Reading: The Inner Voice of Love: A Journey Through Anguish to Freedom
Introduction & A Suggestion to the Reader, p. xiii to xxi
I never lost the ability to write. In fact, writing became part of my struggle
for survival. It gave me the little distance from myself that
I needed to keep from drowning in my despair. (p. xvi)
Do not read too many of these spiritual imperatives at once!
They were written over a long period of time and
need to be read that way too. (p. xxi)
A warm welcome to each of you—those returning for another Henri Nouwen Society book discussion and those joining us for the first time. As always, a wonderful, caring, and spirit-filled community of seekers will gather to read, reflect, and discuss one of Henri’s forty books. This Lent we will explore The Inner Voice of Love: A Journey Through Anguish to Freedom, Henri’s secret journal written during the most difficult period in his life.
As Henri describes in the Introduction, the sudden interruption of a deeply satisfying friendship led to an emotional and spiritual breakdown so severe that he needed to leave his community for six months for counseling and healing. Writing the spiritual imperatives in this book—originally intended for him alone—were an important contributor to Henri’s recovery. Many of Henri’s most significant books, including The Return of the Prodigal Son and Life of the Beloved, were written after he returned to his community and they are brimming with spiritual insights that Henri refined while in his emotional and spiritual crucible. This Lent we will enter the crucible with Henri by reflecting on the spiritual imperatives he wrote on his journey through anguish to freedom. We can follow Henri’s example as he turns his eyes upon Jesus, and therefore leads us to a place of hope and new life. This book is equally for those who are in a time of deep anguish and for those who are in a time of peace and joy, and want to be reminded of practical ways to keep their eyes on our Savior. We begin our discussion in earnest on Sunday, February 26th with the first 13 spiritual imperatives.
As we begin our Lenten journey together, it’s always nice to know something about our companions. Over the next few days you are encouraged to introduce yourself. You may choose to share:
- Your general geographic location.
- To whom or what you dedicate your days or energy, and why.
- How you came to know and read Henri Nouwen and whether or not you have participated in previous Henri Nouwen Society online discussions.
- What you hope to gain from this experience.
- Any comments you have on Henri’s introduction
Please scroll to the bottom of the page to post a comment introducing yourself in the
“Leave a Reply” box and to share other thoughts as we embark on our Lenten journey.
Shown below my signature is a brief personal introduction followed by the book discussion instructions for those joining us for the first time or interested in a review.
Ray Glennon, Moderator: Ray and his wife Dawn live in Columbia, Maryland. He came to know and trust Henri’s written word in 2004 when he discovered The Return of the Prodigal Son for sale after Mass in Singapore at a difficult and transformative point in his life. He began participating in these book discussions in 2010 and has served as a moderator since 2014. Ray has presented adult education courses based on the life and work of Henri Nouwen. Ray and his wife belong to the Secular Franciscan Order (OFS) and he volunteers in various ministries in his Catholic parish and at the Franciscan Shrine of St. Anthony. You may contact Ray by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can follow him on Twitter.
Henri Nouwen Society Online Book Discussion Instructions
Let’s briefly describe how our online book discussion works. If you’ve joined us before, this will serve as a review.
Beginning this Sunday, February 26th, and each Sunday throughout Lent, a new entry or post will be added to the book discussion (the blog) home page. The post will identify the reading for the week, present a brief moderator’s reflection, and suggest some questions for discussion. Participants are invited and encouraged to comment on the post by responding to the suggested questions, by sharing their own reflections, and by replying to the comments of others throughout the week.
To read the comments or to leave a comment of your own, scroll down to the bottom of the post. If you don’t see any comments, click on the small link at the bottom that says
## Comments. To leave a new comment, continue scrolling down and use the “Leave a Reply” box. To reply to someone else’s comment, click the Reply link directly below their comment. After you submit a new comment or a reply, it needs to be “approved” either by me or Tammy at the Henri Nouwen Society so it may take a few hours before it actually appears on the blog page. If you have any questions or problems, please do not hesitate to contact me by email at email@example.com.
Hello, I live in California and look forward to reading The Inner Voice of Love by Henri Nouwen. I’m also looking forward to reading others thoughts and sharing my thoughts on what I read and pray about. Thank you.
Reading ‘Enter the New Country’ I was reminded of ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’ and also the Israelites wandering through the desert. I too have been reluctant to leave what was not ideal for me, even though I knew there was something better out there for me. I feel the tug still to keep moving toward, that this is not my final destination, that there is something way better waiting for me just up ahead. It’s You, my Lord, only You Who can fill this desire
Good morning, I’m ferdinand and living in the beautiful Leisure Bay on the south coast of South Africa. I first met Henri in 1995 when I wad down and out…i saw his videos on “You are me beloved son. ” From then on i was hooked on Henri. I am retired and is my wife’s care giver as she has avery rare small brain sickness called MSA-C. I need this journey because it’s tough and hard.
My name is Ineke Reitsma and I live in the Rocky Mountains in South West Alberta, Canada.
This will be my third Henri Nouwen Book discussion. Bit late signing in because it took a while to get the book. It finally arrived last Friday and I hope to catch up. Didn’t want to miss it.
Greetings! I live in Hamilton, NY, a small town in Central NY State. I live with my wife of 40 years, Beverly. We have 3 daughters and 5 grand-kids, all pretty close by which is a huge blessing. I’m a retired school counselor and administrator, and came back from retirement to work as a substance counselor, probably one of the best jobs I’ve ever had. I am passionate about helping people with recovery, and helping them overcome their stigma and marginalization. My first Nouwen book was The Way of the Heart in a training class around 10 years ago, and that book changed my life. This my first online book discussion. I’m hoping to truly know God better and allow him into the recesses of my heart throughout this Lent and beyond.
Nouwen’s intro strikes me in 3 ways: it was his secret personal journal (I’d NEVER share mine); he kept writing despite his pain, something I have tried to do and encourage others to do; and that “spiritual freedom often requires a fierce spiritual battle.”
So after giving myself a bit of time to recover from reading the first part of this week’s readings, I went back today to finish. Ever since I took my vows as a Benedictine oblate, I have longed for a centered spirituality, a peace that only Jesus could provide, while attending to the mundane. I longed for a silent life, a cloistered life, but this type of living doesn’t help to pay the bills, so I kept putting my dream to live that kind of life aside. I don’t think I ever intended to keep it there forever, but it’s looking
like that now. I know that You are with me on this journey, and that You will guide my steps from here. I know that I will not find genuine love until I can finally see You. Will You allow me to hug You?
I am Jamie from Virginia and was introduced to Henri Nouwen when going through a serious depressive episode thirty years ago. The Life of the Beloved was crucial to my healing, and I reread it regularly. I am honored to be in the amazing company of this group on this Lenten journey.
Hello all. This is my first online book discussion. I feel blessed and excited to be a part of this large diverse group that read Henri’s books! I have loved Henri Nouwen’s writings for many many years. He has mentored me through many tough life journeys. And continues to advise me:-) I have lived all over: Chicago, Michigan, Ontario, British Columbia, California and newly settling into Bellingham Wa near the Canadian border. I’ve done many things as well: social worker, hamburger slinger, retail, occupational therapist, caregiver, student, pastor wife, mother…. Changes are lovely and stimulating but often put me in a place of rediscovering what HOME and belonging really are. I walk into lent with you all.
I was introduced to Henri Nouwen so many years ago that I don’t even remember how I found him but am so thankful that I did. I love all of his books and the way he communicates his thoughts. I live in Texas with my husband of 45 years. We have 2 grown children …. a son & a daughter…. and 2 grandsons. Most of my day is filled with working for my daughter in her business that serves the special needs community. Other than that, I am very involved in service work. I decided to join this online book study to deepen my spiritual faith this lent and also because of the book that would be involved, as this is one of my favorite books!
Greetings from Casper, Wyoming. I spend my days as the receptionist of St Patrick’s Catholic Church. This is my first experience with an online discussion of any kind. I’m looking forward to sharing this experience with all of you. I was first introduced to Henri Nouwen’s writings while I was living in a religious community. His words have often brought comfort, openings for sharing my faith with others, and spiritual growth in my faith journey.
I have read many of Henri Nouwen’s books and participated in the online book discussions before. They are very spiritually nourishing to me!
I am a retired kindergarten teacher and spend a lot of time with my three young grandchildren who live nearby. I love to take my dog on walks and read.
My husband and I are members of a small Episcopal Church near where we live in Mills River, NC in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
I am looking forward to reading Henri’s writings once again,
I suffered a devastating job loss a few years back. After two years of depression, I reached out to a therapist for help. Unfortunately, that relationship ended up being as devastating as the job loss. By God’s grace I found the courage to connect with another therapist and this time our work together has been wonderful. It has been helpful for me to bring excerpts of Henri Nouwen’s writings to my sessions from time to time. My therapist highlights the psychological elements of the excerpts while I focus on the theological elements. It’s almost as if Nouwen wrote this particular book with me, and my situation, in mind.
Hello Everyone, I am really looking forward to doing this book study online! It is the first time I’ve done anything like this and I’m very interested to see how I learn to be closer to Christ and to see how other people’s journey goes too.
I do think, I may have not clicked on the right thing to join, and am late in doing the introduction, but did figure it all out (I think ;0) and didn’t want to skip the introduction.
I’m from Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada . I’ve been following along with the Henri Nouwen meditations since covid started and they are all wonderful! So applicable to going through the day!
There are a lot of people on this study, so I’m not sure how to go about reading the posts, it’s a bit too many to read them all, I think.
One thing I’d like to say in my introduction is that I’m a retired early childhood education (and former primary teacher from a long time ago), I find it tricky to sometimes determine my direction in life at this time, because it was already so obivious when working. I’ve noticed as we begin to age more, depression can occur for a variety of reasons. Studies like this and the meditations really keep my perspective: I am beloved of God, and move out from there.
Thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity. !!
Greetings from Pretoria, South Africa. We experience troubling times in our country and the situation is getting worse. I first read the Prodigal Son and it opened up a new world. Since then I have read and reread many of Henri’s books. My hope is to find the courage to live each day with hope and intention in these trying times.
Good Morning I am living in rural North Carolina and in SC near family in the winter mlnths. , I am a retired Occupational Therapy clinician. I wish I could still work as I know I served my purpose and mission then. However, my husband’s health is declining and he needs me more. My grown family are the crux of my heartache these days and they cannot get along with each other. If they were grown, they would all get a spanking. I feel as though I have lost my family and purpose.
I was introduced to Henri Nouwen’s writings last Lenten season through “Drawn to the Cross”. Since then my Pastor friend gave me the devotional, Bread for the Journey. I just received my copy of “The Inner Voice of Love” and am eager to join you all.
My prayer is that we all find out inner voice of Love and share that with humanity.
May God bless you all….
Hello, my name is Sandy and I recently moved to Fort Myers, Fl, but I’m from New York City. I’m newly retired and am establishing a new routine with exercise, and involvement in church and community activities. I first was introduced to Henri Nouwen on retreat over 25 years ago and I immediately feel in love with his work. The two books that have stood out for me was the Life of the Beloved and the Return of the Prodigal Son. I’ve had this book on my shelf for years so I’m happy I now have an opportunity to read it in community.
Trust that he will show you the next step” this really spoke to me, since I am under the spiritual direction of a wonderful priest right now, who is helping me in my lack of relationship with a blessed mother. My temptation is to try and try very very hard to establish a relationship with her, but I am beginning to see that this is the Lords work of transformation, not mine, and I need to just trust him and let go and let his grace transform me in a chord with his will, regarding this relationship with his mother!
Joan, thank you for sharing about your lack of relationship with the Blessed Mother. I also struggle with this and I appreciate your giving this to Jesus, it gives me hope and companionship. I will keep you in prayer.
Greetings to all! I am a retired teacher of students with special needs and educational diagnostician. I live in a small town in Louisiana. My older sister, a spiritual director, introduced me to Henri’s writings years ago and I’ve loved all the ones I’ve read. His writings, along with scripture and prayers, have helped me in my journey to be the best version of myself. I am so excited to be part of this book discussion!
I live in Miami, FL, I am a realtor. I am unfamiliar with the book and this is my first time to participate with the Henri Nouwen Society.
I want to just listen and quiet my judgmental brain.
I live in Pasadena, CA and this is the first time for me too. Your comment about quieting your judgmental brain resonates with me. I want to do the same.
I live in Colorado and I get to see God’s smile every morning when I look at Pikes Peak.
I am a professor at a seminary and I care for my students for their inner life formation more than simple academics.
I have been reading Henri’s books since 2008 at the invitation of a close friend who shared a video with me of Henri speaking at the Crystal Cathedral in California. His sharing opened a path to the belovedness of Christ given to me.
I long to continue to grow and change into the true self God wants for me. I don’t want to conform to what I know, what I can control, and things I know well.
Thanks for the opportunity to be in this community. I think I started a little late in this journey, but here is my brief introduction.
Greetings from the Big Apple: New York City! Ihave joined several of these discussions before and always find Henri’s wisdom valuable. He has been a long time mentor through his books. Retired from teaching, then tutoring, and from serving two terms on our Parish Council, I have time to engerize my spirituality by using the many resources offered online. Married for 37 years, my husband and I enjoy time in nature. He does while pedaling to and from as he goes shopping, takes rides in the park or picks up from our library DVDs and books. I like walking in greenery which is available to us in nearby cemetery. Turtle talk is fun! Often the large heron visits. What patience it shows as its eyes scan the lake for a fish meal! It’s true that nature is the first Bible. I have learned life lessons over and over from my observations. At times I’ll take a photo to capture a living meditation on trees, or blooms or rocks. How great for us to be here in fellowship with Henri and each other. You are invited to visit my blog site called Tendinghope at WordPress.
Beginning of Lentern Book Discussion
(Henri Nouwen Society)
Book: The Inner Voice of Love
Hi! I’m Ling, from Singapore.
Many decades ago, when I first started work, I suffered a difficult time of betrayal by fellow believers, and was introduced to the writings of Henri Nouwen by my spiritual director. His words were healing balm. He also inspired me to visit and live with L’Arche Community Philippines for short stints during my school and later work vacations. Those were formative years of my life.
Fast forward to recent years when I walked through breast cancer and cancer-related fatigue. Nouwen’s insights continue to give me daily strength. Just as I am feeling better physically, my teenage daughter is discovered to have a massive tumour which engulfed most of her left lung. The surgical removal is just completed; we’re awaiting pathology reports. We’ve been led on a roller coaster ride in the past two months, toggling between hope and despair as medical professionals came back with diverse reports of the nature of this rare tumour. The latest points to it being cancerous, requiring aggressive treatment. We’re still awaiting more conclusive findings and finailisation of treatment plan.
It is very heart-wrenching to watch a loved one suffer; I felt it’s so much worse than walking through the cancer journey myself. So yes, this Lent is a time of anguish for me. I may not be able to follow the discussion very diligently, but hope to read as and when possible. And it’s just comforting to be part of a community, journeying together in our faith.
Ling, know that a lot of us will be praying for you and your daughter, whether you post much or not. Please let us know what the pathology reports say. Yes, I agree it’s much harder to watch a loved one suffer than have something happen to yourself. May God send comfort.
Thank you so much. Just having community and prayer support is so reassuring to us on this journey.
Greetings! I live in Minnesota in the driftless area surrounded by bluffs and deer with my husband & 2 little daughters. My husband, who serves in the Air Force Chaplaincy, introduced Henri Nouwen to me almost 10 years ago but I didn’t start reading his books until recently. He was introduced to him by a chaplain, Fr Bruno.
My long friend and spiritual director who guided me from a dark place in my life and into the Catholic Church, died last year during Lent. And then lost my mother in law in October. We moved south of the Twin Cities last August and as I was unpacking found the book, “Spiritual Direction” and fell in love with Nouwen’s writings and have gathered all his books that belonged to my husband next to my chair! His writings have brought me such great comfort and beautiful guidance. I’m truly looking forward to this Lenten book discussion.
I live in Schenectady, New York, and I am a retired clinical social worker. Many years ago my spiritual Director at the time introduced me to Henri Nouwen and I have read some of his books. I feel like he knows me because he speaks so much of what is in my heart and spirit, I have learned so much from him, especially from his courageous, openness and vulnerability and humanness. I’m so grateful to be part of this group.
Hi from Sioux Falls, SD. I am “retired” and feel a little lost after many years of working outside our home. I continue to enjoy learning. I was introduced to Henri Nouwen’s daily meditations a few months ago, through a facebook post by a fellow parishioner, and signed up the same day to receive the daily emails. This is my first Lenten journey with this group and I look forward to this shared experience. God bless!
I am humbled reading your introductions. I am a retired teacher of students with special needs and professor of education. I have just recently been introduced to Henri Nouwen and have read Return of the Prodigal Son. Currently I am reading and discussing Seeds of Hope with three friends. I begin my days by reading his Daily Meditations. Although I have spent much of my life in solitary pursuits (studying, researching), four years ago I began to experience the gifts of being in an active church community. Learning, reflecting, working together has deepen my understanding and faith. I hope to experience and share these gifts as a first time member of this online community.
I am a Franciscan Sister for 52 years and have read all of Henri’s book. I am always touched by his simple spirituality and look forward to sharing on this book.
I live on the Central Coast/Ventura Co area of California. I have enjoyed reading so many introductions here. What a great opportunity!
I was deeply impacted by Nouwen’s book “Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life” in August 1999. I know the timeframe well as, at that time, I had the book with me in the local pediatric ICU, where I believed we might be experiencing the last hours of our infant daughter’s life. She was struggling with severe, constant seizures with no end in sight.
Much of what Nouwen shared in that book – particularly on the topic of hospitality (allowing the Holy Spirit to play welcoming/wise host to our suffering, looking at it , versus pushing it off or reaching outside of ourselves for means to quickly numb the pain and despair), took root and began a process that revolutionized my inner life and relationships.
The daughter mentioned above is now 23. She functions cognitively at around ages 1-3 years old and has a lifelong seizure disorder. I am her 24/7 primary caretaker, helping her with 100% of her daily activities and needs.
The process of learning to welcome and work with life as it is, sparked by Nouwen’s words, finally digging into the deep versus superficial modernist approach to our ancient scriptures, as well as the blessing of Buddhist practice and insights have made life with my precious daughter mentally and emotionally sustainable.
Yet, as any struggling with life situations like this have experienced, there are times when we can mentally, emotionally, and physically hit bottom and, frankly, start looking for exits of various kinds. I am really hoping this book with give some insights on Nouwen’s thinking/reflecting at such a time, not just for myself but, importantly, for others struggling in such times.
Kevin, I do hope the readings and this group discussion are God’s way of providing help and hope for you. I also hope you will seek support from people and resources near you that can offer more direct and tangible help. You are not alone. Help is an available. May God bless you.
Hello all from southern Louisiana. This is my first book discussion group that I participate in. My younger Sister told me about Henri Nouwen books and shared some that she had. I loved them all and have grown spiritually through him. I am looking forward to reading comments from others about this book. We are all on a journey in this life to the next and I am looking forward to growing through this experience!
God Bless you all!
Greetings to all! I am Rodney joining from Austin, TX. I’ve engaged in several Henri Nouwen online discussions. I first became aware of Henri 20+ years ago when I was introduced to his book, “Return of the Prodigal Son” which was exceptionally inspiring and instrumental in my spiritual growth and transformation.
Hi, I live in Indianapolis, IN. I am the “retired” mother of 4 grown sons and grandmother of 6 grandsons. This is my first time joining in these book discussions. I’m hoping to grow in my spiritual life with this Lenten exercise.
I first encountered Henri Nouwen in 2018 when I purchased his book You Are the Beloved. I love reading these daily meditations. To me, reading Henri Nouwen feels like you are talking with a friend who understands exactly what you’re going through in your spiritual life.
I’m Caroline from Florida, a retired teacher for students with special needs.
I first heard of Henri many years ago when I was introduced to his book,
Clowning in Rome. I have since read several of his books but my favorite has always been, The Inner Voice Of Love. This sounds like an opportunity for growth and knowledge. I look forward to rereading this book and hearing what folks have to say.
Your general geographic location: Toronto, Canada
To whom or what you dedicate your days or energy: Full time Office Administrator of an elementary school and a Artist Facilitator working with individuals on a volunteer basis in my spare time.
How did you came to know and read Henri Nouwen and whether or not you have participated in previous Henri Nouwen Society online discussions: I was at a retreat and and I had a session with a Jesuit priest who suggested that I look up the “Wounded Healer” by Henri Nouwen back in November 2022, and I have been listening and reading Henri’s writings ever since. This is my 1st book discussion.
What you hope to gain from this experience: Deeper knowledge of Henri’s writings, and connecting with others who are learning to put his teachings into practice.
I live in Lexington, Ky. I am a therapist, working mostly with couples. I have been a fan of Henri Nouwen for a long time a friend suggested our men’s group read this book for Lent, so we are. I am unfamiliar with this book and this is my first time to participate with the Henri Nouwen Society.
As a Lenten practice, I want to just sit with this material and listen and quiet my analytical, psychotherapeutic brain.
I discovered Henri’s wonderful life giving writing a year after his death when I was living in a community in North Devon. I think The Inner Voice was the first. I’ve read it several times, it’s the book of Henri’s I give most often to others. The daily meditations and podcasts from the HNS also nourish me on my journey. I am a music therapist living in Bath, England. I’m overwhelmed with life and work at the moment. The thought of Lent when I feel I’ve been struggling for several months felt too harsh yet I long to draw close to my saviour and experience my own healing as I try to bring healing to others. I saw this and thought yes. The online is a first and already looks overwhelming but want to be part. Blessings on you all. Hope your day is good and the journey ahead more wonderful than you could ever imagine. Valerie.
Good morning from the Netherlands. As there are so many emails to read, I only wish to say that this is the first time i will follow one of the online groups to study the teachings of Henri Nouwen. I am part of an international parish here where we have an active refugee project and very open minded priest. It is an inner attunement for me to knit together human and divine throughout this Lent season. I wish all many blessings light, love and life.
Since I mentioned earlier that I had quoted Henri Nouwen in one of my articles, I reread it and discovered that I included two quotes from him, one of which was from the introduction to the book we’re discussing now!
In case you want to read my article, here’s the link: https://betterhumans.pub/how-our-wounds-can-be-sources-of-healing-instead-of-shame-13a1ffd67ab9?sk=f9fa7e370a61325d9f8ec3631d7fcd5c
Thanks for sharing Wendi.
Great article reminding me of other Henri books Wounded Healer for example.
Thanks so much for letting me know you read and appreciated my article. Wounded Healer was the first Henri Nouwen book I read and it was very helpful and encouraging.
I really liked your article! Thanks. Henri was a big part of the process that eventually let me grow beyond feeling I was a failure because I didn’t/couldn’t meet my parents’ and husband’s expectations.
Thank you, Cel. I couldn’t live up to my parents’ expectations either (they were so high I don’t think anyone could, and unfortunately I internalized those expectations and am still my harshest critic).
I spent much of my life desperately seeking approval from anyone I looked up to. Making them proud and being praised for my accomplishments was like a drug I couldn’t live without.
I’ve gotten much better at making choices that I know are right for me even if others whose opinions matter to me don’t agree with or support those decisions. I’m still my own worst critic, though, and because I recognize my “shoulds” and negative self talk as destructive I make things worse by beating myself up for beating myself up!
My name is Regina and I live in Southern Ontario in a rural area. I was introduced by my spiritual director to Henri many years ago, and through his works have deepened my faith in many ways. Through many twists and turns in life i feel very fortunate to have his experience, teaching and life lessons. I have read this book on many occasions and find it very meditative to “delve deep”. It is a true classic on my shelf. I hope to gain more from this discussion group and hope to read the comments as much as I can. Sometimes I found reading Henry’s book; even a few words or a few sentence(s) was enough for one thought to ponder.
I have never done this discussion before …so this is part of my lent “fast” if I may say such.
Thank you for listening.
Your general geographic location: Manly, Sydney, Australia
To whom or what you dedicate your days or energy, and why: Food Technology Teacher, Northern Beaches Christian School
How you came to know and read Henri Nouwen and whether or not you have participated in previous Henri Nouwen Society online discussions: 1st Discussion group and first read Henri Nouwen when my Pastor lead us in a weekend retreat studying Return of the Prodigal Son.
What you hope to gain from this experience: live my life with greater love.
It is by reading “… It gave me the little distance from myself that I needed to keep from drowning in my despair. ..” bring me here. Once I post a comment here, that means I am joining the discussions, is this right? Thank you.
Warmest Regards from Toronto Ontario.
Greetings from Kingston Ontario Canada.
I had a bad case of Covid in September of 2022. I already suffered from osteoarthritis, but a terrible cough from Covid put my back out and I’ve been suffering constant pain since then. An MRI showed many problems of my spinal discs and OA throughout. Through physiotherapy and Aquafit, I finally began to have less pain, when two weeks ago I fell and hurt my shoulder.
So here I am, laid up again, in another season of pain. I need some encouragement!
I am a retired minister/chaplain, and now serve my church in many different ways, mostly by zoom, phone, and some worship services.
I first read Henri Nouwen while a student for the ministry at Tyndale University in Toronto, like Abbie, in courses in Spiritual Formation. He has always spoken to me during times of crisis, and I am looking to God for further encouragement during Lent and this season of forced inactivity.
Hello, my husband and I live in a suburb of Detroit, Michigan. I first learned of Henri Nouwen and his books when I took a Stephens Ministry training class and we shared his book The Wounded Healer. I have been involved in caring ministry for quite a few years and currently am learning how to support nursing home residents. I have been helped along the way in my faith journey by caring people and my hope is to also be a blessing to others in their sorrows and their joys. Henri Nouwen, through his insightful writings has been a true and reliable mentor spiritual writer to me. I also always received many additional nuggets of insights through the sharing on this blog and have been participating for several years now, looking forward to maturing this Lenten season too.
My name is Pat and I live in Edmonds Washington. I am a retired pediatric nurse practitioner as of June 2022. I first read Open Hands and Aging by Henri Nouwen in the early 1980s when I was a hospice volunteer in Spokane Washington and have followed the daily meditations for about 3 years now. I have 2 adult children who live nearby and 2 granddaughters. This is my first experience with an online book group and must say I feel blessed to be part of this journey with you.
I am a 59 year old widow living in New York. I am a school district administrator on Long Island. I have five adult children, one grandson, and a new grandchild on the way.
I have been interested in spirituality since my teenage years. I found Henri Nouwen’s books back then just browsing in a Catholic bookstore. I love the Genesee diary but am looking forward to delving into this book with this discussion group. I had read it years ago and unpacked it from the back of my bookshelf!
I have been praying with the daily meditations for a few years, and also subscribe to the daily meditations from the Center for Action and Contemplation (founded by Richard Rohr). I have not participated in these Lenten online discussion groups before but I have taken two online courses with the Center for Action and Contemplation. Both of them included a vibrant discussion group, so I am looking forward to joining here as well!
Prayers for all as we seek God’s voice and are drawn more deeply into Love.
My name is Michael, i’m based in Cairo, Egypt!
It’s my first time to participate in this kind of online bookclub, I’m a bit concerned that i might not continue and do the effort needed but i’ll try to take it step by step.
I’m 37 and married. I came to know Henri through the same book we are about to discuss through its Arabic translated version. Since then, i have read many books for Henri and became attached to him.
I hope i can share and learn from each one of you. I’m trying to rediscover my faith in this lent time and i hope i can find my way back to God through Henri’s words and light.
May you rediscover your faith as you journey with us during lent through Henri’s book. As Henri writes “You have to trust the inner voice that shows you the way. You know that inner voice … Only by attending constantly to the inner voice can you be converted to a new life of freedom and joy.” (page 6) As I read this I was reminded that our God invites us to be on a Journey of transformation to that new life of freedom and joy from whatever struggles we are experiencing. As I mentioned in my initial post I was a student assistant of Henri Nouwen while a student at Yale Divinity School. He would be pleased that someone is reading his book translated into Arabic. My wife and I will be visiting Egypt and the Holy Land for the first time in April.
Hello! I am a Faith Community Nurse from New Brunswick Canada. I have been drawn to Henri Nouwen’s spiritual insights for years but have only participated in one online study of the book Flying, Falling, Catching -which captivated me. I look forward to yet another journey of deep inner realization of self and God’s unending love.
Hello from Wisconsin. I am a Catholic convert of 37 years, having grown up in the Presbyterian Church. My husband (about to retire) and I have been married for 40+ years. I was my mother’s caregiver for 10+ years. She passed away in 2021. I miss her every day. I didn’t realize when she passed, that the loss I felt for her would bring an equally deep sense of loss for my Dad who passed away over thirty years ago. I thought I had dealt with that fairly well. My husband and I are caregivers for our adult handicapped son who lives with us. He is amazing. He has a progressive condition that breaks my heart when I allow it to go there.
I have been reading Henri Nouwen’s Daily Reflections for years and find they almost always touch my heart deeply. I, like many of you, have many of his books. My copy of this book, which I have only completed half, is filled with many colors of highlighters and sections underlined, starred, and circled in my subtle attempt to remember not only what Henri had written, but how much it connected with me and my desire to hang onto it. I have never been in an online book discussion before. I look forward to the insights of my fellow Lenten travelers.
Hello Jane, Thank you for your introduction. Like you I was caregiver for my mother, and also my husband’s mother for 10+ years; both have died in the last two years. Like you the deaths of our two Moms and the sense of losses weave in and out of each other, and have brought me a deep sense of the losses of our two Dads many years ago. I hadn’t put it so clearly as you did, thanks for saying that. Good fellowship. Together we’ll make it. My husband and I have been married 50 years this year. I’m mostly retired, my husband continues to work as a chiropractor, beloved by his patients. We live in Los Angeles. I wrote an intro on the 22nd. 🙂
jean-paul marie justin
lay contemplative in the diocese of dallas
For the not wanted
For the disappeared
For those under the oppression of extinction
For those facing execution
… and for all who share the journey
Many years ago, I asked Mary to teach my heart the prayers of Holy Saturday. That was nearly 20 years of silent unfolding answer. No one talked about Holy Saturday except as the day for last minute shopping. Some took Easter meal food to the church to be blessed before the intensive cooking and cleaning. A bishop offered a homily which seemed to be a bookmark for the day but really didn’t seem to know it as only Mary knew Holy Saturday.
Waiting… I was a Clare to those Francis people supporting immigrants, migrants and refugees. I began to know the Passion of Waiting. It was Henri who found me through his Spirituality of Waiting, through his Waiting of God, through the Stature of Waiting and Holly’s Spiritual Gifts of Waiting. I began sending “packets” to Shepherds of flocks in the Passion of Waiting. A natural disaster throws a whole community into the Passion of Waiting and through the Holy Spirit and Shepherds the Spiritual Gifts of Waiting can bear fruit watered by the Grace of God.
Online participation —
While serving in planning discussions for a new library construction some dozen years ago, I realized that we were fast approaching the point of people being excluded because they didn’t have the “price of admission”, that is the technology that gives a person a seat at the table. And if someone does get a seat, the tech skills are simply assumed. Digital literacy to means the being in possession of the skills to “Create Digital Participation”. I took a vow to be in solidarity with “digital simplicity”. No Camera – No Mic = a marginalized experience. Though I introduce that limitation and even advise of the limitation during registration — it is quickly forgotten — and there isn’t an accommodation offered. While I post a comment in the chat — not even the moderator looks in chat. A breakout room experience is time half wasted as people try to get me to turn on a mic and a camera. Digital literacy and the price of admission tech toys are so normalized today that it can disturb the peace to appear at the table without them.
Sometimes — it is just better to sign up and listen to the recording of the session.
Sometimes — I can forget that in 8 years 71.5 million of us will be over 65 and lose mobility, and hearing and vision — and digital connectivity will be our ONLY access to community.
Sometimes — I can forget that all 71.5 million of us will enter our personal Palm Sunday, our personal Holy Week of dying and rising in Our Lord Jesus Christ and someone will put a belt around each of us and lead us — yes, well Henri really talks about the Passion of Waiting better than I.
What do I hope to give and to receive — I have no idea. I go where God looks for me. My part? is to say yes or no to showing up. To either resist or accept the Grace of God and the Paraclete abiding in my heart.
It was strange for me to not attend Ash Wednesday worship yesterday. It was also strange that I didn’t miss the experience or even think about it much, given that I was a pastor until 2020. My theological beliefs are shifting and my own experiences and those of others have left me very cynical about the church as an institution and the behaviors of many who consider themselves faithful Christians.
My husband and I will worship at a local church this Sunday that seems promising based on its website’s welcome statement and the congregation’s history of participating in Pride parades, among other things. We recently moved here and the first church we tried was not right for us.
I am encouraged by those of you who have mentioned positive experiences with churches that encourage study and discussion of Henri Nouwen’s and Richard Rohr’s writings and are spiritually nourishing in other ways.
I can relate to your shifting beliefs and suspicions of institutional church. This struggle to find community (that I miss deeply) has brought me to this group. Thanks for sharing your vulnerability with all, a model that Henri certainly gave us. 🙂
Thank you, Margy. I participate in several supportive online communities and am very grateful for them. I still crave meaningful in person relationships, though.
Thankfully the church my husband and I visited Sunday was welcoming and seems promising. Time will tell. I need to stop looking for things I don’t like or agree with and accept that no church (or any other group of humans) is perfect or capable of meeting all of my needs. I can be spiritually fed even if I don’t like everything that is served.
I am from Singapore
What a joy to see the journey we are traveling together for this Lenten season. I live in the Eagle River Valley in Colorado west of Denver, where my husband and I are in local church ministry. I was introduced to Henri Nouwen during my college years (almost 50 years ago!) and have been a fan ever since. More recently I have used his little book “In the Name of Jesus” with small groups engaged in a spiritual formation process. This is my first time to engage in the online discussion here. Having just celebrated Ash Wednesday, I was struck by this line early in the introduction “I had come face to face with my own nothingness.” The focus on our service last evening was, of course, “from ashes and dust you come – to ashes you return.” So fitting.
I’m a Roman Catholic Christian in Boise, Idaho and I’ve been reading Nouwen books for years. I didn’t know that discussion groups were a thing here, and I’m so glad that I’ve found you all. I’ve led book club discussion groups online myself, so I am anxious to see how it’s done here.
I’m a hospice caregiver, mother of 3 and grandmother of 6. I’ve been a Benedictine oblate for 30 years, and in the past, I was a high school math teacher, I like to paint watercolors, and I led a retreat at the abbey on Praying with Icons.
Good to meet you, Suzanne. I’m an Oblate, too.
Hello, everyone! So glad to be part of this online reading group during Lent. I am a deacon in the Los Angeles Archdiocese. My wife and I are parishioners at the American Martyrs Catholic Community, where we facilitate our parish bereavement ministry. I am also the Regional Deacon assigned to the Bishop for our San Fernando Pastoral Region. I read religiously the daily mediations posted by the Henri Nouwen Society. And love them. I have gained so many spiritual insights from Henri Nouwen’s writings. I previously participated in the online discussion for Henri’s book Community, which was amazing. I still refer back to that book constantly. I am looking forward to being a part of this group during Lent 2023.
I am a newbie to the Nouwen universe. His mystic spiritual life attracted me. So this is an opportunity to dig in to what it’s all about.
I live in Alabama and I am a retired United Methodist pastor. Lost of grief and loss going on in our church right now. I have never been in an online discussion but this book seemed perfect for the here and now. Henri Nouwen has been my favorite person to quote in sermons. I have been reading his works for a long time and I know this time with all of you will be a great blessing.
Hello from south eastern British Columbia, Canada.
I have almost an entire bookshelf of Henri’s books, including The Inner Voice of Love. I’ve participated in other on-line book discussions and appreciate Ray Glennon as moderator as well as the international and interdenominational flavor of the many people who participate.
Greetings all. I teach at a university in the Cleveland, OH area. I had the privilege of first meeting and hearing Henri Nouwen in the early 1980s. He and his writings helped those who were not Roman Catholic discover the world of spirituality. He was particularly helpful because he was willing to share his experience and develop his theology from that point. This resonated with my own Quaker spirit. While the Genesee Diary is my favorite book, The Inner Voice of Love is a good way to engage this season of Lent. May his experience and his words open us up to our own experience and, perhaps, give us fresh ways to articulate our Lenten journey with the Spirit.
I live in Toronto, Canada.
I am retired Professor and now a full caregiver for my husband who suffers from progressive aphasia and lost the ability to talk and walk.
I live in a wonderful condominium and I am blessed to have many friends here who support me emotionally and somehow spiritually as well. Besides caring for my husband I like to challenge myself with various activities. Thus, I am also a member of the board of directors of the condominium and work with the others to provide an efficient and friendly environment to our Residents.
I was introduced to Henri Nouwen many years ago and have read many of his books; loved them all. It felt to me as if he was writing to address my questions and feelings. I have the one which is up for discussion and it will be good to reread it again.
I used to receive the daily meditations but at some point they stopped. I also never participated in the online discussions. So, when I received this email a couple of days ago I thought it was an opportunity for spiritual growth by participating now.
From Wendi Gordon
I’m a former pastor and now a freelance writer. My husband and I just moved from Austin to Houston (actually Cypress), TX last month. I’ve read and appreciated Henri Nouwen’s books for many years, starting with “The Wounded Healer.” I liked that one so much I quoted from it in one of my recent articles, “How Our Wounds Can Become Sources of Healing Instead of Shame.”
Although I’ve read many of his books, somehow I missed “The Inner Voice of Love,” which is probably the one I most need to read. I have a long history of depression, sometimes quite severe. The pandemic and related events that led to the abrupt, totally unexpected, and very painful end to my career as a pastor greatly exacerbated my depression and I am still struggling to recover.
From the comments I’ve read, I know I’m not the only one here who lives with depression and anxiety. I can see I’m also not the only one questioning some things I was taught and reassessing what I really believe about God.
I look forward to an interesting and fruitful discussion here!
My name is Felipe and I live in Coral Gables, Florida. I have been a subscriber to the Nouwen Society meditations eNewsletter for some time and look forward to reading this book as I suffer from my debilitating chronic conditions which has affected my health, faith life and my personal as well as professional relationships. By reading this book I hope to receive some healing which I have been searching for a long time. I hope someone from this group; a voice; a light in a very dark place will reach out to me.
Thanks for your honesty. In that “dark place”, as you describe Jesus is with you. There is a quote that I love….which has applied to me….”there is a crack in everything..that is how the light gets in” Jesus is our light.
Hope this helps
I was looking through passages that I underlined when I read this book years ago and am reminded of how relevant this book now, ten or twelve years later.
I am a former college professor, hospice and hospital chaplain, writer, wife, mother, and grandmother. I have been caregiver for my mom with Alzheimer’s for the last 8 years; she is now on hospice. Several recent personal and family crises brought me to the Episcopal Church after 6 decades as a Catholic. Henri Nouwen has been with me through it all in his wonderful and spiritually honest books. I’m looking forward to sharing this pilgrimage from anguish to freedom — to Easter! — with all of you.
I am a veterinarian and creative director of a an educational firm located in Central IL. I enjoy being involved in music ministry at church. Last year, in a period of uprootedness and greif, a friend introduced me to You are the Beloved and it touched my soul. When the year ended, I felt like I just needed to start it over from the beginning. So I have. I listened to the audio book of The Inner Voice of Love: A Journey Through Anguish to Freedom over Christmas with awe. I look forward to journeying through it again.
Sarah Probst Miller
Hello I am Sue from Hawaii. Retired nurse, married, have an adult special needs daughter. I became a follower of Henri because f his connection with L’Arch l. I have followed the daily meditation and h podcast too. This s my fret online book club.
So happy to be a part of this. Have read a few of Nouwen’s books, but aspire to read more. This is my first online book discussion. Very much Ch looking forward to this! Thank you!
I am Carien from South Africa. I was introduced to Henri Nouwen’s work about 28 yrs ago by a spiritual leader and ever since I love to read his books and watch his videos.
This is my first time joining a discussion group. I am doing it for myself. My husband passed away in December 2021 and I am still getting used to this life of just me. We have no kids and we were very close. So, after a blessed life of 40 yrs, it is not so easy to get used to the fact that he is not here anymore, sharing life with me.
My husband gave The Inner Voice of Love for me in 1997 and I have read most of it but not all. I am looking forward to this Lenten journey with this book.
Hello from snowy MN! Well after crafting my first lengthy reply with much thought- it disappeared before I hit send-haha. Maybe God is telling me something? So I will try to make this shorter and hopefully sweeter;)
I first read , Open Hands, while in a hermitage at Pacem in Terris, a beautiful place to encounter God in silence. This opened my head and heart to reading more of his writings and listening to the podcast called “Now and Then.”
I identify not only with Henri’s spiritual insights but his humanness as well. I see myself in his quirky traits and his fight with ego. His message of recognizing ourselves as God’s beloved has been my saving Grace. I thank God for giving us Henri as a messenger to a weary world. I look forward to humbly walking this Lenten road with you all, learning from God through Henri and each other.
My son and his family live in MN also. Not just snowy there but really, really cold right now.
I really don’t mind it. Lived here all my life… nothing like walking in the woods after a fresh snowfall! God shows up everywhere;)
However, I can say that today as the temp will be almost 30 I think, and the sun is shining!
I live near the Twin Cities- is you son further north?
Gina, I sympathize with you on the cold and snow. We haven’t had a winter like this in decades – wild storms, snow everywhere and bitter, bitter cold. After every storm we’ve had a big thaw – Tuesday morning started off at 46 above before plummeting that night to zero. That means we have ice everywhere under each new layer of snow, so all the food is buried. We will lose all kinds of wildlife and birds. Everyone, please spare a prayer for the wildlife. It’s -22 here this morning. At least I could get online to warm myself up with the posts from everyone and memories of so much that Henri has taught me over the years.
It amazes me how those little chickadees survive out there! Looking at them at my feeder right now… I always think- God gave you wings. Why do you choose to stay?? Maybe a question many of us humans could ask ourselves as well?
Thanks for your reply! Do you live in MN too or…
Heard that’s beautiful country! I think we have a retired priest who subs at our church who is from there. He’s always “bragging it up;)))”
I am Richard from South Georgia. I first became acquainted with Henri Nouwen about forty years ago and have been reading him off and on since then. I’m looking forward to rereading this book and sharing other people’s thoughts.
Hello from Nashville, Tennessee. My mom, who passed away in 2011, was a huge Henri Nouwen fan so I’ve read his work. My daughter volunteered for a summer at L’Arche in Toronto, so there’s another connection. I look forward to a Lenten book reading and discussion.
I am joining you from Fargo, North Dakota. I am watching today’s bllizzard with the snow and winds out of my window. This is my first online experience with a Henri Nouwen book. I was first introduced to Nouwen’s writings by my parish priest 45 years ago and have been an avid reader of Henri Nouwen ever since. I have led book groups using his books. I have been reading the daily meditations for a number of years.
I am a retired lawyer and University professor. I am an Associate with the Presentation Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary here in Fargo. My community of Presentation People has contributed greatly to my own spiritual journey. I live with my husband and two dogs. We have adult children and grandchildren living in the border cities of Fargo and Moorhead, Minnesota. I look forward to spending this lenten season with all of you fellow travelers on this journey.
Jean, I have a good friend here in Sheridan, WY, who is a former Presentation sister. Years ago she left the order so that she could continue to live with and minister to the Crow and Cheyenne on the nearby reservations. She continues with deep ties to the order. I will tell her about your post.
Good morning from Western Washington US. I am excited to read this Lenten book and discuss here. I have read a few of Henri Nouwen’s books, most memorable were Wounded Healer and Prodigal Son. Prayers for healing myself and others in my family from recent deaths on Dec 24 and again on Feb 10.
I have prayers for some understanding of others and truly trusting God to take care of the rest.
Hi there, I live in Canada. I spend my energy on my family as my vocation as a stay at home mom. I was introduced to Henri Nouwen years ago in university when I was seeking acceptance and love in my friendships and getting very hurt. I haven’t gone through The Inner Voice of Love for almost 10 years. I hope to grow in the faith and draw closer to the Lord this Lenten season and almost meet new brothers/sisters in Christ over the world through this Lenten book discussion. It is my first time joining in.
I have followed many of these discussions but I have never posted before. I have read Henri for many years but started following his daily posts at the suggestion of my brother when I was experiencing unrelenting post op pain after major back surgery. Henri has certainly helped me look at the positive side of pain and be closer to God in the process. I am a retired PA/RN and live in Beacon, New York on the Hudson River. I look forward to rereading this book.
Hi everybody I am Deb from the plains of Colorado. I’m excited to be doing this with all of you during this lenten season this is my 1st. Online experience.Formally I was a hospice chaplain and social worker in my career. This is where I was introduced to Henri.I’ve since retired early to help keep my husband out of trouble haha ! actually. He has suffered a couple strokes and some ill health. My heart is with the grieving and dying and that’s my life’s Passion and work recently. Began a. Struggle? Of where do I fit in in the world as far as a spiritual community? I’m hoping the study gives me some wisdom and clarity to get plugged in. What other believers ..looking forward to interacting with you all in gratitude and blessings
Deb, for over 40 years I have led our parish’s Bereavement ministry. That and my therapy dog ministry to the nursing homes made my heart resonate to your post. I develop so many friendships with residents, some of which last 10 years of more, and I grieve when they die as I also rejoice that they are finally in a place of peace, community and joy. I will pray for your husband.
Good morning from Minneapolis MN where I am snowbound!
I’m Mary, a single parent of two adult children and lay minister in the Catholic Church for 41 years.
Henri Nouwen was a great influence in my ministry formation in the early 80’s at a wonderful place called Mary College(now University of Mary) in Bismarck, ND. One of our instructors , a mystic, and prophetess, Sr Mary Walker introduced us to Nouwen and challenged us to go deep and receive his rich writings. I have never been the same – thanks be to God and Mary Walker!
At this stage in life I am feeling tired and in need of renewal, I long for community that is honest, human and seeking. Your messages make me feel at home and understood – thank you! I look forward to this journey with you.
Decades ago, I read With Open Hands and the Wounded Healer. Then in the late 1980s I corresponded with Henri once or twice a year, including a series of annual published “open letters” to Henri in which I challenged myself in light of Henri’s writings. He was always kind enough to respond with more than a thank you.
I live in Springfield, Illinois, and just retired a few months ago. I had planned to read Henri’s new book Flying Falling Catching during Lent; I still plan to do so and will also read The Inner Voice of Love along with this group. I am looking forward to this Lenten journey.
Greetings from the Connecticut coast.
I am a recently retired palliative care and hospice chaplain. Right now I am trying very hard to be still and trust that God will let me know what comes next (patience has never been one of my virtues). Last night (Ash Wednesday) I attended Mass and was completely discouraged by the priest’s you-are-all-worthless-sinners-who-have-exactly-forty-days-to-REPENT sermon. Is it any wonder that so many of my hospice patients couldn’t believe that God loved them or that they were worthy of being loved? I have decided to lighten up on my resolve to attend Mass each day in Lent and instead make being part of this group my Lenten discipline. Thanks for being here!
Wishing you peace and all good,
Cynthia, you will find great support in this online community. As for your priest, shame on him! No wonder people are leaving the church in droves – too many priests ignore Pope Francis’ emphasis on mercy and hope, community and inclusion. Hang in there. Our faith is larger than what you heard in that church. This was the first time in my adult life that I didn’t make it to Mass on Ash Wednesday. Being snowed in is getting old.
How dreadful was that sermon you had to listen to! I sense you are a person of compassion. That priest, I don’t think so. I thought the “fire and brimstone” preachers were long since gone! I pray your soft heart will filled with grace during this book discussion.
Hello friends– I’m excited to be along on this journey through Lent. I live just outside Washington, DC. I ‘met’ Henri Nouwen maybe 30 years ago when I read The Wounded Healer. I’ve been a devoted fan since then, but just discovered this organization right here.
Thank you for being here.
Hi! My name is Shelly and I am from Irvine, CA. I have been an admirer of Henri Nouwen’s heart and journey for years. I’ve not done an online reading group before, but am eager to learn alongside you during this Lenten season.
Greetings from Oklahoma City. I have read Nouwen for many years but this will be my first experience with a group. I am looking forward to this journey.
I live in Mississauga, Ontario. I am a recently retired high school music teacher who is finding the transition from a room full of teenagers making music to a quieter home both lovely and challenging. I have a type A personality and my very structured life has changed so much that my anxiety has kicked in more when I thought retirement would lessen it! I am really wanting to see what is next for me. I still conduct two choirs so am fulfilled musically. We have two adult sons. One graduated from university during Covid and has just returned home. He is so talented but is so stuck and my heart is heavy. Perhaps it is time to read The Return of the Prodigal Son one more time. I have read Nouwen’s daily readings through the years. When I received and opened up The Inner Voice of Love I just felt that this group might be a good place to help me in my journey towards true freedom and greater trust. I was hesitant to write this. Even though I don’t know any of you, and I am usually an open book, I am finding that it is harder to be vulnerable now when the anxiety is greater. I have come alongside so many young people over the years. I sort of feel, even though I have faith and have been a Christ follower for my life, that I need to let God come alongside me in this part of the journey.
My name is Kathleen (AKA Kathy or Katie) and I found myself relating to your story. I am a happily retired (20 years) teacher, but I too had a difficult transition from a very structured schedule to having no structure nor purpose. My husband was also retired, but he had all kinds of interests and friends from various groups he belonged to. I was adrift. However, although I was not a music teacher, I was a musician, having played the flute for most of my life from third grade through college. When I retired, I joined a community chorus which has changed my life. I joined my church choir and am now a cantor once a month at the same church. With the community chorus, my husband and/or I traveled in Europe singing in churches in Italy, France, The Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Austria, Slovenia, Germany, Scotland and Ireland. We had caught the travel bug and have added Machu Pichu, Peru, China, Australia and New Zealand as well as a couple of repeat trips to Europe. Our two sons are in their forties, happily married and have given us two wonderful grandchildren.
I hope you will find something that will inspire you to get involved in things in your area. I painted (not a good fit) took up knitting and crocheting until my arthritis made that too painful, etc. You get the idea, I’m sure. I hope you will find your way to those things which fill your soul with joy, challenges, and much contentment. Perhaps this book discussion of Henri Nouwen’s book will help. I know he helped me to understand my two sons relationship with one another.
I look forward to chatting with you as we go through Lent together.
My name is Margy and I connected deeply with your reflection. I have also just retired from teaching, though at the elementary level with a focus on math education, and find this transition both freeing and anxiety ridden. While I do not miss the schedule and politics of education, I do so miss the people and the purpose! I have always been a person with anxiety who sets high expectations for myself so to feel like I am “wandering” without purpose has been challenging. Living in the wintery cold of Madison, Wisconsin has not helped.
I was introduced to Henri Nouwen years ago through an Advent book of many of his writings. I worked at a very dynamic Catholic parish at the time and we used many of his reflections for our monthly Generations of Faith experiences. His honesty and insights reach so many! I am either shaking my head in agreement or find myself in tears when reading his writings.
As a mother of 4 young adult children and aging parents, I often struggle with worry. I have been an active Catholic my entire life but am struggling with the Church recently for a number of reasons, both general and personal. I have always struggled with the judgement side of the church (as Cynthia mentioned in her comment above). The sexual abuse crisis and murder of indigenous children are particularly troubling. Having a nonbinary young adult child has made the church seem painfully unwelcoming to me. I guess I am seeking to find how to move forward in living out my faith without compromising my values.
I understand your struggle to live out your faith without compromising your values all too well. That conflict is why I gave up my career as a pastor in 2020.
One book that helped me a lot was Brian McLaren’s “Do I Stay Christian?” There’s also a great, free online community called Evolving Faith (evolvingfaith.com) full of people wrestling with similar questions and concerns.
Thank you Wendy!
I just ordered the book!
I hope you find it as helpful as I did. The first ten chapters are painful and may leave you wondering how anyone could stay Christian given all of the horrible things Christians have done throughout history and are currently doing.
The next ten give the reasons a person might choose to stay Christian and are much more encouraging and hope-filled.
The final chapters emphasize how to live whether you stay Christian or not.
Our church’s book club (the church we attended before our recent move) read and discussed the book and we all found it upsetting, thought-provoking, and ultimately very helpful as we wrestled with many of the same issues he addresses.
Warm greetings to one and all, after the ferocious ice storm.
My name is David. I live in mid-Michigan where I teach college students. I first read Nouwen when I was in a Catholic church (I’m Protestant) and happened to see and pick up a Lenten devotional guide featuring 40 excerpts from his writings, many of which I found moving and profound. Years later a friend strongly recommended The Return of the Prodigal Son, which is (as everyone knows) extraordinarily brilliant. Last month I taught it in a new course on religion and the arts, and I was glad to have the excuse to re-read it carefully. I’m taken by the remarkable honesty with which Henri writes about his own feelings, admitting his many Elder Son traits, many of which I share but have never wanted to acknowledge. His writings and life have been inspiring to me as I’ve struggled with my own mood disorders and feelings of unworthiness.
First time joining an online book discussion.
I read my first Nouwen book in the Spiritual Formation class at Tyndale University. I loved it so much I took a summer course: Dynamics/Spiritual Life of Henri Nouwen.
Praying for healing.
Abbie from the Toronto area in ON, Canada.
Hi, I am Daniel from England… Lovely to journey with you during this season of Lent. I am in my final four months of training for ordination with the Church of England… God willing, I will be ordained as a deacon in early July. I am particularly drawn to this book as I am struggling with a friendship at the seminary with a fellow seminarian, and this has put me in a state of sadness and desolation. I hope Nouwen’s spiritual insight will help me.
Hello to all! I’ve scrolled through the comments so far, and was so touched by the open and honest sharing of this community. This is the 2nd online discussion I’ve participated in, with the first being this past Advent’s discussion of Flying, Falling, Catching, about Henri’s friendship with the Flying Rodleighs. I live near Akron, Ohio and am an RN working at a hospital on a medical-surgical unit. I have 3 adult children and 2 grandchildren, with another one on his way, arriving in June! My married two sons live a bit of a distance from me: one in NC with his wife and 2 children, and the other in Houston, with his wife and baby-on-the-way. Our daughter recently graduated from college. This new season of life has been difficult for me as an “empty nester”, and I often wake early in the morning to thoughts like these: what is my purpose now? How can I find new direction and meaning? My life feels a bit meaningless without my kids here. I have struggled with some depression and sadness lately. I volunteer at my church’s community meal but am trying to discern new ways to serve and volunteer, whether at church or in my community. My husband is still working and his job requires a lot of hours. I often feel lonely when I’m home by myself. I’ve been in an online Bible study group for over ten years now, and met a few of the women in person over the years, and it’s a source of not only spiritual learning and growing, but support and encouragement.I love Henri’s writings, and noted in the intro to this book that the first book he wrote after returning to his community was the one on the Return of the Prodigal, which I’ve read, but I think I’ll re-read it along with this one, as Henri wrote that he shared insights he gained through his time of struggle in it. It’s certainly a book well-worth returning to. It moved me profoundly the first time I read it. One thing that stood out to me in the intro to The Inner Voice of Love was this:”Intellectually, I knew that no human friendship could fulfill the deepest longing of my heart. I knew that only God could give me what I desired. I knew that I had been set on a road where nobody could walk with me but Jesus. But all this knowledge didn’t help me in my pain.” I’m hoping to see how the penny dropped for Henri, how the knowledge moved from his head to his heart, as I struggle with this, too. I “know” that Jesus is the only One who can fill the deepest longings of my heart, yet I struggle to get it into my heart and to see myself as His beloved. A quote from my current online study dovetails into this: “In all of my striving, fighting, and longings, I am after a counterfeit of what I already have in Jesus.”
If you are new to this discussion group, I can attest to the power of this experience with like-minded (like-hearted) companions on the journey with Ray as our very competent leader and facilitator. As I see that my comment will come as comment #110, I have the benefit of seeing the many things I already share with so many of you: enjoying rewarding service experiences after a rewarding career as an educator, experiencing the role as caregiver for a sick spouse and a dying parent, dealing with my own physical challenges (a recent accident), reading and discussing the works of Henri Nouwen and Richard Rohr, connecting so often with Henri’s honest discussions of his vulnerabilities and his role as wounded healer, and so much more. I have even had experience living in some of the places you hail from: the Midwest, the Northwest, the Southwest, and the Southeast. I can’t wait to delve into this book with you.
How good to join with you once again on our faith journeys. Ora and Labora per the Benedictine principle surely provides guidance. Like you and others who have commented, I thank God for Henri and all those wisdom writers who have inspired me along the Way. Together we are like a tall, old tree with many branches.
As Christ said, “I am the vine, you are the branches.”
Hope All is well. I am Liza from Trinidad and Tobago. I was introduce to Henri Nouwen writings by my parish priest some 20 years ago. His writings and reflections have guided me over the years. Together with my gospel reflections. The Holy Spirit continue to guide me to Henri’s books for direction, inspiration and a radical way of loving in today’s world. I look forward to our shared reflections.
My name is Karen from Nairobi, Kenya.
It is my first time to joining a book club and I am very excited for thus opportunity.
I first encountered Henri Nouwen in 2016 – Spiritual Direction and Open Hands – and I’ve found his writings very helpful in my journey.
I chose to go through this reflections for lent to form community and also to gain more insight for my journey.
All be blessed and have a fruitful Lenten Season
And a blessed and fruitful Lenten Season to you as well, Karen! It’s so wonderful to have people from all over the world right here!
I am Rita and during the past 3 years I have lost 3 close friends and my dear dog. Hoping to find healing here.
Rita, heartfelt condolences on the loss of your 4 friends. I resonated with your mention of losing your beloved dog. I am grieving the surprise loss in August (hemangiosarcoma) of one of my dogs who was my best Reading Dog and who was imperturbable when one of the kids participating in Reading Dog had a meltdown. Of course, it’s the kids struggling in school whom the teachers sign up to read to my therapy dogs, so meltdowns happen. It was tough when school started and the kids looked for GloryToo. Some cried, and one threw his arms around me and bawled, which didn’t help my own grief and complicated introducing GloryToo’s replacement. Dogs give us unconditional love and sometimes are the only ones who echo God’s unconditional love for us. May you find support here.
Hi, I’m from Connecticut. I spend my days as a Children’s Librarian and love to hike on weekends. A friend in my small group introduced me to Henri Nouwen’s daily meditations which I love. I was looking for a Lenten study and thought I would try this. I hope to gain some new spiritual insights. My mom passed away last year after an 8 month struggle with brain cancer. It’s turned out to be a lot harder than I ever anticipated losing my mom. The topic of this study really resonated with me.
Hello to all
I am from Northern Rivers in New South Wales Australia. I can’t remember when I first heard of Henri but there was a period of time when I’d come across his books in a particular second hand shop I liked to go to. The Inner Voice being one of those books. I was amazed at how I felt counselled/ companioned by Henri’s personal writings, though worlds apart.
This is my first online book discussion. I’m looking forward to be sharing the Lenten season in this way.
Good morning to you all, and thank you for all your thoughtful and insightful introductions. My name is Silke and I live in Tokyo, Japan with my family. I was first introduced to Henry by a friend four years ago or so and read his book, the return of the prodigal son then. Since then, I have read other books by him, watched him speak via youtube and on the henry nouwen society, read his daily meditations, and pondered over and over again about his famous line that we are all the beloved children of God, on most days I do believe this. Henry’s work was the stepping stone on my spiritual journey and I come back to him often for more, looking forward now to deepening and enriching my journey within a community of fellow travelers. Thank you.
Hello from Austin, Texas! Im Maria and I’m a retired oncology nurse who now is getting treatment for ovarian cancer. Since late September 2022 I have taken a deep dive inward as being a nurse does nothing to prepare you for being a patient (especially for one who is impatient). It’s been a tough few years as from 2018-2020 I’ve been caring for my mother along with Dad and siblings, while working as a nurse navigator for young adult cancer survivors. I resigned my work one week before COVID and returned to s small rural community of my childhood to be “at home” while my mom was on hospice and my father broke his hip, returning home after partial hip replacement & outpatient physical therapy. Mom passed to eternal life in July of 2020 and after a rough winter my Dad decided to move to assisted living. Hoping for some breathing room and time y to o enjoy retirement it wasn’t long before my own diagnosis that all changed. The daily reflections of the Nouwen Society and Henry’s writings have sustained me all during these years of struggle. I’m hopeful for any wisdom in this journey!
Love your post. Retired physicians are no better at being a patient. Hard to admit. Just know that we are all on a journey and we are not alone. You are on my prayer list and I’m sure many in the group will be praying also.
I live in Sydney, Australia and belong to a religious Congregation following the rule of St Benedict. This is my second experience with an online book discussion. The first was in advent last year. I have read and appreciated many of Henri Nouwen’s books and always got some inspiration from them. I recently got a copy of the book”The Inner voice of love” and am looking forward to reading it. I did not contribute any comments in the Advent book discussion. I hope to get the courage to write some comments this time as I get so much out of the comments sent in by other participants.
Hello. This is Mary from Columbus, IN. I have enjoyed the Nouwen morning meditations for the last couple of years and read a few of his books. It always takes me a while to read them because I need to reflect on even brief passages; they are so rich. The first book I experienced was Our Greatest Gift. When my husband decided to end cancer treatment and began the final year of his life this is the book he chose to read. It gave me a window into Bob’s source for comfort and some consolation in my grief. This will be my first time participating in an online group.
I am Helen in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I think I was first introduced to Henri’s writings about 15 years ago. In thinking about how long ago it was, I had the delightful realization that it feels like I have always known Henri.
I am a “cradle Anglican” (Episcopalian for the US readers) and my faith is central to my life and who I am. Currently, I am in a period of transition after the last nine years dedicated to the care of my elderly parents. My mother died in 2020 and my father just a few months ago. Soooo… “now what?” I am a retired banker (no hisses, please ) an avid traveler, and a dedicated volunteer – mostly on charitable boards because of my professional experience. I have done little travelling and volunteering these past years as full-time caregiving has been pretty much all consuming.
I have never participated in an online book discussion and I am grateful to be doing so with all of you.
Oh, and to Sue in NZ, my cat is also called Jack… I named him after C.S. Lewis.
Hello to All,
I am grateful to be joining so many on this Lenten journey with Henri Nouwen. I am Australian but have lived in London for many years. I have relied on the Henri Nouwen meditations for sometime now. They are an open window for my soul helping me to invite the Divine in again and again especially when I lose faith in myself. I am happy that this Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of this very particular Lenten experience God Bless you all.
I live in New England. I have known about Henri Nouwen’s works for many years but only recently have returned to them. The minister at the church I attend (Methodist although I am Catholic) has re-introduced me to Henri. His work on the beloved has been an essential part of my journey. I am retired after 47 years in education and still getting my footing as to how to spend most of my days. I am involved in several voluteer activities. I look forward to this work during Lent. I have had several years where I focused on my spiritual life during Lent and found that my life changed by degrees, a little more of an Easter resurrection of life.
Hello Everyone. I’m Beverly who just moved from Louisville to the Boston area. I look forward to our study to slow down, listen to Henri’s imperatives and reflect on our group discussions. I’m a psychotherapist and spiritual director who has been shaped spiritually by Henri. I became acquainted with his work while he was at Harvard and shaped by his writing in Seminary. His book The Living Reminder Service and Prayer In Memory of Jesus Christ changed way of doing ministry.
Now, if feels prophetic to be re-reading the Inner Voice of Love because I believe it’s a book for such a time as this in my life and the life of the church. It’s a book about anguish and how to stay the course in hard times by diving deeper into Jesus and finding my true home in God’s heart. I need that right now.
Hello and I’m so grateful and glad to join this group. I’m in Phoenix. I retired 11 years ago. I have been occupied with getting my home ready to live in the rest of my days. My husband of 55 years died December 2021. We raised 3 sons. Over the last four decades I have attended 12-Step friendly weekend retreats led by priests and nuns in recovery. I became acquainted with hearing about Henri Nouwen from the retreat leaders who would quote his writings. He stole my heart with his sincerity and humility. We lost our youngest son to end-stage liver disease caused by alcoholism. Henri was friendly toward 12-Step people and I felt comforted by his warmth and insight.
Hello from Minnesota.
I’ve learned so much from Henri’s honest writing. I look forward to the journey through Lent, together with those who are also on journeys of discovery of deeper faith.
This will be my first time participating in an online book discussion group.
Thanks to the Xavier Society for the Blind, I have a braille copy of the book.
Previously, I’ve read many, many of Henri Nouwen’s books, and have also participated in an in-person book discussion on “Can You Drink This Cup?” My favorite Nouwen book has been “Adam, God’s Beloved.”
Like Ray, I’m a professed Secular Franciscan.
My husband and I have been married for over 40 years; our children and grandchildren live cross-country from us.
Thank you to all who have introduced themselves, and to those who will post after this.
Peace and all good to you!
Laurie Mehta, OFS
I am joining from cape Cod and dedicate my time to a brother a spiritual friend.
This book Inner Voice of Love has carried me through some very difficult times in my life and so much want to share the book with others. The email popped into my box unbidden so i am fascinated. Thanks and blessings to all.
Hello from central Florida!
I have been reading the daily reflections for several years. I also read Richard Rohr devotions. Sometimes, when time is limited, I just stick with Henri Nouwen- always simplicity and great depth. I read this book over a year ago and loved it!
I am looking forward to reading all the comments
I am in recovery. I attend meetings and spend a lot of time talking with people on the same journey. I am also a trained spiritual director and was just asked to lead a vigil before Easter. I hope to get ideas here for solitude, community and care
I want to make this Lenten season a time of letting go. I spend my time exercising,
With grandchildren close by, and spiritual endeavors. We have a big home that I am hoping to sell and move into a condo My intention is to fully embrace the challenges of being me through this course! I did like that line in the introduction, spiritual freedom often requires a fierce spiritual battle. We are comrades
Definitely praying for you during this difficult journey.
I read both Nouwen & Rohr daily. Such inspiration!!!
WOW! We have a great group here! I am excited to join my second Book Discussion with you all. I am in Texas and I joined the book study on “Beyond the Mirror: Reflections on Life and Death” and it was incredible. I am really looking forward to this book and interacting with each of you! My prayer for this study is to better understand the mercy and grace of our Lord, and how I can express that in my life as I care for others. I have a desire to serve those with life-limiting diagnoses or who are near the end of life here on this earth. Thank you for having me!
Hi, my name is Sue I am from the middle of the South Island of New Zealand. I work as a Counsellor (passionate work) and I serve as a Warden in our local Anglican Church. My children have left home so currently I share my home with my husband and our cat Jack and Schnauzer Henry. I wasn’t born an Anglican but introduced 3 or 4 years ago. Our young Vicar at the time introduced me to Henri and I have been hooked ever since. Many years before though a client of mine left me an old copy of “with open hands” which I still treasure. I have never participated before and hope to especially focus on this topic through the season of Lent as a personal and persistent struggle of mine is to the fore at this time.
I am joining from Philadelphia PA. I have newly discovered Nouwen’s daily meditations which couldn’t have entered my email box at a better time. I have not read any of Henri’s books, so am greatly anticipating reading the book as well as journeying with all of you.
Hello everyone. I’m Karen from Indiana. This is my first time participating in the discussion. I have read Nouwen’s daily reflections for years and find them to be such a good way to start my day. I am a Providence Associate and a part of the Sisters of Providence community. I also am a volunteer in a number of activities that help support the food needs of a diverse community. I’m looking forward to participating in our discussion and my journey.
Hi from west Texas!
I love Henri’s writings and got really serious about his life and work when I attended a weekend retreat called “How to Give Your Death Away.” I have many of his books and usually read his morning meditation. I am working on expanding my journey to include feeding those in need in our area, attending Sunday morning Sunday school, writing, leading a class of ladies on how to serve God now in this last stage of life. I’m a widow and 80. I have young adult grandchildren for fun times and a few lady friends for dinner out each week. I am blessed.
I am joining from Hockessin Delaware. Henri Nouwen is my favorite spiritual writer and has been such an inspiration and support for me. The Inner Voice of the Soul is a book my mother gave. She died 20 years ago on March 5, which happened to be Ash Wednesday. She wrote a love message to me in the book and I cherish that and the book.
Greetings from beautiful, rainy, windy and cold (this week) Central CA. I’m happy to begin this journey with you.
Hi my name is Marilyn and I’m joining you from Ontario Canada. This is my first on line discussion and I’m looking forward to drawing closer to the Lord in this season. I co-lead a ministry out of my church to the homeless and marginalized in my city. I have read Henri Nouwen’s books for many years they have been a source of refreshment for my soul.
I’m so excited to join this group discussion. About a month ago I dusted off Inner Voice of Love to reread for the 3rd time. A short time later I received the invitation to join this discussion group! I began a journal of my own spiritual imperatives as described in the book. I was first introduced to Henri’s books through a Spiritual Director. I admire his humility and vulnerability. I consider him a spiritual giant yet his writings make it clear that was not his intent. He levels the playing field immediately—I come away hopeful and restored as I continue to journey this road of transformation (ever so slowly!) I spend my time helping out with the grandkids and working with others who are seeking to recover from alcoholism. I live in Mechanicsburg PA.
Greetings from Macon, Georgia. Though I knew of Henry Nouwen (how could someone at Yale Divinity School not have), it wasn’t until my marriage was falling apart in the late ’90s that I was re-introduced to him. His words were – and continue to be all these years later – balm for my spirit. I look forward to the readings and discussion.
Greetings from Cathy in Virginia. I’ve known about Henri Nouwen for a number of years, but only really got into reading him during the 2020 pandemic year. I found that my soul was hungry for his message of being “beloved,” and I have been blessed by the daily readings and podcasts. I am drawn to learning to embrace descent like he experiences in this book; the same process that Richard Rohr describes as necessary to come into humble union with Christ.
I have not been part of an online group before, but look forward to sharing with a new community.
Greetings everyone. I am Ellamarie from Saint John, Indiana. I have been interested in previous years to join this online Lenten study. Well here I am finally. This will be my first time experience with an on-line book discussion. I am looking forward to the journey and in developing further my relationship with my Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In addition, hopefully I can contribute since I will be seventy-eight in March and thus lived a good part of my like with all the experiences that entails. I was first introduced to Henri Nouwen through our weekly commentary of Fr Richard Rohr in the Sunday Bulletin. Like Margaret N, I look forward to growing in deeper love.
My name is Kathy. I was born and raised in Portland, OR but currently live in Washington state near the coast. I am a retired Mental Health Professional.
I first learned of Henri Nouwen in the ’70’s when I was part of a women’s religious community. I have read most of his books and find each very rich in how spirituality touches and grows the human experience.
I find value in hearing others insights. This is the first time I have participated in these book studies, but have been reading his daily reflections for years.
My name is Max Wendell. I am a permanent deacon in the Diocese of Gaylord and live in Empire, Michigan. I have also served in the Venice Florida Diocese. In the past 22 years, I have facilitated faith sharing groups using many of Henri Nouwen books. Over the years, my late wife Mary and I attended many “Seeds of Hope” conferences in Richmond Hill at the L’Arche community and stayed at the Cedars often. We also had the opportunity to attend the the conference in Toronto which included many wonderful speakers. Henri Nouwen’s writings have been a blessing to me. I still reread his books and look forward to THE INNER VOICE OF LOVE sharing.
Hi everyone, I’m Shirley from Central, Mass. This is my first time visiting the on line book club. I have just finished reading many of your introductions and was much blessed by all everyone said. It has put me to ease knowing we are all wanting to grow in our journey with the Lord and Henry Nouwen’s book “The Inner Voice of Love”. I happened to pick up this book on our church book shelf where we can leave and take books as desired. It was about 5 years ago now. It took me a year or more to get through it. It was my life line but I could only take a little at a time. When I finished I could not look at it anymore. It went on my bookshelf in the cellar. I even forgot it’s name. I did receive tremendous healing from Henry Nouwen in his sharing his anguish but it was very painful. I was in a similar relationship situation. My family grieved for me for they knew something was wrong but could not help. It was mostly an inner pain. I kept thinking Henry had to get professional help but I had him. I am a retired nurse my husband is a retired engineer. We live a quiet life and are blessed. We have two grown children and five grandchildren. I serve at church as an extraordinary minister of communion. Also serve with the Deacon of or church in a prayer service at our local nursing home. And I bring communion to our shut in’s. We have team. I serve at funerals and set up for our weekly adoration also I drive folks in need of rides so my daily life is very busy. The best is I get to go to daily Mass. Now I believe God wants to continue my healing with all of you and our friend Henry Nouwen. Much Peace!
Greetings from Orlando, FL
New to Henri Nouwen readings!
Looking forward to this Lenten journey and a deeper conversion in my life with Christ and others.
Hello all here. My name is Matthew and I am very excited for this coming season of Lent as it will be my first as a conformed Catholic which just happened about a month ago.
I live in the Mpls, Mn area. I guess I would say that right now I dedicate my days and energies toward raising a 16 year old as a single parent, directing a food outreach ministry and during this season of Lent, I am really diving into trying to get a deeper grasp of the mystery of the Eucharist. I believe I first heard of Henri through my great interest in the teaching of Richard Rohr and other very ecumenically minded Christians.
Ironically, I “stumbled” across his book “The Inner voice of Love” at one of the churches libraries that the non profit I work for serves a meal at. As I was already aware of him and receiving the daily email devotions, I picked it up and upon seeing the description and chapter titles, I knew I needed to have it.
I am in recovery from drugs and alcohol so I am very interested to hear of others road to healing through their spiritual path.
What Henri describes in his intro of the book, I can very much relate to. My decline into severe depression and then debilitating anxiety was triggered by my divorce and was a very very dark time for me.
I am excited to have found another community that I hope to expand my own
Welcome Matthew to the Catholic church. I pray that you will receive all the graces that you need to fulfill your life and feel as “the Beloved of God”
Thank you so much for this welcome note. I was just scrolling through the posts and just amazed and excited to see how diverse this group is in every way. Should be very interesting.
Hello, I just want to encourage you in your desire to learn more and experience more of the Eucharist. It took me many years, as a “cradle Catholic” to recognize the healing Christ offers in this sacrament. He revealed more and more to me after spending time in adoration of the blessed sacrament. I too am a follower of Richard Rohr as well as Henri. When I read your post, so much if what you said resonated in my spirit, just had to reach out and encourage you! You are way ahead of me in your journey…but thought I’d share what took me so long to recognize even though it was available to me from the start. God works that way, through great love, and great suffering, as Richard and Henri would say. I will be praying for you.
My name is Patricia Green-Wilkins and I’m joining from Jamaica. It’s my first time reading a Henri Nouwen book. I’m seeking to grow my spirituality by engaging in a much needed Lenten journey discussion on strengthening my spirituality.
Blessings! My name is Teresa, and I am Ordained Pastor in the United Church of Christ. I am serving a church in Coopersburg Pennsylvania which is outside of Allentown. This is my first book study. I came to Nouwen’s work in my own quest to replenish my soul. Covid and family issues have left me very weary and struggling to connection with the Holy. As I have scrolled through the other comments I already have felt in communion with others. Thank You for sharing
From new Rochelle NY I begin each with scripture reading,rosary before work and on train to work. Henri’s name began popping up in my scripture books Living with Christ and Give us this Day I looked up a society which is this months ago so I could follow him more because he included scripture he was down to earth and it made me focused and he became a friendly voice . Since then I journal the emails I get from The Henri Nouwen read the passage and contemplate the picture. Seen the zoom on his interest in the circus and performers and now this for Lent. Thank you
My name is Roberta. I am from Cincinnati Ohio. This is my first time joining an online retreat. I came to know Henri through my husband, a former Marianist Brother. He recently passed and I am struggling to accept the changes in my life. “You are the Beloved” has helped me realize that God does love me, as I read and meditate with Henri’s message each day.
As I read these introductions from hopeful seekers representing so many different places in the world and different experiences, I’m excited to join and grateful for the opportunity. I have read some of Henri Nouwen’s books in the past, but not this one. I’ve lived in the Seattle area for 40 years and am originally from the Midwest. Single, no children, no family in the area, but have friends here I consider family. I look forward to this spiritual adventure.
This is my first book club discussion with Henri although I have read many of his books. I live in Maryland USA.
My name is Melissa Cooper and I live in Pensacola, Florida. This is my first time joining an online discussion. I became aware of Henri’s writings through a friend of mine. I recently started receiving the daily meditation, and it has spoken to me deeply.
I, too, find myself in a situation similar to Henri’s when he wrote this book. Because of health issues, everything that I was doing to serve the Lord and His children for the last five years came to a screeching halt last fall. I feel deeply to called and work with the homeless community…from volunteering at a local day shelter to preparing and serving hot meals to the homeless.
Last fall I got Covid, and have not been able to volunteer or do much of anything since then. I have been told that I have Long Covid, which saps my energy, and even my breath. I have felt, as Henri wrote, “Everything came crashing down – my self-esteem, my energy to live and work, my sense of being loved, my hope for healing…everything.” Like Henri, I find myself, “…flat on the ground and in total darkness.”
So many phrases in this introduction feel as if Henri had crawled inside my head and heart and wrote what he witnessed in me. “I experienced myself as a useless, unloved, and despicable person.”
I am a survivor of childhood sexual, physical, and emotional abuse. I have always found my worth in helping others, and have always struggled with the idea that I am “Beloved”.
But I will tell you that I love the Lord with every fiber of my being. He has healed me and brought me through so much. I feel as if He is trying to show me that I am loved, even if I do nothing at all….just because I am. This is a concept that I have struggled with for over 20 years. So, I think that this book and this discussion group will help me on my journey .
Melissa, welcome to our community. I am praying for all kinds of healing for you and that you experience God’s unconditional love for you as you are right now.
Good Morning from Central Texas! I am a 66 year old Wife, Mother of 2 Sons and Grandmother to 7 Grandchildren. I have struggled with Chronic Major a depression with Acute Anxiety most of my life, but not medicated until my early 20s. I can totally relate to Henri Nowen’s struggle with depression and the loss of someone he loved on an intimate level. I ran across a small booklet at a convenience store many many years ago called “With Open Hands”. I think I’ve read and own most of his books, including The Return of The Prodigal Son, but my favorite book is The Life of the Beloved.
I’m experiencing that “dying to self” pit we enter as we grow to realize we are not what we do or what we have accomplished. I know and believe with all my heart that God loves me, I just don’t FEEL loved, by God or any human. Abandonment issues. I’ve tried so hard in my life to “be good”, I’m exhausted. I’ve never participated in an online study. I am passionate about sharing my faith which, often gets me into trouble as people have no clue where I’m coming from, so I sit in isolation a lot.
I’m looking forward to observe this discussion.
I was looking for some spiritual exercise during this Lenten Season and encountered the email about participating in this discussion group centered around one of Henri’s books. I am looking forward to spending some time with you and Henri. I retired three years ago from my work as a Clinical Psychologist in Orange County, California. I first met Henri when I was a student at Yale Divinity School (1977 t0 1981). I was blessed to be one of Henri’s student assistants and did a variety of jobs from being his chauffeur to speaking engagements to editing prayers for his book A Cry for Mercy. I have read (and reread) many of Henri’s books and I am always amazed and his spiritual insights based on his own experience and struggles.
Peace in Christ.
Buen día! I am an American living in Medellin Colombia for many years.. I am a retired teacher. My husband died in August of 2022 after a long time of living with dementia. Henri Nouwen’s daily readings and several books have helped me grieve. His words have spoken deeply to my heart, especially his feelings of
loneliness and realizing he was Beloved.
I’m Phil from the UK. I live in the midlands of England in Derbyshire. I’m in my second year of retirement. I was a school teacher for many years. Nowadays, I’m chief dog-walker for the family. However, I also play music at Mass, am involved in adult formation/ catechesis and chair our parish pastoral council. We’re going through major changes as we face the issues surrounding how our parish is organized in terms of the clergy available and the places were we worship…. always a difficult conversation within a worshipping community. I’ve taken part in quite a few of these discussions over the years; not always commenting, but reading both the text and people’s reflections here.
I was struck, in the introduction (page xviii) by the description Nouwen gave of the decision to publish this very personal work, particularly those friends who pointed out the benefit that others would get from this,
“Wouldn’t they find it a source of consolation to see that light and darkness, hope and despair, love and fear are never very far from each other, and that spiritual freedom often requires a fierce spiritual battle?”
When I read this book previously it certainly was a source of consolation. As my life has moved on…both in terms of my activities and self-perception…I look forward to revisiting this book and hearing from the rest of you. It’s going to be a good Lent!
Hi everyone. My name is Judy Cass from Little Rock, Ar. I am a newly retired CFO for a family owned company over the past 43 years. I was introduced to this study by a good friend and so excited to join the fellowship of others and learn more of Gods relationship and love during this Lenton season. The introduction of this book hit my soul when reading of Henri’s journies and struggles.
I am devoted to Christ, my Lord and Savior, and to my loving family and friends.
Hi everyone. I’m Martha Doolittle from Houston Texas. I’m a writer, mixed media & textile artist, seamstress, passionate volunteer for discipleship in my church, an arts visionary, and a stroke survivor still hoping to one day play the piano again. I have a passion for unity of the Body of Christ which, I believe, begins with understanding our history and embracing our diversity so we are prepared and proactive for our future as One Body.
I met Henri Nouwen through The Return of the Prodigal Son at least 30 years ago. He has been a significant part of my healing and encouragement ever since. I am encouraged by this HN community, to continue that healing process through this Lenten study. One thing the Holy Spirit has been showing me is that the place of peace is with ALL our eyes (Body, Mind and Spirit) focused on him in the midst of ”whatever,” one day at a time. I am still learning how to fall in love with Him.
Although my story is not Henri’s, I have a similar journey of insecurity, the need for love and approval, especially by those in leadership, and great fear of being unnecessary to anyone. Key phrases like “a useless, unloved, and despicable person,” “one long scream coming from a place I didn’t know existed,” and “the basement of my soul” connected with my heart. At 63 I am appalled that I still have this struggle and how it has sabotaged my life. So, I am looking forward, with audacious expectation of grace, to meeting y’all and participating in this conversation.
Thank you for sharing. I’m 71 and still struggling with the same issues.
Oh Janet! I will take comfort that I am all alone. And will pray we both make significant strides in our journey through this studsy group. Shalom!
correction: …I am NOT alone…
I’m a writer also and live in Cypress! I’m 53 and relate to much of what you said, especially your final paragraph. Maybe we could meet in person at a coffee shop or park at some point if you’re interested.
Hello from Oklahoma City! I am retired after a career as a pastor, academic administrator, and university professor. I have been reading and appreciating the works of Henri Nouwen for at least 40 years. I have also enjoyed participating in previous book discussions. I first read “The Inner Voice of Love” in 1996. My note in front of the book reminds me that it “bears rereading in small bites!“ I look forward to doing that during this Lenten season and also to benefiting from insights and comments from others.
Greetings All. I live in New Hampshire but am originally from Maine. I am retired x 20 years, spending my time caring for my wife, children, grandchildren and various ministries at St. Anne parish. Was introduced to Henri when I was given The Return of the Prodigal Son by a couple from Lodi, CA who participated in a Lenten sharing group in Tucson, AZ. I have read one of Henri’s books every Lent and Advent since. They are certainly a gift from God. Every book is a blessing and an opportunity for growth. “Intellectually I knew that no human could fulfill the deepest longing of my heart. But all this knowledge didn’t help me in my pain”. Having recently completed a Cursillo weekend, I am working on my own “spiritual imperatives”, hopefully directing these insights from my head to my heart. I look forward to this journey together with prayers/Masses with all of you in mind. Thank you all for participating and to Ray for directing us. It’s good to be together.
I’m Mary and live in Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico. l’ve been a church organist for 76 years, and at 91 am still playing. Although I’ve never been a member of this group, I look forward to it. The book chosen for the current discussion has been in my library for a number of years. I turn to it frequently, as it has guided me in so many ways.
I’m trying to think how I came upon Henri’s writings..I may have read one of his quotes from one of my Spiritual guides which stimulated my interest to go further into his teachings. I have to say I’m a bit obsessive when I get into something that gives me fire and passion. That’s what’s happened with diving in to Henri’s works. I’ve read most of his books, listened to his podcasts, watched his videos and look forward to the daily meditations. I think he hit pay dirt for me by being so honest and open with his personal struggles. He is the “real-deal.” Someone we can all relate to knowing he has gone through the shadow and darkness and the pain transformed into joy and the absolute certainty and secure in knowing we are adored and loved by God.
My name is Jude and I live in Victoria, BC Canada
Hi Jude. I chuckled at your self-description as “a bit obsessive when I get into something that gives me fire and passion.” I am the same way. I may borrow that phrase if you don’t mind.
Well, you are surely welcome to use the phrase, but I may have to edit it to honestly report, “ I’m a lot obsessive when it comes to something that drives me with fire and passion.” (ha!) Glad to hear I’m not alone!
Hello everyone on this sacred day of Ash Wednesday.
Henri Nouwen has been my self-described spiritual “guru” for many years. He came to me at a time when I needed him most and his life and writing continues to inspire me and helps me feel less alone with my struggles and ruminations.
I am a retired educator born and raised in New Jersey. 2 years ago my husband of 44 years and I moved to Colorado to be near our daughters. Very different landscape from where I spent my first 65 years!! We are having fun adventures exploring our new home state.
I have participated in these book discussions several times since discovering Henri but it’s been awhile. I’m so happy and grateful to be back journeying through Lent with all of you.
My name is Ruby and I am writing to you from the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA. PA has been my home state my entire life with wonderful summers spent at the Jersey shore each summer. Through many different experiences that God has allowed in my life journey, I came across Henri’s writings about 15 years ago during a challenging time. I am so grateful that Henri was willing to share his journey with the world. I am looking forward to this time to go through his writings.
Hello, I am Lorretta from Clayton, Michigan, north of Toledo, OH and SW of Detroit. This will be my first time experience with an on-line book discussion to which I am looking forward. My introduction to Henri Nouwen was through an old book “The Genesee Diary: Report from a Trappist Monastery”. My appreciation for Henri has grown from that time. I read the daily posts from Henri and find them thought provoking and life giving. I look forward to inner strength from my fellow pilgrims during this Lenten season and to come into a new appreciation and love of God.
Hi to everyone
I’m so glad I can join with you on this grace filled journey. My name is Margaret. The best way to describe myself is I am a Beloved child of God. Finally after many years and paths I have taken God was always calling me to believing and trusting, path to coming home. I look forward to growing in deeper love. Matt.22.
Henri’s books have nurtured my soul for a very long time. Reading the online devotions grounds me for the day. So grateful for keeping his writings alive.
Mt favorite book is The Return of the Prodigal Son. I have been on retreats at the Abbey of the Genesee and knowing Henri spent time there made it even more special spiritually
On today’s Assignment – Introduction & A Suggestion to the Reader, p. xiii to xxi
“Isn’t it important for your friends close by and far away to know the high cost of these insights? Wouldn’t they find it a source of consolation to see that light and darkness, hope and despair, love and fear are never very far from each other, and that spiritual freedom often requires a fierce spiritual battle” (pp.xviii-xix)?
It is truly a consolation to be present in the tension of light and darkness, hope and despair, love and fear. It is here that I find the God of love who does battle with me and for me.
I am Sherry from AZ and have never participated before but have found Henri’s books enlightening and helpful over the years. I am a retired nursing instructor/geriatric care manager. I look forward to this time together.
On this Ash Wednesday there is Particular Gratefulness for the
Received – and Donated .
During this past year, I have retired from teaching elementary here in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and I began to listen to the Henri Nouwen podcasts and read the daily emails. I love how Henri captivates my mind and causes me to think in such a rich way. I’m excited to receive my copy of this book and follow this discussion. My desire is to follow Christ in all I do- especially in this new stage of life.
Hello to all from Canada’s mile high city of Calgary, Alberta,
Our lives have been immeasurably enriched by Henri’s life. Having met him in Whitby Ontario in the 80’s, we have read his books and found insight, healing and hope through his writings. We look forward to this fellowship of pilgrims. Peace to all.
Ray. I’m a little late but would like to join the book discussion. How do I do that?
It looks like you just did! Welcome. Ray will post the readings and some comments and questions right here each Sunday in Lent. You can get the book and read along and comment when you want to do so.
Good morning from Calgary, Canada
I’m excited to be part of this online lent discussion! My church background did not include much in the way of spiritual practices for lent so I’m looking forward to entering into this season in a more meaningful way. As one of the elders at my church, we were asked to read Henri’s book “In the Name of Jesus” and found it to be very insightful. Looking forward to the journey with you all!
I am joining from Rochester, Michigan (just north of Detroit). I have never participated in the Lenten series. I recently found out about Henri Nouwen’s daily meditations from a friend and have been enjoying them. I hope to have a deeper Lent experience this year.
Hi! I am Cindi Martin from Oakdale, California. I dedicate my days and energy to my Lord Jesus, my physically disabled husband of 39 years, our family, friends, community of market garden volunteers, and Wellspring Counseling Ministries. I was first introduced to Henri Nouwen by dear German friends in 1987 who gave me the German translation of The Wounded Healer called “Geheilt durch seine Wunden” and later “The Return of the Prodigal” called “Nimm Sein Bild in Dein Herz.” My husband and I read through the Return of the Prodigal out loud to one another and wept through many of the pages. It touched our hearts so deeply as do many of the books by Henri that I have read since then. This will be my first online book discussion. I look forward to learning from those who participate as well as from Henri’s inspiring words.
I’m Julie Page from Cary, NC. I am a retired nurse educator. I dedicate most of my time to social justice issues through my church’s growing advocacy ministry. Several friends at church have recommended Henri Nouwen, and I came to this online discussion through JerryLyn Luckie. I hope to deepen my discipleship through this Lenten discussion.
Greetings from Colorado, USA.
I live in the mountains west of Denver. I am now retired after a career in Technology. I devote my time to some volunteer activities with my church, and some community organizations. I lead a Renovaré book club (renovare.org) and also enjoy playing a game of scrabble with my husband most afternoons.
I was first introduced to Henri’s books by a friend in my small group. My first book was “Show Me the Way, Daily Lenten Readings.” I have joined each advent and lenten reading since 2013. I’m not always good at participating in the discussion, but have read every book. It’s something I always look forward to as I enter these holy seasons.
I love that you play a game of scrabble with your husband most afternoons!
I visit my 95 year-old mom once a week. Playing a game of scrabble is an important part of our visit. I believe it has reminded her that there is purpose and meaning in life at every stage. It has reminded me of that.
This is my first on-line Lenten study. I’m looking forward to it. I spent a summer working at the Grand Canyon in 1982 when I had just graduated from college. What a wonderful part of the country!
Wishing you well in this Lenten journey.
Susan DeLoache Culler
I am a religious, vowed member of the Sisters of Divine Providence (over 65 years).
Professionally, I earned three degrees and much knowledge through experience. I completed my doctoral degree when I was an officer at a local college. I am currently primarily involved with my ministry of presence, even though I have a deficit memory. I make many calls to our donors and offer each person with whom I speak a chance to speak with me and end with a blessing for the individual or family. I practice this ministry of presence in many other ways also.
I became acquainted with Henri Nouwen about ten years ago when I read my first Nouwen book, You Are the Beloved! By the time I finished this book, I was convinced that I am the Beloved of God!
I have read many more Nouwen books since then and read his meditations on Facebook daily. I am also very much inspired by Richard Rohr and have read many of his books also.
I look forward to reading and praying The Inner Voice of Love during this Lenten season. I am old (85) but always learning and growing!
Wow, Carolyn, I am inspired and intrigued by your practice of the “ministry of presence”.
I am in Fresno, California. I try and spend my time loving my neighbors. That looks like fostering to adopt, work at a children’s hospital, loving refugees in my community, and connecting authentically with my neighbors.
I first read “The Wounded Healer” as I prepared for overseas missionary work and it transformed my approach for that work, and how I do life now.
I’ve never done this online discussion group, but look forward to the opportunity for transformation and growth.
I like Richard Rohr as well, and use one of his devotional books.
I first encountered Henri when I was required to read “The Prodigal Son” for a course I was taking in 2011. Prior to reading the book I had been to Russia and saw the actual painting at the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. I missed so much of the detail because I was just so overwhelmed by my surroundings.
I live in Pennsylvania and am being treated for bone cancer. There’s no cure just palliative treatment. My Lenten journey is coming to terms with this disease and how it is affecting my relationships.
Oh my, Joan. What an honor that you would share this journey with us. I pray that we will be the community of believers you need during this book study and that our conversations will bring peace, joy and whatever else you need to your spirit. You are in my prayers.
Please know this Community and myself are lifting you up for Total Healing of Spirit, Mind and Body.
Joan, prayers for you in your Lenten journey. You are walking a most difficult road, and I’m thankful that you are here. May you find peace through Henri’s writings and in this community.
Good morning from Gainesville, Georgia. I am the Associate Pastor: Music at First Baptist Church here in Gainesville. I have been serving in this role to which God has called me since March 1, 1999 (almost 24 years). I was introduced to Henri Nouwen’s writing by one of my seminary professors, Dr. Al Travis in 1985 as he gave me the book “The Way of the Heart.” In this study, I desire for a spiritual awareness of God’s movement in my life to be deepened and my spiritual energy to be increased as I daily serve in Jesus’ name.
I am a religious, vowed member of the Sisters of Divine Providence (over 65 years).
Professionally, I earned three degrees and much knowledge through experience. I completed my doctoral degree when I was an officer at a local college. I am currently primarily involved with my ministry of presence, even though I have a deficit memory. I make many calls to our donors and offer each person with whom I speak a chance to speak with me and end with a blessing for the individual or family. I practice this ministry of presence in many other ways also.
I became acquainted with Henri Nouwen about ten years ago when I read my first Nouwen book, You Are the Beloved! By the time I finished this book, I was convinced that I am the Beloved of God!
I have read many more Nouwen books since then and read his meditations on Facebook every day. He teaches me daily and I am so blessed by this. I truly am the Beloved of God! I am also very much inspired by Richard Rohr and have read many of his books.
I have never really been a member of a group who meets to learn more about Nouwen, but I certainly keep learning daily!
I look forward to reading and praying The Inner Voice of Love during this Lenten season. I am old (85) but always learning and growing!
Hi, I am from Grand Rapids, Mi.
This is my first on-line book study. I have numerous books from Henri and did a book
group that did many of his books , however that ended.
I have appreciated the daily meditations that I receive, so I thought I would
give this a try.
Greetings from New Hampshire. I am retired from chaplaincy work and finding ways to volunteer for God. When I was in parish ministry I read many of Henri’s books. What I find most inspiring about his writing is his willingness to be vulnerable and also how he finds light in darkness. This is my first online book discussion and although I read this book years ago, I look forward to how it will impact my spiritual life at this stage of life.
Good morning from Upstate New York. I became familiar with Henri’s writing several years ago through a dear friend. Recently, we talked about our respective spiritual journeys and the lifelong effort to learn more about the God we serve. About 6 months ago, I began following the online daily devotions and was pleased to learn of this Lenten book discussion. I look forward to reading “The Inner Voice of Love” for the first time and deepening my experience of hearing that voice. I am retired from a career of service in higher education and community nonprofit organizations, married for 40+ years, mother of three adult children and grandmother to 5.
Greetings from MinneSNOWta. By day my vocation is as an executive coach, author & speaker equipping leaders in high stress professions like law, healthcare, finance, media (the why: my prior career was as a lawyer); my avocation and energies are dedicated to a wholehearted life of faith, family, friends, and fitness, with a fierce passion for justice and DEIB. I live with my soulmate of >3 decades, with our adult children living nearby. Although I’ve not yet been in one of these Nouwen online discussions, I look forward to it as I’ve been a Henri Nouwen fan for decades and still learn from reading (and re-reading) his books.
As for the intro, this passage speaks to me: “writing …gave me the little distance from myself that I needed …. ” While I’m not currently “struggling for survival” nor in the “depths of despair”, I’ve been there before, and find that writing daily gives me that distance from myself so that I can examine my emotions and life without becoming too attached to or absorbed in the stories I tell myself. I look forward to learning from the group as we explore Nouwen’s writings together.
I was an elementary teacher for 21 years and retired in 2020. Now, I substitute teach in PA my “real: home. I am single with no children and few unclose family relationships. This will be my first acquaintance with the author and this group. I think this group is a good replacement for endless scrolling on Facebook feeds.
Welcome, Denise, to this great group. I, too, am single, no kids, not much contact with sisters in Texas. You will find much nurture and support here – far better than on fb.
Hello fellow pilgrims. I am Clifton and I live with my family, mostly seniors, here in the Philippines. I encountered Henri Nouwen last Dec ‘22 when my retreat director recommended his books to me. He perhaps saw connections w/ my work in adult coaching and mentoring. Very much looking forward to learn from you all. Thank you for leading this Ray.
Good morning, everyone from Omaha, Nebraska. This is my first time in an online study. Many years ago, I was introduced to Nouwan and have since read many of his books. It will be good to reread this one. I am near the end of my education and formation as a Lutheran Deaconess with the LDA/LDC and am looking forwrd to becoming more intentional in my daily life. Professionally, I am a psychotherapist and work mostly with older adults which includes a lot of grief and loss topics. I am looking forward to hearing others opinions and thoughts on Nouwan.
Excited to join you all… this is my first time with such a group, and I am too believe I will learn and grow and stretch and struggle because of the gifts offered by others over the coming weeks. For that I am grateful. I dance between Florida where my wife and I temporarily live, caring for my mother-in-law as she gets set to pass, and Ukraine, where I work most of the time. I have spent many days and nights with Henri’s words and works, have always appreciated his honesty and was yet again overwhelmed by the courage of his introduction … Thank you all
I am looking forward to this. This will be my first time joining. Peace and love to you all.
Oh, and I am from the Dallas, TX area
I have read many of Nouwen’s books over many years and I’m looking forward to the discussion group. This will be my first. I am a retired pastoral associate and a spiritual director. I used The Return of the Prodigal on many a teen retreat, using the three people as models to help them look into their souls and see who they were most like at that point in their lives. I am originally from Philadelphia, Pa., and am now retired and living in Sussex County, Delaware
Good morning from Memphis, Tennessee! I was introduced to Henri Nouwen in the early 2000’s and was delighted to see that this book had been chosen for discussion. It is one I hold close to my heart and have read portions of over and over since 2007. It is a book I have gifted many times, because of the depth of its ministry to me. I haven’t picked it up over the last few years and believe that “now’ is just the right time to do so. I live a quiet life with my husband of almost 38 years, spending a portion of my week caring for my granddaughter. I am a long time member of the recovery community and in it I truly experience the love and grace of God. I look forward to reading thoughts shared in this space and perhaps sharing a few of my own.
I am looking forward to participating in the Henri Nouwen series again this Lent. His writings have been an integral part of my faith journey for many years. Inner Voice of Love is among my favorites, and I look forward to rereading along with the group. I follow his daily meditations from You are the Beloved throughout the year. Within all of his writings, his insights and timeless themes continue to inspire me each time around and provide for continued growth and healing. Thank you making this Lenten study available.
I live in Los Angeles and am a grateful member of All Saints Episcopal Church in Beverly Hills. I dedicate my days to my 3 adult children, their families, my husband and our chiropractic practice. Additionally, for the past 15 years I was the primary caregiver for my two old Moms, mine and my husband’s. Both died in the past year-and-a-half and I am involved in their memorials and related devotions. I dedicate the gift of each moment God gives me to be alive to being kind and useful to those around me. I came to know Henri through the sermons at my church and through the daily meditations of Father Richard Rohr. I have been reading his daily meditations for 6 months, and have read the Prodigal Son. For decades – I am 70 years old – I have been practicing Theravada Buddhist meditation with my husband who was raised Jewish and for whom the church does not fit. This year we are celebrating our 50th anniversary. This is my first online discussion group.
I hope to pursue more deeply my Lenten fasting (from pleasing and competing), prayer (based on Henri’s daily meditations) and worship (taking better care of myself physically so I can be more present and loving for my family and friends) plan for this year. Each year I meditate and pray and create a plan for Lent. Though I have many intimate friendships, like Henri I suffer deeply – especially from 3 to 5 AM – in ways similar to Henri’s — feeling “useless, unloved and despicable” (p. xiv). Not every night, thank God. I use the phrase from my Buddhist practice, “I am loving awareness” to take the edge off my nighttime terrors as it helps me let go and let God be in charge.
Hello, I am Gina and am originally from Miami, Florida and now live in Philadelphia. After my daughter’s auto accident and severe traumatic brain injury in 2012 Henri Nouwen’s books “Bread for the Journey” and “Can You Drink the Cup?” were my refuge and solace. I have continued to find his work to be relevant and impactful in my life in many ways and “You Are the Beloved” daily meditations and the daily emails from the Nouwen Society are part of my daily spiritual practice.
I’m looking forward to this new journey with Henri as we reflect on “The Inner Voice of Love” together.
I am joining from Kemble Ontario and this is my first time joining an online discussion. I have listened to many of the Henri Nouwen Society’s podcasts and read many of his books but not this one. I am excited to be part of something larger in my Lenten practice this year as usually it is a solo journey for me. I am a psychotherapist in private practic and come alongside folks who are often in their darkest places. At times I succumb to falling in these dark places through vicarious trauma. I look forward to our discussion and insights on how folks move through these hard times and experience light and freedom again.
Good Morning from Santa Fe New Mexico
Joining this discussion group is a first for me. However I have participated in many by Fr. Richard Rohr. Between Henri Nouwen and Richard Rohr, my spiritual life has been radically changed. The book we are now reading is the very first introduction I had to Nouwen by my Stephen Minister some 25 years ago. We traveled this book together, me always with tears in my eyes. It was the beginning of my healing. I am a retired elementary school teacher. My husband and I moved to Santa Fe from So Cal about 7 years ago. But NM is in our blood as my family moved to Albuquerque while I was in high school and then I went to college in Las Cruces, where I met my CA husband. NM is a gift to the soul – especially Santa Fe – the City of Holy Faith. It feeds me every day and I’m filled with gratitude for that. So I enter this group not quite knowing or expecting anything – I am open to the surprise.
I moved back to my birth city of Pittsburgh after being away nearly 50 years. During that move and unpacking I discovered any early Nouwen book I got in my teens. That prompted further research into his work. I’ve been a spiritual follower of Richard Rohr and there’s for a lon time. My days start with prayer, reflection, meditation time. I’m excited to add this book and discussion to my spiritual life.
Hello, fellow seekers. I am Cel Hope from “buried-in-snow-and-cold” Sheridan, Wyoming. I was Religious Ed Director for our parish for 23 years, beginning in 1982. That’s where I discovered Henri’s writing, in those early 80’s. I can’t remember when I found his daily meditations, but I’ve been receiving them for a long time and love them, often sharing them with the two parish groups I still lead as a volunteer in my retirement: Benedictine Oblates and Bereavement Ministry. I have participated in many of the Advent/Lent Studies, and they’ve been great. I’ve been challenged by what participants and the discussion leader post in addition to what Henri wrote. In fact, the Advent 2013 on Life of the Beloved triggered a breakthrough that dramatically changed my life. One of the participants was inspired to write a personal mission statement, shared it and challenged the rest of us to write one. Mine took a couple of months of reflection and discussions with my spiritual director, and since then it’s the first thing I read each morning as I begin morning prayers – so that I don’t forget the time when God broke through my doubts of the possibility of unconditional love and convinced me that he loved me as I was right then. I can hardly wait to read The Inner Voice of Love, and everyone’s reflections. I continue to try to learn how to live out the Benedictine value of balance. I live out the Benedictine value of hospitality through my therapy dog work – weekly visits to two nursing homes and an enclosed Alzheimer’s Unit, weekly Reading Dog sessions at two local elementary schools and weekly letters to nursing home residents.
I am a retired educator. I live in Madisonville, Louisiana, a suburb of New Orleans.
My late husband and I were introduced to Henri Nouwen by our daughter who was in Seminary at the time. After reading The Prodigal, my husband ordered every book Henri had written that was available at the time. He also gave some to friends who used them on their churches. This is my first time to participate in the discussions. I believe this enrich the reading of this book and this Lenten season. Thank you.
I live in Danbury, CT but serve as a Lutheran pastor in Brewster, NY. I don’t remember when I was first introduced to Henri’s writings, but they have been both inspiring and at times solace for my soul. I am a widow and currently live with my three cats
I have read this particular book before (several times) but look forward to sharing discussion with others
My name is Renee, I am from Maine. Don’t know what to expect, hoping the Holy Spirit works through this program to give me peace and joy.
Good morning from Rapid City South Dakota my name is Gene Mason. I’m involved with a Ministry called Circle of Friends, a fellowship of people with intellectual disabilities. This my first time, in this discussion group. My first experience with Henri Nouwen was in seminary in the late 70s. We use his book,” Reaching Out” as part of a Action/Reflection group. I’m looking forward to growing with you spiritually during this season of Lent. Blessing to you all- gene
Good Day All,
I am from South Africa and currently coming back into the tech working world soon (as I am finishing a software course) after stopping 2018 and having burn out and still navigating through that. Other that I am into culture and history which probably originated when I did missions previously, bringing me back home to my own place and people and stories. My real introduction to Henri was through a google search. I think he was mentioned in Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster, which I read, but really what happened is in this last rough season starting 2016, someone once prayed for me and felt prophetically they get the word solitude. I googled it and came across Clowning in Rome and the section on Solitude and Community ministered to me deeply as I always struggle in groups and maybe try too hard at times, and then often the times I don’t fit in but run too God are the most glorious times, and Henri’s words encourage that journey even further. I have since been reading the daily devotionals and watching the beautiful documentaries made. I have not yet bought any books I have not yet bought and will be reading this one through online library. I have not participated in any discussions yet. What I hope to gain from this experience is peace, maybe some answers and a next step to my journey.
“Do not read too many of these spiritual imperatives at once!
They were written over a long period of time and
need to be read that way too.”
The above quote as it made me think the opposite is true too. When one shares ones journey or negative experiences, often people rush to give advice as if those events all occurred at one time. “No, you are just hearing 3 years rolled up in one…” I love that he shares not only his experiences but helps the reader understand the context and heart.
I finished the reading for this week. The book is hard to put down. I am ready to enter “the basement of my soul “ and continue to fight a “fierce spiritual battle to spiritual freedom.”
Mary Martin: This is my first experience with an online book discussion. I moved to Sarasota, FL from Virginia in the Spring of 2020 during COVID. I’ve used that time to discern and redirect my volunteer energies and am now working hospice care — specifically sitting vigil at end of life. I came to know of Nouwen’s writings during my spiritual direction studies. My desire during this journey with Henri’s writings is to become more sensitive to and aware of the depths of despair and how he dealt with these feelings so as to better connect with those I have committed to serve.
Hi, I’m Jerry Lyn Luckie from Cary, NC. By day I am a marketing director for an educational company. I’m passionate about ways we can transform education for teachers and students.
I was first introduced to Henri Nouwen through a graduation speech I heard preached many years ago in Princeton, NJ. In recent years as I joined the Advent and Lent studies here and others recommended Nouwen’s work, I began to read as much of his work as I could. I believe he has a unique voice, and his writings have inspired my faith journey. I look forward to reading this book and sharing and hearing insights together along the Lenten path.
I appreciate that this book is: equally for those who are in a time of deep anguish and for those who are in a time of peace and joy. Looking forward to this experience.
My name is Susan and I live in North Carolina. I have recently become a widow and an orphan. I am a retired special education teacher. I have been reading Henri’s Daily Devotions for about 5 years. I have participated in one other Lenten study. I am a United Methodist and teacher adult Sunday School and participate in mission work. I am a seeker. looking to grow closer to God each day.
I’m dedicating this lent to myself as I’m at a point
In my life where healing and growth are present.
I have been and continue to deepen my relationship
With God and am
Glad to participate in this Lenten journey
I reside in NY and Florida
I am from LaCrosse, WI. I am currently a spiritual care coordinator for a Catholic faith based skilled nursing and assisted living facilities to assist people aging and living in communities to continue to grow spiritually. I first came to know Henri through his book Wounded Healer in preparing for Clinical Pastoral Care. I hope to connect with others and draw from a community well some of the living water Christ may share with us through Henri’s teaching. The introduction drew me to reflect on leaving community, as my wife and I just recently moved to Wisconsin from Michigan and left the community of family and friends we had there. Combining the recent move and Lent I am dedicating these 40 days to be more intentional about the inner-work the Lord is doing in me, and to recognize more clearly His movement around me daily.
I’m so thankful for this fellowship. I have long loved Henri and his work inspired my own in Sudan and South Sudan.
I look forward to this ! I read The Return of the Prodigal Son and it was..and is…a help on my journey.
Good morning, and thank you for making this discussion possible. I live in southeastern PA and have enjoyed and have been nurtured by Henri’s writings for many years now. My husband and I have five adult children and we both look forward to retiring some day. I work as a psychotherapist /pastoral counselor, with my own private practice.
I have been journaling for over 40 years and like Henri, it has been an essential part of my well being. For me, my journals are prayers, and how blessed I feel to have this conduit to our heavenly Father.
I was introduced to Henri’s writing by a dear and most wonderful friend in around 2018. This is my first participation in the online book discussions, although I have often hovered and almost joined before!
I dedicate my days to family, work and an increasingly strengthening faith. I am looking forward to gaining deeper insight and a sense of community, something I am seeking and to which I am drawn.
As to Henri’s introduction – this is so beautifully powerful, human and freeing. We all suffer and sharing our experience is deeply consoling I feel.
I am based near London, UK.
Hello fellow sojourners,
I am joining in from Nigeria. I live and work in Nigeria. I am joining this lenten book reading to deepen my own my own spr I Tualatin struggles. I know Henry went through a lot. I want to learn from him.
My prayers is that I will read through and learn from everyone’s experiences.
Thank you all.