitude, we can pay attention to our inner self”
Henri J.M. Nouwen, Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life
“We probably will never be free from all our hostilities, and there even may be days and weeks in which our hostile feelings dominate our emotional life to such a degree that the best thing we can do is to keep distance, speak little to others and not write letters, except to ourselves.”
Henri J.M. Nouwen, Reaching Out
“We all are children and parents, students and teachers, healers and in need of care.”
Henri J.M. Nouwen, Reaching Out
“Why is it, that many parties and friendly get-togethers leave us so empty and sad?”
Henri J.M. Nouwen, Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life
“Although after many years of living we often feel more lonely, hostile and filled with illusions than when we had hardly a past to reflect upon, we also know better than before that all these pains have deepened and sharpened our urge to reach out to a solitary, hospitable and prayerful mode of existence.”
Henri J.M. Nouwen, Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life
“The more we come to the painful confession of our loneliness, hostilities and illusions, the more we are able to see solitude, hospitality and prayer as part of the vision of our life.”
Henri J.M. Nouwen, Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life
“Maybe my own deep-rooted fear to be on my own and alone kept me going from person to person, book to book and school to school, anxiously avoiding the pain of accepting the responsibility for my own life.”
Henri J.M. Nouwen, Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life
“If prayer, understood as an intimate relationship with God, is indeed the basis of all relationships—to ourselves as well as to others.”
Henri J.M. Nouwen, Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life
“Many students have been for so many years on the receiving side and have become so deeply impregnated with the idea that there is still a lot more to learn, that they have lost confidence in themselves and can hardly imagine that they themselves have something to give, not only to the ones who are less educated but to their fellow students and teachers as well.”
Henri J.M. Nouwen, Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life
“I remember a student presenting with great enthusiasm a summary of a book on Zen meditation while his own life experiences of restlessness, loneliness and desire for solitude and quietude remained an unknown book of knowledge to him. Just as words can become obstacles for communication, books can prevent self-knowledge.”
Henri J.M. Nouwen, Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life

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