Discernment: Reading the Signs of Daily Life

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Overview

Henri Nouwen, the world-renowned spiritual guide and counselor, understood the spiritual life as a journey of faith and transformation that is deepened by accountability, community, and relationships. Though Henri counseled many people during his lifetime, his principles of discernment were never collected into a single volume. Now, in association with the Nouwen Legacy Trust, Michael Christensen—one of Nouwen's longtime students—and Rebecca Laird have taken his coursework, journals, and unpublished writings and ...

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Overview

Henri Nouwen, the world-renowned spiritual guide and counselor, understood the spiritual life as a journey of faith and transformation that is deepened by accountability, community, and relationships. Though Henri counseled many people during his lifetime, his principles of discernment were never collected into a single volume. Now, in association with the Nouwen Legacy Trust, Michael Christensen—one of Nouwen's longtime students—and Rebecca Laird have taken his coursework, journals, and unpublished writings and created the definitive resource on spiritual discernment.

This is the third book of a series. Spiritual Direction explores our core questions about the spiritual life as Nouwen acts as spiritual director, opening the door to personal transformation. In Spiritual Formation, Nouwen offers guidance on spiritual development—as dynamic movements from fear to love. In this final book, Discernment, Nouwen teaches us how to read the "signs of the times" in daily life in order to make decisions that are ultimately guided by God. Nouwen emphasizes listening to the Word of God—in our hearts, in the Bible, in the community of faith, and in the voice of the poor. Nouwen's thoughts on discernment begin to answer one of the biggest questions we face: what should I do with my life?

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Editorial Reviews

National Catholic Reporter
“Nouwen successfully argues that God is everywhere and in everyone. People must make the effort to read the signs of his presence. Hopefully, this book will nudge some of them to do just that.”
St. Anthony Messenger
“Nouwen lives on for us as a spiritual friend. He takes us by the hand down that road where we’ll meet with the timeless dimension of Jesus Christ, the life that the crucified and risen Jesus shares with us now.”
James Martin
“Henri Nouwen was one of the greatest spiritual masters of our time. This exciting new collection gathers together in one volume Nouwen’s wisdom about, insights on, and practice of spiritual discernment. It is, therefore, a treasure for all believers.”
Sister Simone Campbell
Discernment uses Nouwen’s material to open up the way to deep listening that is both comfort and challenge. Using Nouwen’s insights allows the reader to hone a sensitivity to God alive in our midst.”
William A. Barry
“Henri Nouwen continues to inspire and enlighten. One gets the sense that Henri is talking directly to you, and touching you deeply. The book reads like a seamless piece of writing that on almost every page has something that enlightens the mind or touches the heart at a deep level.”
Diana Butler Bass
“Nouwen artfully explores how nature, our neighbors, and our own hearts reveal God’s active presence all around us. Life-giving and beautiful, yet practical and wise, he invites all those who doubt, feel lost, wounded or broken to discover the beating heart of love at the center of world.”
Phyllis Tickle
“An absolute gift to mind and soul. Christensen and Laird have seamlessly and thematically woven a luminous tapestry of both Nouwen’s published and previously unpublished work on discernment. The result is an even richer and more accessible Nouwen than most of us have ever seen before.”
Shane Claiborne
“Henri Nouwen’s writing is mystical, heartfelt, and wonder-filled. He has helped shape a whole generation of Christianity, and his legacy is still being written. I can’t think of a better teacher on discernment. Read it, live it, and transform the world by doing small things with great love.”
Richard Rohr
“For most people, the very word discernment implies something heady, private, and maybe even elitist. Henri Nouwen, as always, makes seemingly complex things personal, practical, intelligent, and very readable—all at the same time! This is a rich and helpful book.”
Harvey Cox
“I knew Henri Nouwen well. He possessed a unique capacity to combine genuine wisdom with winsome simplicity, and could help people look deeply into themselves. In these writings these qualities shine through, and the down-to-earth practical hints on no-nonsense spirituality will be a source of refreshment for readers.”
Elizabeth Liebert
“In this volume we listen to this master spiritual teacher illustrate what it means to discern in daily life. As we “listen in” on Nouwen’s own continual discernment, we learn that we too, can listen for God in the big and little of our lives, day in, day out.”
Brian D. McLaren
“I remember when I first encountered Henri Nouwen. He won my heart and became one of my mentors. In this new book, we gain insight into Henri’s own mentors, and we have the sense that Henri is sitting beside us, helping us discern the signs of God in our lives.”
Ruth Haley Barton
“A book on discernment from the writings of Henri Nouwen—what could be better? Tender and true, Nouwen’s distinct voice brings a fresh perspective to this ancient and deeply Biblical practice. Discernment, when it is given, is always of gift. So is this book!”
Spirituality & Practice
“Nouwen hits the mark with his commentary on discerning vocation, presence, identity, and time..”
Library Journal
★ 
Dutch-born Catholic priest Nouwen (Wounded Healer) died in 1996, but his impact and popularity have scarcely diminished; he is arguably the most popular Catholic writer since Thomas Merton. This is the last of three volumes (the others being Spiritual Direction and Spiritual Formation) carefully constructed from unpublished writings, including his coursework and journals, left at his death. Michael Christensen, who was a student of Nouwen’s, and Rebecca Laird have created a fine book that delves into the answers to questions of what a Christian should do with his/her life. To Nouwen, discernment went far beyond Christian decision-making and had to do with a sense of profound listening to others and to oneself for God-directed cues.

Verdict Nouwen’s gifts as a writer for the spirit rarely failed, and this posthumous volume is as valuable as his other writings; it should have a wide audience among Christians and other seekers.—Graham Christian, Pelham, MA
(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061686153
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/25/2013
  • Pages: 223
  • Sales rank: 139,725
  • Product dimensions: 5.86 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.89 (d)

Meet the Author

Henri J. M. Nouwen (1932-1996) is the author of Reaching Out, The Wounded Healer, Making All Things New, The Return of the Prodigal Son, and many other bestsellers. He taught at the universities of Harvard, Yale, and Notre Dame before becoming the senior pastor of L'Arche Daybreak in Toronto, Canada, a community where men and women with intellectual disabilities and their assistants create a home for one another.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2013

    The very Henri Nouwen I Had Hoped to Meet

    In typical Nouwen fashion, Henri speaks humbly and from his loving heart, as though you were sitting together with a dear friend, about how to listen to God's voice.

    Henri shares his deep wisdom and encourages his readers to practice the traditional disciplines and a simplicity of life.

    By setting aside time for silence and reflection, he tells how God's will can be discovered and how a disciple can find the courage within to live faithfully, to make good spiritual choices, based on the Holy Scriptures.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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