Advent Book Discussion

Welcome to the Henri Nouwen Advent Book Discussion!

We are delighted to present “The Inner Voice of Love: A Journey through Anguish to Freedom” as this Advent’s featured book.

At first glimpse, this may seem like a peculiar choice for an Advent-themed discussion since Advent is a celebration of darkness giving way to light with the coming of the Messiah. Yet, this is precisely what this book reflects. It’s a journal of Henri’s darkest days, the most difficult period of his life. It was written during a time of recovery from a breakdown that left Henri feeling he had lost everything: self-esteem, the energy to live and work, the ability to love and be loved… even his hope in God. But out of this incredible personal anguish comes healing and hope – a light to dissipate the personal darkness in which Henri found himself enveloped.

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

“The Inner Voice of Love” has been called a life-changing book – ideal for anyone who is looking for relief from the brokenness, grief or disappointment that touches each of our lives in one way or the other.

Our discussion moderators for this Advent offering are Ray Glennon and Brynn Lawrence, familiar to many of our blog readers for their outstanding leadership and direction during previous book discussions.

If you don’t have a copy of “The Inner Voice of Love”, you can purchase it through our Amazon store connection here.

Things get underway on November 18, 2015, with introductions and a reading/discussion schedule for the Advent book discussion. We’re looking forward to a meaningful, spirited and inspired discussion! Be sure to tell your friends. Everyone is welcome.

86 Replies to “Advent Book Discussion”

  1. Hello All,

    We are so glad to hear from you, and so glad you are joining us this Advent. I am “closing” this post, and invite you to come on over to our newest post “Nov 18 to 21 Advent 2015 Introductions.”

    You can always find the newest post by scrolling to the top of any blog page and clicking the word “Home” in the black bar below the photo. The newest post will be at the very top of the Home page. Put your mouse over the title of the newest post, and it will turn red. Click on the title to enter the post and leave your comment at the bottom. See you there!


  2. I look forward to growing in my spirituality during this Advent season and participating in “The Inner Voice of Love”. Through the years, I have read many books of Henri Nouwen and I enjoy reading my email reflections daily.
    I live in PA, near Pittsburgh, I have been widowed for five years and I have five children, our oldest son is deceased. My grandchildren are a special joy to me.
    I have been involved in the Music Ministry and I serve on Pastoral Council, also, Served on Diocesan Liturgical Commission.
    May we experience God’s blessings during this season. Janet

  3. I am a first time book discussion participant. I live in central Iowa. I receive Nouwen’s daily meditations every day in my email but have not read this book. I have Multiple Sclerosis so each day brings many surprises, some lovely and some not so much. I dedicate my energy to getting through each day as I look to the Lord for guidance, courage, and hope. I’m looking forward to reading Nouwen’s journal entries during a particularly hard time in his life and how he was able to turn from his sorrow to peace. Nouwen’s wisdom will help me navigate the challenges I experience each day.

    1. I just realized this should be posted on the introductions page, so I have posted it there as well. Sorry for the mistake! : )

    2. Hi, I live along the Western Slope of the Colorado rocky mountains. I have been a long-time fan of Nouwen’s. I sense similarities to the pain he acknowledges and my own, when I, too, experienced an interrupted friendship within the last year. But, in my case, my friend died. I hope and pray that this Advent offering will bring about the spiritual renewal I’ve been missing.

  4. Hello everyone! God Bless you! I have read many of Henri Nouwen’s books but not this one. I also get the daily meditations everyday in my email and treasure the insights and daily comments every day. I am looking forward to this discussion as I have hit a particularly low point in my life too. When I read what this book was about I said to myself “How appropriate for me right now. The Holy Spirit knows what I need every minute of the day!” So God Bless everyone who is about to take this journey and God Bless Henri Nouwen for providing it through his book.

  5. This is the first time I have joined this type of discussion group. I am looking forward to what I learn and what I hear from God.
    Thank you

    1. Theresa,
      Welcome. We’re glad you’re here and I’m certain you will find a welcoming spirit-filled community and an enriching experience.

    1. Welcome. The post for Nov 18 – 21: Advent 2015 Introductions is now available. Please join us there.

  6. This is my first time participating in this sort of discussion. I was part of a Little Rock Bible study group for many years, but since returning to work full time, I truly miss the fellowship of a group on similar journeys. I will purchase the book today, and hope to be on my way with reading. I have never read the book, but it sounds quite fascinating. I am hoping to reawaken my spiritual life. It is sorely lacking.

  7. Followed disdussions on The Prodigal Son, and am looking forward to this one. Was surprised to see so many introductions in the wee hours of Nov. 18, thinking I was hopping on an empty bus of commenters. But the bus seems filled with eager riders already. God always has room for one more! I’ min.

  8. Thank you for the invitation to participate. In recent years I have experienced some
    very challenging struggles with regard to my spiritual, emotional and,psychological life
    It’s my hope the Advent Reflection with others will enrich my heart. Thank you!

  9. have just purchased the book-very interesting how his depression invokes such spirituality .looking forward to the discussion. i followed the prodigal son discussions

  10. I look forward to discussing this book, I have just been reading it, very interesting and right what I need at this time of my life. This is my second time blogging on this blog. I hope to be better at writing my experience, instead of just reading others.

  11. Am looking forward to joining in the discussion (from Ecuador – hopefully I’ll have time). I read the book about 20 years ago and enjoyed it then. Now am looking forward to sharing insights on it with the group from a totally different perspective.

  12. I’ve not done a book study through a blog before. Looking forward to the discussions and the blogging!

  13. Hi everyone,
    I am very much looking forward to this discussion… Feeling far away from God this past few months, and Nouwen often has something special to say to me when I make the time to be engaged.

    1. Lisa,
      I think you will find this book very meaningful as Henri was feeling far away from God when he wrote it too.

  14. After an introduction to an online book discussion in summer I wish to join the Advent Book Club. Hope to be able to participate a bit more.

  15. I’m excited! My sister gave me this book some time ago, thinking I might like it. And I’ve never participated in an interaction such as this. Serendipity can be quite God-given over time rather than in an instant. Did I mention that I’m excited?! ~ Namaste ~ mjh

  16. I want to follow along with the Henri Nouwen Advent Book Discussion! I will be looking for e-mail on the subject and look forward to the seasonal study.


    Roberta Parker

  17. Looking forward to Advent Book Discussion . Came upon your your web site by chance. Have been interested in Henri ‘s writings for many years.
    Writing to you from Australia God Bless Mary Walsh

  18. I am new to this. How does this work? I have seen the schedule but now sure I will be notified that there has been a posting.

  19. I’ve pondered Henri’s thoughts in this work on my own. I look forward to engaging with others about his heartfelt journal.

    1. Hi Sherry,

      Welcome! You are in the right place 🙂 All you need to do is come back to the Home page on Wednesday and we will guide you further from there. Looking forward to your participation!


  20. Looking forward to this. My favorite work of Henri’s. “The Inner Voice of Love”

    God Bless these discussions.

  21. I have the book and am so looking forward to once again joining this supportive, nurturing online community. I am so very grateful you are out there. At times, it can be a lonely challenge to find my “tribe” here in Miontana.

  22. Looking forward to joining the Nouwen Book discussions for Advent 2015 on Nouwen’s book, “The inner voice of Love.” How do I sign up?

    1. Hi Trent,

      Yes, just come back to the blog “Home” page on Wednesday 🙂 See you soon!


  23. I have not participated in one of your book discussions but just read about the upcoming Advent discussion when it was mentioned at the bottom of the email of Daily Meditations that I receive from the Henri Nouen Society. I plan to order the book “The Inner Voice of Love” and will look for more information regarding how the discussion will take place, beginning on Nov. 18. How does this work? Will I receive emails from you, or do I go to a certain site to be part of the discussion.? Any guidance from you on how to proceed will be greatly appreciated! Thank you!

  24. I need this so badly! God sure does look after everyone of us. I’ve been feeling so stressed and alone lately. I’ve turned my back on the world and all those who like it’s ways, which includes most friends and some family. I just can’t seem to live alongside the pagans anymore! I feel so alone but not to the depth Henry experienced. I still feel the love of God and I still depend on Mary’s protection. I just feel that I can’t live and work in this world any longer. I want to go home and be with the Lord! I know I must obey and be patient but it seems there is no relief other than when I go to Mass or stay in prayer and that is not possible when you work 9-5 pm everyday! Anyway, thank you for this and I am certain that it was the Holy Spirit who heard my cries and guided me to this discussion at this time.

  25. I am so looking forward to this session, reading what others write and think. I have been reading the book and it speaks deeply to us as Christians and what our lives should look like. Henri Nouwen was a wonderful man/priest…he saw people as they are and what they could become. His sufferings he wrote and we read…..helping us travel the path of Jesus. I for one want to become more Christlike, loving and caring and knowing Jesus better. Oh how I love my risen Lord and may we all draw closer to Him. He is the only one that can help us in our walk with Him, and to help all others. God bless this session with His love and Spirit and may we all become more like Jesus, doing His will.

  26. I have this book, it is powerful. I am facilitating a liturgical arts collective this advent season at my church, around the theme “blue Christmas,” and I will be inviting people to join this online discussion with me, thank you for providing this.

  27. Dear Folks at Henri Nouwen’s Society,
    How do i take part in the Advent Book discussion.? I already have this book and have go the reading schedule….but how to be part of the discussion group? do i have to register at some point or have am I. D. or password?

  28. this is my first time to participate in book discussion group. Do I need to sign up anywhere? I have my book.

  29. Henri Nouwen’s book “The Inner Voice of Love” is my favorite book. It was given to me during a very difficult time in my life. I read it and underlined quite a bit. I was able to relate to Henri Nouwen’s words … thoughts … and emotions. His writing was down to earth … understandable and meaningful to me. My only upset was knowing I would never get to meet the man that went through so many of the feelings that I’ve gone through. Depression is difficult … his words helped to bring points of light into my heart. I look forward to the discussion … I’m not familiar with the blogs … I’m not sure how to be part of this.

  30. How do we sign up or get on the roster so we don’t forget? Like get an automatic email when it begins.
    Thank you

    1. Hi Sharon,

      I’m afraid we don’t yet have an email reminder system set up for those who choose to participate in the blog… we’ll see if we can set something up.

      In the mean time, please check back to the blog “Home” page this Wednesday (Nov 18th) and we’ll guide you from there 🙂


  31. Perfect choice. I have read and used this book for many years at times of pain in my life and every time it has brought me comfort. I could not read more than a page a day. Thank you for choosing this book.Look forward to reading it with others beside me. Lata

  32. I am so looking forward to blogging and reading other’s blog on Henri Nouwen’s “The Inner Voice of Love”. How I love Henri’s writings, and this book, and blog will be perfect for me at this time. I have gone through some difficult times and looking forward to the reads, and reading of the book. God bless all those who write and comment their thoughts. Henri Nouwen was God’s man and his writing invaluable, from the heart and soul with total honesty. I like that and pray that I will be that honest and open as Henri. God bless all those that blog and read the book…..

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