Henri Nouwen Quotes

It is not that the university as such is against spiritual formation. It is just that often the university does not know how to integrate spiritual formation within its academic disciplines.

I want my work to create space where people can meet God rather than give them something they can "apply" to their daily life.

God's Kingdom is a place of abundance where every generous act overflows its original bounds and becomes part of the unbounded grace of God at work in the world.

Intimacy is not a happy medium. It is a way of being in which the tension between distance and closeness is dissolved and a new horizon appears. Intimacy is beyond fear.

You are the heir to the Kingdom. Prosperity is your birth right and you hold the key to more abundance in every area of your life then you can possibly imagine.

You don't have to run around world proving you're lovable.

There are areas I have to work on. I had some questions and some struggles but it was an enormously important time for me.

Take prayer with you wherever you go. Say it anytime and then focus your mind and heart on God.

Solitude is the place where we can connect with profound bonds that are deeper than the emergency bonds of fear and anger.

When we give generously with an abundance mentality what we give away will multiply.

The mystery of one man is too immense and too profound to be explained by another man.

By giving words to these intimate experiences I can make my life available to others.

Often we come home from a sharing session with a feeling that something precious has been taken away from us or that holy ground has been trodden upon.

Who can take away suffering without entering it?

Fear is the great enemy of intimacy. Fear makes us run away from each other or cling to each other but does not create true intimacy.

In solitude we become aware that our worth is not the same as our usefulness.

Patience asks us to live the moment to the fullest to be completely present to the moment to taste the here and now to be where we are.

Asking people for money is giving them the opportunity to put their resources at the disposal of the Kingdom.

The art of living is to enjoy what we can see and not complain about what remains in the dark.

The man who can articulate the movements of his inner life need no longer be a victim of himself but is able slowly and consistently to remove the obstacles that prevent the spirit from entering.

One of the most satisfying aspects of writing is that it can open in us deep wells of hidden treasures that are beautiful for us as well as for others to see.

The people who most affected me were the ones who got right in there with me who cried with me but who also had a certain authority who dared to say what needed saying.

The tragedy of our lives is that while we suffer from the wounds afflicted on us by those who love us we cannot avoid wounding those we want to love.

To give someone a blessing is the most significant affirmation we can offer.

When we have sold our identity to the judges of this world we are bound to become restless because of a growing need for affirmation and praise.

Reading with children is an enormous gift to them. It's a great honor to invite children to read with adults.

The Lord is coming always coming. When you have ears to hear and eyes to see you will recognize him at any moment of your life. Life is Advent; life is recognizing the coming of the Lord

Those who keep speaking about the sun while walking under a cloudy sky are messengers of hope the true saints of our day.

Aging does not need to be hidden or denied but can be understood affirmed and experienced as a process of growth by which the mystery of life is slowly revealed to us.

When you have loved deeply that love can grow even stronger after the death of the person you love. That is the core message of Jesus.

What makes us human is not our mind but our heart not our ability to think but our ability to love.

Beneath our frantic activities there's a deep desire to show the world we are worthwhile.

The discipline of gratitude is the explicit effort to acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me as a gift of love a gift to be celebrated with joy.

One way to express the spiritual crisis of our time is to say that most of us have an address but cannot be found there.

Although I am a committed Catholic priest and nowhere hide that fact my focus is very much a spiritual journey.

People with handicaps teach me that being is more important than doing the heart is more important than the mind and caring together is better than caring alone.

Friendship and love are impossible without a mutual vulnerability.

Hope means to keep living amid desperation and to keep humming in the darkness.

O Lord make this Lenten season different from the other ones. Let me find you again. Amen.

The journey from teaching about love to allowing myself to be loved proved much longer than I realised.

In solitude we realize that nothing human is alien to us.

The real 'work' of prayer is to become silent and listen to the voice that says good things about me.

What once seemed such a curse has become a blessing. All the agony that threatened to destroy my life now seems like the fertile ground for greater trust stronger hope and deeper love.

The most important thing I've come to believe in is that people with mental handicaps have a unique mission to bring God's blessing to the World.

Forgiveness changes the way we remember. It converts the curse into a blessing. Forgiveness indeed heals memories . . .

Precisely where I feel my poverty is where I discover God's blessing.

Good families always ritualize the table. You can say "This is a Christmas meal; this is a birthday meal.

People who pray stand receptive before the world. They no longer grab but caress they no longer bite but kiss they no longer examine but admire

I often wonder if my knowledge about God has not become my greatest stumbling block to my knowledge of God.

The resistance to praying is like the resistance of tightly clenched fists. This image shows a tension a desire to cling tightly to yourself a greediness which betrays fear.

The joy that compassion brings is one of the best-kept secrets of humanity. It is a secret known only to a very few people a secret that has to be rediscovered over and over again.

The Church is the body of Christ fashioned by baptism & the Eucharist.

To be baptized means to make the passage with the people of Israel and with Jesus from slavery to freedom and from death to new life. It is a commitment to a life in and through Jesus.

...real care means the willingness to help each other in making our brokenness into the gateway to joy.

Our brokenness has no other beauty but the beauty that comes from the compassion that surrounds it.

In a strange way the spiritual life isn't "useful" or "successful." But it is meant to be fruitful. And fruitfulness comes out of brokenness.

That is our vocation: to convert the enemy into a guest and to create the free and fearless space where brotherhood and sisterhood can be formed and fully experienced.

Community always calls us back to solitude and solitude always calls us to community. Community and solitude both are essential elements of ministry and witnessing.

I have always felt that if I am very personal and connected with what I myself am living my writing will transcend ecclesial boundaries.

My writing has developed drastically . The Return of the Prodigal Son is the most important thing I've done and my most mature book.

In a world so torn apart by rivalry anger and hatred we have the privileged vocation to be living signs of a love that can bridge all divisions and heal all wounds.

Our glory is hidden in our pain if we allow God to bring the gift of himself in our experience of it.

This brief lifetime is my opportunity to receive love deepen love grow in love and give love.

Prayer is not a pious decoration of life but the breath of human existence.

The pain that comes from deep love makes your love more fruitful. It is like a plow that breaks the ground to allow the seed to take root.

When we break bread and give it to each other fear vanishes and God becomes very close.

God doesn't give us just enough. God gives us more than enough: more bread and fish than we can eat more love than we dared to ask for.

That's the temptation of the devil: "Turn stones into bread! Be relevant!

Too many of us are lonely ministers practicing a lonely ministry.

A life without a lonely place that is without a quiet center becomes destructive.

It is God's passionate pursuit of us that calls us to prayer.

Prayer is the center of the Christian life. It is the only necessary thing. It is living with God in the here and now.

To live in the present we must deeply believe that what is most important is in the here and now.

God is a God of the present. God is always in the moment be that moment hard or easy joyful and painful.

Our lives are unique stones in the mosaic of human existence -- priceless and irreplaceable.

The real enemies of our life are the 'oughts' and the 'ifs.' They pull us backward into the unalterable past and forward into the unpredictable future. But real life takes place in the here and now.

The spiritual life is not a life before after or beyond our everyday existence. No the spiritual life can only be real when it is lived in the midst of the pains and joys of the here and now.

We cannot make it rain but we can see to it that the rain falls on prepared soil.

Peace is first of all the art of being.

The world is evil only when you become its slave.

I was forced to enter the basement of my soul and look directly at what was hidden there and to choose in the face of it all not death but life.

A happy life is a life for others.

Life is a gift to be grateful for and not a property to cling to.

In solitude we become aware that we were together before we came together and that life is not a creation of our will but rather an obedient response to the reality of our being united.

Writing is not just a job. It helps me to pray. It's a way of being.

From the moment we claim the truth of being the beloved we are faced with the call to become who we are.

Everything changes radically from the moment you know yourself as being sent into this world.

The best of community does give one a deep sense of belonging and well-being; and in that sense community takes away loneliness.

Compassion requires us to be weak with the weak vulnerable with the vulnerable and powerless with the powerless. Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human.

Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human.

Becoming the beloved is pulling the truth revealed to me from above down into the ordinariness of what I am in fact thinking of talking about and doing from hour to hour.

That's prayer to let God's Word speak deep within you and tell you "You are my beloved. You don't have to take an eye for an eye. No no you're too rich for that.

Spiritual identity means we are not what we do or what people say about us. And we are not what we have. We are the beloved daughters and sons of God.

The great #"? conversion called for by Jesus is to move from belonging to the world to belonging to God.

Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the Beloved.

When I was teaching I didn't feel I had a home a place where I truly belonged.

Friendship has always belonged to the core of my spiritual journey.

We must ask ourselves how many times others would benefit more from our silence than from our words.

Christmas is believing that the salvation of the world is God's work and not mine.

It is by chance that we met by choice that we became friends.

The beatitudes say "Blessed are the poor". They don't say "Blessed are those who care for the poor.

I am working on three things: on being a prayerful person; on staying close to the handicapped; and on my writing. These are my constant concerns.

Ministry in no way is a privilege...it is the core of the Christian life. No Christian is a Christian without being a minister.

I don't pray enough but I pray more now. Every morning at six o'clock have a half hour of meditation before the Blessed Sacrament. I pray with others too.

The beginning and the end of all Christian leadership is to give your life for others.

Prayer is the beginning and the end the source and the fruit the core and the content the basis and the goal of all peacemaking.

I feel strongly that the God we meet in solitude is always the God who calls us to community.

Forgiveness changes the way we remember.

For Jesus there are no countries to be conquered no ideologies to be imposed no people to be dominated. There are only children women and men to be loved.

Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.

a spiritual life without prayer is like the gospel without Christ.

Christian community is the place where we keep the flame of hope alive among us and take it seriously so that it can grow and become stronger in us.

Christian life is not a life divided between times for action and times for contemplation. No. Real social action is a way of contemplation and real contemplation is the core of social action.

The church is not an institution forcing us to follow rules but a community inviting us to still our hunger and thirst at its table.

When we keep claiming the light we will find ourselves becoming more and more radiant.

The leaders of the future will be those who dare to claim their irrelevance in the contemporary world as a divine vocation...

How much longer will I live?'... Only one thing seems clear to me. Every day should be well-lived. What a simple truth! Still it is worthy of my attention.

When I could no longer cling to my normal supports I discovered that true support and real safety lie far beyond the structures of our world.

In their poverty the mentally handicapped reveal God to us and hold us close to the gospel.

Somewhere we know that without silence words lose their meaning that without listening speaking no longer heals that without distance closeness cannot cure.

Is my growing old making me any closer to Christ? Am I only getting older or am I getting more godly?

While my friend always spoke about the sun I kept speaking about the clouds until one day I realized that it was the sun that allowed me to see the clouds.

Compassion can never coexist with judgement because judgement creates the distance the distinction which prevents us from really being with the other.

Community means that people come together around the table not just to feed their bodies but to feed their minds and their relationships.

Once you are in communion with God you have the eyes to see and the ears to hear other people in whom God has also found a dwelling place.

Ministry is the least important thing. You cannot not minister if you are in communion with God and live in community.

The great call for the Church is to not just be concerned about right or wrong behavior which is moral life but about communion with God which is mystical life.

Jesus said Communion first community comes out of that and out of community ministry.

...the word that seems best to summarize the desire of the human heart is 'communion.' ...wherever we look it is communion that we seek.

Community is where humility and glory touch.

By prayer community is created as well as expressed.

Yes it's a competitive world but where is your heart?

My whole life I have been complaining that my work was constantly interrupted until I discovered that my interruptions were my work.

The great teachers are always those who can live the tension. They are not criticizing everybody they're not complaining. They give young people a vision.

Discipline in the spiritual life is the concentrated effort to create the space and time where God can become our master and where we can respond freely to God's guidance.

Prayer is the most concrete way to make our home in God.

The mystery of ministry is that we have been chosen to make our own limited and very conditional love the gateway for the unlimited and unconditional love of God.

We are all healers who can reach out and offer health and we are all patients in constant need of help.

Community is the fruit of our capacity to make the interests of others more important than our own.

It is to this silence [contemplative prayer] that we all are called.

If you want to know anything about community you have to realize that the contemplative side is essential. Community without retreating and quiet time never survives.

For me the university has always been an ideal context for spiritual formation. I always felt that if you want to offer spiritual formation at the university you can.

Prayer and action...can never be seen as contradictory or mutually exclusive. Prayer without action grows into powerless pietism and action without prayer degenerates into questionable manipulation.

Our tendency is to run from the painful realities or try to change them as soon as possible. But cure without care makes us into rulers controllers manipulators.

The evangelical movement has become just a bit victimized by a success-oriented culture wanting the church - like the corporation - to be successful.

God help me to see others not as enemies or as ungodly but rather as thirsty people. And give me the courage and compassion to offer your Living Water which alone quenches deep thirst.

My hope is that the description of God's love in my life will give you the freedom and the courage to discover... God's love in yours.

The crisis of our prayer life is that our minds may be filled with ideas of God while our hearts remain far from him.

Which questions guide our lives? Which questions do we make our own? Which questions deserve our undivided and full personal commitment? Finding the right questions is crucial to finding the answers.

I choose L'Arche; L'Arche chooses me. I would be dead if I weren't here. I need people to love me and care for me.

When we are crushed like grapes we cannot think of the wine we will become.

The fruits of your labors may be reaped two generations from now. Trust even when you don't see the results.

If you meet God in solitude you discover the God you meet is the God who embraces all people.

Our efforts to disconnect ourselves from our own suffering end up disconnecting our suffering from God's suffering for us. The way out of our loss and hurt is in and through.

Through discipline discipline is the other side of discipleship. If you want to follow Jesus you have to have discipline.

Pay attention to the people God puts in your path if you want to discern what God is up to in your life.

Life is not entertainment. Life is not distraction.

I trust in you Lord but keep helping me in my moments of distrust and doubt.

One of the main tasks of theology is to find words that do not divide but unite that do not create conflict but unity that do not hurt but heal.

In true love the smallest distance is too great and the greatest distance can be bridged.

[The Return of the Prodigal book] came out of my emotional and spiritual journey during the four months I was gone from Daybreak because of depression.

[...]when two people have become present to each other the waiting of one must be able to cross the narrow line between the living or dying of the other.

Learning to weep learning to keep vigil learning to wait for the dawn. Perhaps this is what it means to be human.

Emit gratitude as though it was done

To live a spiritual life we must first find the courage to enter into the desert of loneliness and to change it by gentle and persistent efforts into a garden of solitude.

We have to trust that our stories deserve to be told. We may discover that the better we tell our stories the better we will want to live them.

I've had a tremendous problem with depression in my life. I'd rather not talk about it because it's over. But depression is real.

Waiting is a dry desert between where we are and where we want to be. (Finding My Way Home)

The great illusion of leadership is to think that man can be led out of the desert by someone who has never been there.

Joy is the experience of knowing that you are unconditionally loved and that nothing-sicknes s failure emotional distress oppression war or even death--can take that love away.

Much violence is based on the illusion that life is a property to be defended and not to be shared.

Life is not a possession to be defended but a gift to be shared.

Do not hesitate to love and to love deeply.

The spiritual life does not remove us from the world but leads us deeper into it

The farther the outward journey takes you the deeper the inward journey must be.

I had a deep experience of God's love for me.

Be sure that you make a difference in the world.

Every time I take a step in the direction of generosity I know I am moving from fear to love.

Our first responsibility in the midst of violence is to prevent it from destroying us.

What is forgotten cannot be healed and that which cannot be healed easily becomes the cause of greater evil.

Every time you reject yourself you idealize others

Our life is...a time in which sadness and joy kiss each other at every moment.

In God's eyes the most significant is often the most hidden.

Once we deeply trust that we ourselves are precious in God's eyes we are able to recognize the preciousness of others and their unique places in God's heart.

The friend who cares makes it clear that whatever happens in the external world being present to each other is what really matters. In fact it matters more than pain illness or even death.

The world is waiting for new saints ecstatic men and women who are so deeply rooted in the love of God that they are free to imagine a new international order.

Waiting time is not wasting time. Waiting patiently in expectation is the foundation of the spiritual life.

God is your safety and your home. You are well embraced." Start living the multi-formity of life from this place. If you can hold on to that it all becomes one.

Solitude is the place of purification and transformation the place of the great struggle and the great encounter.

Solitude is the furnace of transformation. Without solitude we remain victims of our society and continue to be entangled in the illusions of the false self.

Forgiveness indeed heals memories

One of the tragedies of our life is that we keep forgetting who we are

People forget ideas; they don't forget the real presence.

I am the prodigal son every time I search for unconditional love where it cannot be found.

Gratitude flows from the recognition that who we are and what we have are gifts to be received and shared.

Solitude is the furnace of transformation.

Peacemaking is a full-time vocation that includes each member of God's people.

Where true inner freedom is there is God. And where God is there we want to be.

What is important is how well we love. God will make our love fruitful whether we see that fruitfulness or not.

The real question is: how can I live so that my death will be fruitful for others?

The more we touch the intimate love of God which creates sustains and guides us the more we recognize the multitude of fruits that come forth from that love.

Our greatest fulfillment lies in giving ourselves to others.

If fear is the great enemy of intimacy love is its true friend.

Let's dare to enter into an intimate relationship with God without fear trusting that we will receive love and always more love.

We need to remind each other that the cup of sorrow is also the cup of joy that precisely what causes us sadness can become the fertile ground for gladness.

When you recognize the festive and the still moments as moments of prayer then you gradually realize that to pray is to live.

This sounds very simple and maybe even trite but very few people know that they are loved without condition or limits.

Mysticism is for all not just for a few special people.

The only feelings that do not heal are the ones you hide.

The spiritual life is a reaching out to our innermost self to our fellow human and to our God.

Solitude does not pull us away from our fellow human beings but instead makes real fellowship possible.

The great challenge is to discover that we are truly invited to participate in the divine life of the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Prayer is first of all listening to God. It's openness. God is always speaking; he's always doing something.

The university has become a place that prepares you for the fights in the world.

As a general remark I would say we must move from the moral to the mystical life.

It's good to have a prayer on your lips wherever you go.

As ministers our greatest temptation is toward too many words. They weaken our faith and make us lukewarm. But silence is a sacred discipline a guard of the Holy Spirit.

Let's not be afraid to look at everything that has brought us to where we are now and trust that we will soon see in it the guiding hand of a loving God.

Friends share our pain and touch our wounds with a gentle and tender hand.

The greatest trap in our life is not success popularity or power but self-rejection.

Your heart is greater than your wounds.

Trust that the treasure we look for is hidden in the ground on which we stand.

We are not the healers we are not the reconcilers we are not the givers of life. We are sinful broken vulnerable people who need as much care as anyone we care for.

If I were to let my life be taken over by what is urgent I might very well never get around to what is essential.

Joy and laughter are the gifts of living in the presence of God and trusting that tomorrow is not worth worrying about.

Dare to love and to be a real friend. The love you give and receive is a reality that will lead you closer and closer to God as well as those whom God has given you to love.

Life is a gift not to possess but to share.

Joy is based on the spiritual knowledge that while the world in which we live is shrouded in darkness God has overcome the world.

Life is just a little opportunity for you during a few years to say to God: 'I love you too.'

Someday I would love to write about Vincent van Gogh - his paintings and letters continue to inspire me very much. But it remains hard to find the time and inner rest to write.

Jesus says "Keep your heart on the kingdom first. Keep your heart on God's love. Keep focused on the fact that you are God's beloved daughter or son. That's the truth of who you are.

It's an incredible mystery of God's love that the more you know how deeply you are loved the more you will see how deeply your sisters and your brothers in the human family are loved.

God wants you to live for others and to live that presence well.

Keep a space where God can let something totally new take place.

Hospitality is not to change people but to offer them space where change can take place.

True Hospitality is welcoming the stranger on her own terms. This kind of hospitality can only be offered by those who've found the center of their lives in their own hearts.

Listening is a form of spiritual hospitality by which you invite strangers to become friends to get to know their inner selves more fully and even to dare to be silent with you.

I have found it very important...to let go of my wishes and start hoping.

Prayer is not what is done by us but rather what is done by the Holy Spirit in us.

The question is not: How many people take you seriously? How much are you going to accomplish? Can you show some results? but: Are you in love with Jesus?

Television is obviously an enormous intruder. Quite often people say they have no time but in fact they waste a lot of time on things that are not healthy.

To learn patience is not to rebel against every hardship.

Solitude community and ministry are certainly not just for celibates! Celibates also have a hard time keeping up.

I always try to turn my personal struggles into something helpful for others.

The soul of the artist cannot remain hidden.

Solitude is an essential element for the spiritual health of a child. If we only stimulate our children - keep them busy with endless stories with no space to be alone - that's not good.

To the degree that we embrace the truth that our identity is not rooted in our success power or popularity but in God's infinite love to that degree can we let go of our need to judge.

It is very hard to stay in touch with our true identity because those who want our money our time and our energy profit more from our insecurity and fears than from our inner freedom.

It is precisely in times of spiritual dryness that we must hold on to our spiritual discipline so that we can grow into new intimacy with God.

As we are involved in unceasing thinking so we are called to unceasing prayer.

I still believe that the university is a place where people can develop their minds and learn skills but also they can develop their personalities and their spiritual life.

There is nothing so important in the family as the sacred quality of the meal.

Spiritual maturity is not knowing what to do with your whole life but just knowing what to do next.

We have to keep asking ourselves: 'What does it all mean? What is God trying to tell us? How are we called to live in the midst of all this?' Without such questions our lives become numb and flat.

You don't think your way into a new kind of living. You live your way into a new kind of thinking.

Waiting is a period of learning. The longer we wait the more we hear about him for whom we are waiting.

There are as many ways to pray as there are moments in life.

The spiritual life is a life beyond moods. It is a life in which we choose joy and do not allow ourselves to become victims of passing feelings of happiness or depression.

Somewhere we know that without silence words lose their meaning.

Ministry means the ongoing attempt to put one's own search for God with all the moments of pain and joy despair and hope at the disposal of those who want to join this search but do not know how.

I feel the problems I have are meant to purify me.

Community is first of all a quality of the heart. It grows from the spiritual knowledge that we are alive not for ourselves but for one another.

Active waiting means present fully to the moment in the conviction that something is happening where you are and that you want to be present to it.

Hiddenness is the place of purification. In hiddenness we find our true selves.

People who read your ideas tend to think that your writings reflect your life.

The gospel word of the day can become like a painting on the walls. of your inner room the inner room that is your heart.

If you feel loved you can do a thousand things. If you feel rejected everything becomes a problem.

The main question is not how can we hide our wounds...but how can we put our woundedness in service to others.

Without solitude it is virtually impossible to live a spiritual life. ...We do not take the spiritual life seriously if we do not set aside some time to be with God and listen to him.

Prayer is the breath of your life which gives you the freedom to go and stay where you wish and to find the many signs which point out the way to a new land.

If you are not able to be silent you will not be able to speak well.

In our own woundedness we can become sources of life for others.

To receive spiritual direction is to recognize that God does not solve our problems or answer all our questions but leads us closer to the mystery of our existence where all questions cease.

As long as we have our stories there is hope.

Joy is the experience of knowing that you are unconditionally loved.

For many religion has to do with what we are allowed to do and not allowed to do. In the end that doesn't bear fruit.