home page links quotes statistics mission statement success stories resources Lighter Side Authors! Search Page
Posted May 16, 2006

Book: Spiritual Direction: Wisdom for the Long Walk of Faith
Author: Henri J. M. Nouwen
Harper San Francisco, CA. [Yet to be published, taken from a review copy] 2006. Pp. 170

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

Henri Nouwen, well-known author and priest, understood the spiritual life as a journey of faith and transformation, deepened by accountability, community, and relationships. Now, two of Nouwen's longtime students have taken his famous course on spiritual direction and uupplemented it with his unpublished writings to present the definitive work on Nouwen's thought on the Christian life. Reading this book will be like entering into a relationship with Nouwen as your spiritual director. Stories, readings, and questions for personal reflection and guided journal writing are thematically organized to provide an unparalleled resource for each person's walk of faith.

An Excerpt from the Book:

One day a young fugitive, trying to hide himself from the enemy, entered a small village. The people were kind to him and offered him a place to stay. But when the soldiers who sought the fugitive asked where he was hiding, everyone became very fearful. The soldiers threatened to burn the village and kill every person in it, unless the young man was handed over to them before dawn. The people went to the Rabbi and asked him what to do. Torn between handing over the boy to the enemy and having his people killed, the Rabbi withdrew to his room and read his Bible, hoping to find and answer before dawn. In the early morning his eyes fell on these words: "It is better that one man dies than that the whole people be lost."

Then the Rabbi closed the Bible, called the soldiers, and told them where the boy was hidden. And after the soldiers led the fugitive away to be killed, there was a feast in the village because the Rabbi had saved the lives of the people. But the Rabbi did not celebrate. Overcome with a deep sadness, he remained in his room. That night an angel came to him and asked, "What have you done?" He said: "I have handed over the fugitive to the enemy." Then the angel said: 'But don't you know that you have handed over the Messiah?" How could I know?' the Rabbi replied anxiously. Then the angel said: "If, instead of reading your Bible, you had visited this young man just once and looked into his eyes, you would have known."

Are we not challenged in daily life to look deeper into the eyes of the people we encounter - even those who are running away from something - and to see in them the face of God? Perhaps just knowing that they, too, are beloved children of God will be enough to prevent us from handing them over to the enemy. Are we not also challenged and encouraged to look more deeply at the way God sees us - beloved, accepted, affirmed, and worthy of salvation? Are we, like the fugitive, reflections of the Messiah?

Table of Contents:

Part One: Look within to the Heart
1. Who eill answer my question?
2. Where do I begin?
3. Who am I?
4. Where have I been and where am I going?

Part Two: Look to God in the Book
5. What is prayer?
6. Where do I begin?
7. Who am I?

Part Three: Look to Others in Community
8. Where do I belong?
9. How can I be of service?

Epilogue Where do I go from here?
Appendices: Living the questions: The parable of Henri Nouwen