Monday, March 30, 2009

Henri Nouwen Quotes

I'm having a great evening at home. I finished watching a film about Henri Nouwen which was excellent. I decided to sit down and transcribe a few of the segments, since I found them moving and valuable, and so I thought I'd share them. The first is an excerpt from his writing. The other three are transcripts of interviews. For me, that final paragraph is the most powerful.

  • At the core of my faith belongs the conviction that we are the beloved sons and daughters of God. One of the enormous spiritual tasks we have is to claim that and to live a life based on that knowledge, and that’s not very easy. In fact, most of us fail constantly to claim the truth of who we are.

  • Loneliness—this is a wound, this is a pain, when you don’t run away from it, but feel it through, and that sort of in the middle of the pain there is some gift hidden. And I more and more in my life have discovered that the gifts of life are often hidden in the places that most hurt.

  • I was very, very convinced from the very beginning, that ministry is to lay down your life for your friends. OK? Like Jesus said: being a shepherd is the one who lays down his life for his friend. But laying down your life you have to have first a life to lay down, you know? You have to know who you are, and by laying down your life I don’t’ mean physical martyrdom, I meant your pain, your anguish, your doubts, your confusion. How can you really enter into that and discover there God’s healing grace, and to make that experience, that adventure with God in your own life, as the source of your ministry.

  • Conversion is claiming again and again and again the truth of myself. And what is the truth of myself? That I am God’s beloved child, long before I was born, and my father and my mother and my teachers and my church got involved, and I will be God’s beloved child long after I have died. I go from God’s intimate embrace into God’s intimate embrace. God says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love, I’ve love you before you were born. I’ve knitted you together in your mother’s womb, I’ve molded you in the depths of the world, I was there long before any human being was there, and I love you, I love you and I’ve written your name in my hand—you’re safe in the palm of my hand, long before you were born. And I’m sending you into this world for a little time—20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80 years—that’s just a little bit—so that you’ll have the chance to say, “I love you too.”

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