Advent Week 4 – Dec 17th to 23rd – Conclusions

“…tell everyone that I’m grateful, that I’m enormously grateful.
Make sure you tell everybody that!”
(p 346, Love, Henri)

Reading: Epilogue

Welcome to our final week of the Advent 2017 book discussion.  The reading for this week is the Epilogue, but we also encourage you to also flip back through the book and re-read a few of the letters that really spoke to you.

1. Please share with us your main “take away” from this book discussion, and your plans to carry it with you into the New Year.

2. As you flip back you may notice Henri’s growing realization of the power and beauty of gratitude.  Please share with us your own expression of gratitude this Advent.

As we conclude this discussion and prepare for the coming of our Lord at Christmas, we have a special gift from the Henri Nouwen Society for all those on this Advent journey.  At the 2016 Way of the Heart International Conference,  Gabrielle Earnshaw, editor of Love, Henri, and actor Joe Abbey-Colborne gave a stirring and memorable presentation and dramatic reading of a number of Henri’s letters.  You are encouraged to take the 53 minutes to watch this wonderful video by following this link and entering LoveHenriAdvent as the password.

Thank you to each of your for your presence with us.  Your comments and responses have been a source of encouragement to others.  I also want to acknowledge once again all of those who journey along with us silently.  We value your presence too!

We hope to see you all again for the Lent 2018 book discussion.  Watch your email for the start date!

Wishing you all a Spirit-filled Christmas.


Ray and Brynn

Advent Week 3 – Dec 10th to 16th

“We have to dare to say: ‘Whether I feel it or not, whether I comprehend it or not, I know with a spiritual knowledge that I am God’s beloved child, and nobody can take that divine childhood away from me.”
(p332, Love, Henri)

Reading: – Letters starting with the letter addressed to Steve on February 25, 1992 [page 291 of book] through to the end of Part III.

Welcome to another week.  It has been a really lovely discussion so far (as always!).  In this week’s readings you will find much to encourage and challenge your heart.  Please share whatever comes up for you in the readings.  Below are a few questions that might help to start our discussion.

1)“First the Kingdom.”  In a letter to Steve dated February 25, 1992, Henri shows us what is practically means to seek first the Kingdom of God in our life decisions.
a) What is your response / reaction to this letter?

2) “Fruitfulness.” In a letter to a gathering of youth dated February 5, 1995 Henri distinguishes fruitfulness from sucessfulness. “Successes come from strength and power.  Fruits are born in weakness.” He picks up the theme again in a letter to Ron dated February 20, 1995.
a) What might a transition from successfulness to fruitfulness look like in your life, or in an area of your life?  This might be in a relationship, a position, a thought pattern.

3) “You are the Beloved.”  Rejection is something we all experience and struggle with to varying degrees in our life.  In a letter to Catherine August 30, 1995, Henri recognizes how deeply painful this can be, but strongly encourages her to choose gratitude instead of bitterness or resentment.  Similarly, in a letter to Mr. Chisholm dated August 4, 1996, Henri encourages him to “not focus on their ‘rejection’ but on your own belovedness so that when they return home they will find you with a forgiving, peaceful and rejoicing heart.”
a) Practically speaking, how can you / will you choose gratitude in moments of painful rejection?
b) How might this choice impact those around you, even those from whom you experience the rejection?

Looking forward to another week of rich discussion.


Ray and Brynn

Advent Week 2: Dec 3rd to 9th

“I still consider it as the greatest of all good news that we have been chosen by God from all eternity…”
(p 264, Love, Henri)

Reading: Letters starting from the beginning of Part III through to the letter addressed to Judy on January 31, 1992 [page 290 in book].

Welcome to a new week!  As you’ll read in Gabrielle’s introduction to this section, these letters represent a very fruitful time in Henri’s life.  He produces many books, including his popular “The Return of the Prodigal Son,” and he accepts many speaking engagements.  More notable, however, is his growing sense of inner peace.

Below we offer a few questions to help you reflect on the readings, but please feel free to share anything that came up for you through the letters.

1) In a letter to Jutta dated April 8, 1990 Henri writes “the greatest temptation is to lose touch with the Blessing.  We are the Beloved Sons and Daughters of God.”
a) As you read through these letters please share any text or comments from Henri that help you claim or understand your Belovedness before God.

2) In a letter to Dan dated October 25, 1990 Henri speaks words of encouragement and direction to his friend who was going through a dark night of the soul.
a) What pieces of practical advice do you gleam from this letter, and others in the book, for ways to live through such painful times?

3) In a letter to Colin dated January 10, 1991 Henri encourages us to “choose life” at every stage, including later stages in life.
a) What would it look like for you to choose life in the situation and stage of life you are living?

We very much look forward to hearing from you!

Ray and Brynn