Welcome to our collection of quotes (with shareable picture quotes) by Henri Nouwen. We hope you enjoy pondering them and that you will share them widely.
Henri Jozef Machiel Nouwen (January 24, 1932 – September 21, 1996) was a Dutch Catholic priest, professor, writer and theologian. His interests were rooted primarily in psychology, pastoral ministry, spirituality, social justice and community. Over the course of his life, Nouwen was heavily influenced by the work of Anton Boisen, Thomas Merton, Rembrandt, Vincent van Gogh, and Jean Vanier.
After nearly two decades of teaching at academic institutions including the University of Notre Dame, Yale Divinity School and Harvard Divinity School, Nouwen went on to work with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities at the L'Arche Daybreak community in Richmond Hill, Ontario.
By prayer, community is created as well as expressed.
A friend is a hand that is always holding yours, no matter how close or far apart you may be. A friend is someone who is always there and will always, always care. A friend is a feeling of forever in the heart.
When we break bread and give it to each other, fear vanishes and God becomes very close.
True hospitality is welcoming the stranger on her own terms. This kind of hospitality can only be offered by those who've found the center of their lives in their own hearts.
Friends share our pain and touch our wounds
with a gentle and tender hand.
Do not tell everyone your story. You will only end up feeling more rejected. People cannot give you what you long for in your heart. The more you expect from people's response to your experience of abandonment, the more you will feel exposed to ridicule.
The best of community does give one a deep sense of belonging and well-being; and in that sense community takes away loneliness.
People who pray stand receptive before the world. They no longer grab but caress, they no longer bite but kiss, they no longer examine but admire.
A spiritual life without prayer is like the gospel without Christ.
Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place.
The mystery of one man is too immense and too profound to be explained by another man.
Who am I? Where have I come from? Where am I going?-are not questions with an answer but questions that open us up to new questions which lead us deeper into the unshakeable mystery of existence.
Community always calls us back to solitude, and solitude always calls us to community. Community and solitude, both, are essential elements of ministry and witnessing.
In solitude we become aware that we were together before we came together and that life is not a creation of our will but rather an obedient response to the reality of our being united.
God's Kingdom is a place of abundance where every generous act overflows its original bounds and becomes part of the unbounded grace of God at work in the world.
Waiting is a period of learning. The longer we wait, the more we hear about him for whom we are waiting.
Pay attention to the people God puts in your path if you want to discern what God is up to in your life.
There is nothing so important in the family as the sacred quality of the meal.
Those who think that they have arrived, have lost their way. Those who think they have reached their goal, have missed it. Those who think they are saints, are demons.
In solitude we become aware that our worth is not the same as our usefulness.
Beneath our frantic activities, there's a deep desire to show the world we are worthwhile.
We need to be angels for each other, to give each other strength and consolation. Because only when we fully realize that the cup of life is not only a cup of sorrow but also a cup of joy will we be able to drink it.
Lifting our cup means sharing our life so we can celebrate it. When we truly believe we are called to lay down our lives for our friends, we must dare to take the risk to let others know what we are living.
Today's reading was if they ask you to walk a mile, walk two. Don't take an eye for an eye or a tooth for a tooth. You have chances every second to live this Word, but it has to be in you. It can't just be an idea; it has to sink from the mind into the heart.
Good families always ritualize the table. You can say, This is a Christmas meal; this is a birthday meal.
When we are crushed like grapes, we cannot think of the wine we will become.
Is my growing old making me any closer to Christ? Am I only getting older or am I getting more godly?
When we give generously, with an abundance mentality, what we give away will multiply.
When we keep claiming the light, we will find ourselves becoming more and more radiant.
If you start with community and want to be faithful to community, you have to realize that what binds you together is not mutual compatibility or common tasks, but God. In order to stay in touch with that call to community, we always have to return to solitude.
The beatitudes say, Blessed are the poor. They don't say, Blessed are those who care for the poor.
The immense joy in welcoming back the lost son hides in the immense sorrow that has gone before....our brokenness may appear beautiful, but our brokenness has no other beauty but the beauty that comes from the compassion that surrounds it.
The third discipline is community. Whom do you choose as your companions? Whom do you choose to be friends with, to live with? Are they people who love you, and care for you, and nurture you?
I choose L'Arche; L'Arche chooses me. I would be dead if I weren't here. I need people to love me and care for me.
Jesus came to announce to us that an identity based on success, popularity and power is a false identity- an illusion! Loudly and clearly he says: You are not what the world makes you; but you are children of God.
Christian community is the place where we keep the flame of hope alive among us and take it seriously so that it can grow and become stronger in us.
Through discipline, discipline is the other side of discipleship. If you want to follow Jesus, you have to have discipline.
Our efforts to disconnect ourselves from our own suffering end up disconnecting our suffering from God's suffering for us. The way out of our loss and hurt is in and through.
The great challenge is to discover that we are truly invited to participate in the divine life of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
I am deeply convince that the necessity of prayer, and to pray unceasingly, is not as much based on our desire for God as on God's desire for us. It is God's passionate pursuit of us that calls us to prayer.
We need to remind each other that the cup of sorrow is also the cup of joy, that precisely what causes us sadness can become the fertile ground for gladness.
The deepest satisfaction of writing is precisely that it opens up new spaces within us of which we were not aware before we started to write. To write is to embark on a journey whose final destination we do not know.
In a strange way the spiritual life isn't useful or successful. But it is meant to be fruitful. And fruitfulness comes out of brokenness.
God, help me to see others not as enemies or as ungodly but rather as thirsty people. And give me the courage and compassion to offer your Living Water, which alone quenches deep thirst.
Where true inner freedom is, there is God. And where God is, there we want to be.
My hope is that the description of God's love in my life will give you the freedom and the courage to discover... God's love in yours.
Jesus says, Keep your heart on the kingdom first. Keep your heart on God's love. Keep focused on the fact that you are God's beloved daughter or son. That's the truth of who you are.
Take prayer with you wherever you go. Say it anytime, and then focus your mind and heart on God.
One of the most satisfying aspects of writing is that it can open in us deep wells of hidden treasures that are beautiful for us as well as for others to see.
No one person can fulfill all your needs. But the community can truly hold you. The community can let you experience the fact that, beyond your anguish, there are human hands that hold you and show you God's faithful love.
To the degree that we embrace the truth that our identity is not rooted in our success, power, or popularity, but in God's infinite love, to that degree can we let go of our need to judge.
Life is just a little opportunity for you during a few years to say, I love you, too.
The leaders of the future will be those who dare to claim their irrelevance in the contemporary world as a divine vocation.
As long as we continue to live as if we are what we do, what we have, and what other people think about us, we will remain filled with judgments, opinions, evaluations, and condemnations. We will remain addicted to putting people and things in their right place.
Community life is not easy for somebody like me, who is used to living by himself and doing what he wants. It's a demanding life, and you quickly get in touch with your own handicaps and weaknesses.
Life is a gift, not to possess, but to share.
Those we most love cause us not only great joy but also great pain. Love is stronger than fear, life stronger than death, hope stronger than despair. We have to trust that the risk of loving is always worth taking.
Let's not be afraid to look at everything that has brought us to where we are now and trust that we will soon see in it the guiding hand of a loving God.
The great call for the Church is to not just be concerned about right or wrong behavior, which is moral life, but about communion with God, which is mystical life.
I have found it very important...to let go of my wishes and start hoping.
I have found it very important in my own life to try to let go of my wishes and instead to live in hope. I am finding that when I choose to let go of my sometimes petty and superficial wishes and trust that my life is precious and meaningful in the eyes of God something really new, something beyond my own expectations begins to happen for me.
Aging does not need to be hidden or denied, but can be understood, affirmed and experienced as a process of growth by which the mystery of life is slowly revealed to us.
As we read spiritually about spiritual things, we open our hearts to God's voice. Sometimes we must be willing to put down the book we are reading and just listen to what God is saying to us through our words.
Through prayer we can carry in our heart all human pain and sorrow, all conflicts and agonies, all torture and war, all hunger, loneliness and misery, not because of some great psychological or emotional capacity, but because God's heart has become one with ours.
Feelings of guilt dominate our work as peacemakers we cannot last long. But when we have opened each other's eyes to the great human gifts among all people we can indeed make peacemaking a way of being.
A prayerful life is not a life in which we say many prayers, but a life in which nothing, absolutely nothing, is done, said, or understood independently of him who is the origin and purpose of our existence.
The spiritual life is a reaching out to our innermost self, to our fellow human and to our God.
A sense of solitude is one of the most beautiful things that parents can give a child. It doesn't mean leaving the child alone, but it does mean creating safe spaces where the child can be with other people. It does mean directing their attention to God.
The difference between rich and poor is not that the rich sin is more than the poor, that the rich find it easier to call sin a virtue.
One way to express the spiritual crisis of our time is to say that most of us have an address but cannot be found there.
To receive spiritual direction is to recognize that God does not solve our problems or answer all our questions, but leads us closer to the mystery of our existence where all questions cease.
It is not that the university as such is against spiritual formation. It is just that often the university does not know how to integrate spiritual formation within its academic disciplines.
Solitude is an essential element for the spiritual health of a child. If we only stimulate our children -- keep them busy with endless stories with no space to be alone -- that's not good.
As long as we have our stories there is hope.