Announcing the Book Selection for Lent 2023!

The Inner Voice of Love: A Journey Through Anguish to Freedom
by Henri J.M. Nouwen

Welcome to the Henri Nouwen Lent Book Discussion!

We are delighted to present The Inner Voice of Love: A Journey through Anguish to Freedom as the featured book for Lent 2023.

The Inner Voice of Love is a journal of Henri’s darkest days, the most difficult period of his life. It has, however, been called a life-changing book; it gives us deep insight into Henri’s struggles that led to the most fruitful time in his life and to the publication of his spiritual masterpiece The Return of the Prodigal Son and Life of the Beloved, among others. This book is for everyone who is seeking spiritual growth. It is ideal for anyone looking for solace from the brokenness, grief or disappointment that touches each of our lives in one way or the other.

It is written during a time of recovery from a breakdown that left Henri feeling he had lost everything: self-esteem, the energy to live and work, the ability to love and be loved… even his hope in God. But out of this incredible personal anguish comes healing and hope – a light to dissipate the personal darkness in which Henri found himself enveloped.

Henri’s journal reflects a fierce inner struggle following what he called “an interrupted friendship,” a friendship that he had come to depend on, only to find himself seemingly abandoned and rejected. He left his community, went into counseling therapy, and during this period, after each counseling session wrote a “spiritual imperative” — “a command to myself that had emerged from our sessions. These imperatives were directed to my own heart. They were not meant for anyone but myself.” Which is precisely what makes them so powerful.

“Exhaustion, burnout, and depression are not signs that you are doing God’s will. God is gentle and loving. God desires to give you a deep sense of safety in God’s love. Once you have allowed yourself to experience that love fully, you will be better able to discern who you are being sent to in God’s name.”

-Henri Nouwen, “The Inner Voice of Love”

We hope you will join us during this season of Lent, as we read through this meaningful and challenging book, that will most definitely offer courage and hope to us all.

Our discussion moderator is Ray Glennon, familiar to many of our blog readers  who have participated in previous book discussions.

Need a copy of the book? It is available at many bookstores, If you don’t have a copy of “The Inner Voice of Love”, you can purchase it through Amazon USA or Amazon Canada

Things get underway on February 22, 2023, with welcome and introductions . The reading schedule is now posted and can be accessed by clicking on the 2023 Lenten Reading Schedule link in the top black bar. We’re looking forward to a meaningful, spirited and inspired discussion! Be sure to tell your friends. Everyone is welcome.

48 Replies to “Announcing the Book Selection for Lent 2023!”

  1. Several of you have quoted or commented on the importance they found in Henri’s words on pp 9 – 10. I confess that I do not grasp the meaning of the last paragraph on p. 9. He says: ‘The great task is to claim yourself for yourself, so that you can contain your needs within the boundaries of your self…’ Would somebody please put these thoughts into other words for me. Also, continuing on p. 10 ‘..only people who posses themselves’.
    What does this phrase ‘possess themselves’ mean? What could be equivalent word(s) for ‘possess’? I would appreciate your thoughts on these questions – Many Thanks, Jannie

  2. Just wanted to give my greetings to this online book discussion. Thank you for putting this together for Lent. I am looking forward to hearing others reactions to the readings.

  3. Thanks to those offering this Lenten discussion. As always with past offerings, I know we will be enriched by sharing thoughts on this book. The title invites me to go within my soul sanctuary.

  4. This is my first time joining a Lent discussion on line with the Henri Nouwen Society. I am looking forward to the next few weeks.
    I was introduced to Henri through a biography I bought many years ago at Aylesford Priory Kent and attended a retreat based on his life. I have several books written by him of which ‘The Inner Vouce of Love’ is one. I have also listened and watched Henri’s lectures on You tube.

  5. Looking forward to the Lenten discussion and seeing what question prompts you provide us with, Ray, to help us think and pray about Henri Nouwen’s insights in the book and benefit from our Lenten discipline, drawing closer to Jesus. These blogs are much appreciated!!!

  6. Hello, I’m looking forward to joining this book study! I’ve had this book for a very many years, and remember how helpful it was to me way back . I’m thankful for the opportunity to do something for lent that is so meaningful.

  7. I have had this book for many years. It always amazes me when I read it as it provides such depth and insight into the human experience and my faith. I am very much looking forward to reading and discussing with the group. I have never finished the entire book….so it will be wonderful and insightful to delve into this masterpiece of Henri Nouwen’s at this time in my life. A great start to Lent.


    1. Hello Jill,
      Welcome! Because this will be a blog based discussion there is no set time for you to access the post. You can check in on Ash Wednesday at your convenience and read what Ray will have posted and then comment on it if you choose.

  8. Looking forward to this book! I love LENT season. I’m in a season of grief, mourning the loss of a marriage, in a season of growth and recovery. I’m going deeper with God. I’m so glad I’ve found this Book and group. The timing is perfect.

  9. Hello, fellow participants! I just ordered the book from Amazon and it will be here on Tuesday, just in the nick of time. This will be my first time with the Henri Nouwen Lenten discussion groups. I am really looking forward to it and to reading everyone’s comments and insights.

    1. Hello everyone!
      I am excited about joining the Lent book discussion with all of you.
      Thank you, Ray, for leading this and thank s to everyone for sharing the experience.

  10. I’m looking forward to joining in on this discussion. When I pulled the book from my shelf and looked at the opening page, I discovered I last read it in2012. It will be insightful to see what I commented, highlighted or left a remark by as I go through this season. Much has changed in my life since then, but through it all, God is good.

  11. Happy to see that I already have this book of Henri’s on my shelf. Live in NC. Have not decided yet on what to give up for Lent but have decided to join all of you in going through this book. Praying for God’s love to change our hearts and souls.

  12. I’m looking forward to this group. What a lovely way to encourage us to ‘do’ Lent together. I purchased the book and am ready to go.
    I’m posting this partly as a test and partly to say ‘hello’ to everyone!
    This is my first try at an online book discussion.
    Pam in Calgary AB

  13. I´m so excited to share this book with this nice community.
    I hope reding this Henri´s book will make my lent more spiritual and deep.
    I wish you all the same.
    Blessings to everyone

  14. Thanks to the Nouwen Society staff for providing this opportunity. The past books and the discussions have been spiritually enriching.

  15. Ssounds like we don’t have to sign up with any kind of account, correct? We just make a point of logging onto the website on Ash Wednesday and on Sundays and if we want to comment it’s just like this —I didn’t have to do anything to make this comment so as long as it goes through, I guess that’s the way it will be —So please regard this just as a test message and maybe respond with a quick confirmation, please?. I’m looking forward to this. It looks like a great book. Thank you so much.

  16. I’m a little confused also. I would love to join. Will the reading dates pop up on my email? I’ve been directed to several site pages. If I may suggest a Google calendar invite link so we know what days readings will occur.

    1. Welcome Janet. Sorry for any confusion. No, unfortunately we do not have a Google Calendar set up for this discussion group. We will look into it for future events. Good idea! This time around you will need to check the blog on Ash Wednesday and then on all the Sundays in Lent for Ray’s posts . . . here is the link to the blog:

  17. Welcome Julie and Kenneth,
    The online book discussions are conducted on this blog. On Ash Wednesday, and then on the six Sundays of Lent, you will find a new post on this site at The post will assign the reading for the week, provide some ideas for your consideration, and pose some questions that may prompt the online written discussion. Participants then comment on the post as you did for this one. The discussion takes place in the comments at the convenience of the participants.

    We look forward to you joining us. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask.
    Ray Glennon
    Henri Nouwen Society Book Discussion Facilitator

    1. Henri’s words who’ve beeen in spiritual food for me for many years. I have tried to use the season of Lent of remembrance of what Jesus did for,others, and use that time to give with more compassion to others. A time of giving not giving up!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *