Quotations by Nouwen, Henri


Although we tend to think about saints as holy and pious, and picture them with halos above their heads and ecstatic gazes, true saints are much more accessible. They are men and women like us, who live ordinary lives and struggle with ordinary problems. What makes them saints is their clear and unwavering focus on God and God’s people.

Henri Nouwen (1932-1996) Dutch Catholic priest and writer
Bread for the Journey (1996)
Added on 18-Mar-16 | Last updated 18-Mar-16
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One of the temptations of upper-middle class life is to create sharp edges of our moral sensitivities that allows comfortable confusions about sin and virtue. The difference between rich and poor is not that the rich sin more than the poor, it is that the rich find it easier to call sin a virtue. When the poor sin, they call it sin; when they see holiness, they identify it as such. This intuitive clarity is often absent from the wealthy, and that absence easily leads to the atrophy of the moral sense.

Henri Nouwen (1932-1996) Dutch Catholic priest and writer
Encounters with Merton (2004)
Added on 22-Apr-16 | Last updated 22-Apr-16
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What makes the temptation of power so seemingly irresistible? Maybe it is that power offers an easy substitute for the hard task of love. It seems easier to be God than to love God, easier to control people than to love people, easier to own life than to love life.

Henri Nouwen (1932-1996) Dutch Catholic priest and writer
In the Name of Jesus (1989)
Added on 8-Apr-16 | Last updated 8-Apr-16
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When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.

Henri Nouwen (1932-1996) Dutch Catholic priest and writer
Out of Solitude (1974)
Added on 15-Apr-16 | Last updated 15-Apr-16
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When we walk in the Lord’s presence, everything we see, hear, touch, or taste reminds us of Him. This is what is meant by a prayerful life. It is not a life in which we say many prayers but a life in which nothing, absolutely nothing, is done, said, or understood independently of Him who is the origin and purpose of our existence.

Henri Nouwen (1932-1996) Dutch Catholic priest and writer
The Living Reminder: Service and Prayer in Memory of Jesus Christ (1977)
Added on 1-Apr-16 | Last updated 1-Apr-16
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Prayer is not a pious decoration of life but the breath of human existence.

Henri Nouwen (1932-1996) Dutch Catholic priest and writer
The Wounded Healer (1972)
Added on 11-Mar-16 | Last updated 11-Mar-16
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In the end, a life of prayer is a life with open hands where we are not ashamed of our weakness but realize that it is more perfect for us to be led by the Other than to try to hold everything in our own hands.

Henri Nouwen (1932-1996) Dutch Catholic priest and writer
With Open Hands (1972)
Added on 29-Apr-16 | Last updated 29-Apr-16
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