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20 Best Books by Henri Nouwen

Books by Henri Nouwen: Henri Nouwen was a Dutch-born Catholic priest, professor, and writer who was known for his work on spirituality and social justice. He wrote over 30 books, including such classics as The Wounded Healer and Life of the Beloved. In his books, Nouwen explored themes of spirituality, suffering, doubt, and community. He was a prolific writer and his books continue to inspire and challenge readers today.

Nouwen was born in 1932 in the Netherlands. He studied at the University of Tilburg and the Catholic University of Nijmegen, where he has ordained a priest in 1957. He then went on to study at Harvard Divinity School and Yale University. After several years of teaching and working in ministry, Nouwen returned to academia and taught at the University of Notre Dame and Harvard Divinity School.

Nouwen was a man of deep faith who was committed to social justice. He worked with the poor and marginalized, and spoke out against racism and violence. He was also a strong advocate for LGBTQ rights. Nouwen died in 1996, but his books continue to inspire and challenge readers around the world. Below we’ve compiled a list of 20 Henri Nowen books for your enjoyment.

Books by Henri Nouwen

You Are the Beloved: Daily Meditations for Spiritual Living Oct 31, 2017 by Henri J. M. Nouwen

Nouwen devoted much of his later ministry to emphasizing the singular concept of our identity as the Beloved of God. In an interview, he said that he believed the central moment in Jesus’s public ministry to be his baptism in the Jordan, when Jesus heard the affirmation, “You are my beloved son on whom my favor rests.” “That is the core experience of Jesus,” Nouwen writes. “He is reminded in a deep, deep way of who he is. . . . I think his whole life is continually claiming that identity in the midst of everything.”

You Are Beloved is a daily devotional intended to empower readers to claim this truth in their own lives. Featuring the best of Nouwen’s writing from previously published works, this devotional will propel the canon forward as it draws on this rich literature in new and compelling ways. It will appeal to readers already familiar with Nouwen’s work as well as new readers looking for a devotional to guide them into a deeper awareness of their identity in Jesus.

Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World Nov 1, 2014 by Henri J. M. Nouwen

Initially written for a Jewish friend, Life of the Beloved has become Henri Nouwen’s greatest legacy to Christians around the world. This sincere testimony of the power and invitation of Christ is indeed a great guide to a truly uplifting spiritual life in today’s world.

In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership Jul 20, 2015 by Henri J. M. Nouwen

Henri Nouwen was a spiritual thinker with an unusual capacity to write about the life of Jesus and the love of God in ways that have inspired countless people to trust life more fully. Most widely read among the over 40 books Father Nouwen wrote is In the Name of Jesus. For a society that measures successful leadership in terms of the effectiveness of the individual, Father Nouwen offers a counter definition that is witnessed by a “communal and mutual experience.” For Nouwen, leadership cannot function apart from the community. His wisdom is grounded in the foundation that we are a people “called.” This beautiful guide to Christian Leadership is the rich fruit of Henri Nouwen’s own journey as one of the most influential spirtiual leaders of the 20th century.

The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming Nov 20, 2013 by Henri J. M. Nouwen

A chance encounter with a reproduction of Rembrandt’s The Return of the Prodigal Son catapulted Henri Nouwen on an unforgettable spiritual adventure. Here he shares the deeply personal and resonant meditation that led him to discover the place within where God has chosen to dwell.
 
As Nouwen reflects on Rembrandt’s painting in light of his own life journey, he evokes a powerful drama of the classic parable in a rich, captivating way that is sure to reverberate in the hearts of readers. Nouwen probes the several movements of the parable: the younger son’s return, the father’s restoration of sonship, the elder son’s resentfulness, and the father’s compassion. The themes of homecoming, affirmation, and reconciliation will be newly discovered by all who have known loneliness, dejection, jealousy, or anger. The challenge to love as God loves, and to be loved as God’s beloved, will be seen as the ultimate revelation of the parable known to Christians throughout time, and is here represented with a vigor and power fresh for our times.

Following Jesus: Finding Our Way Home in an Age of Anxiety Sep 17, 2019 by Henri J. M. Nouwen

At one of the lowest points in Henri Nouwen’s life, he gave a series of lectures on the importance of following Jesus in an age of anxiety. Drawn from those talks, this new work reveals what sustained Nouwen to remain faithful to the teachings of Jesus and led him to become an icon of compassion and vulnerability. Here he writes eloquently about calling and purpose, fear and hope. And he explains why—with so many choices available to the twenty-first-century seeker—the greatest reward for those looking for spiritual direction is rediscovering Jesus’s teaching on love. Along the way, Nouwen offers warm, insightful, practical habits to help readers navigate the narrow, sometimes arduous, but ultimately fulfilling road of conviction and faith.

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The Way of the Heart: The Spirituality of the Desert Fathers and Mothers Jul 12, 2016 by Henri J. M. Nouwen

Henry J.M. Nowuen, one of the greatest of all spiritual writers, invites us to search deeply for the well-springs that nourish true ministry in his classic The Way of the Heart. Interweaving the solitude, silence, and prayer of the fifth-century Egyptian Desert Fathers and Mothers with our contemporary search for an authentic spirituality, The Way of the Heart not only leads us to a fuller encounter with God, but to a more creative ministry with our fellow human beings. Here is one of the most profound works from a writer known for his fresh and perceptive insights—and who stands alongside C.S. Lewis and Thomas Merton as an essential Christian scholar and thinker.

The Wounded Healer: Ministry in Contemporary Society (Doubleday Image Book. an Image Book) Nov 20, 2013 by Henri J. M. Nouwen

In this book, Henri Nouwen combines creative case studies of ministry with stories from diverse cultures and religious traditions in preparing a new model for ministry. Weaving keen cultural analysis with his psychological and religious insights, Nouwen has come up with a balanced and creative theology of service that begins with the realization of fundamental woundedness in human nature. Emphasizing that which is in humanity common to both minister and believer, this woundedness can serve as a source of strength and healing when counseling others.

Nouwen proceeds to develop his approach to ministry with an analysis of sufferings—a suffering world, a suffering generation, a suffering person, and a suffering minister. It is his contention that ministers are called to recognize the sufferings of their time in their own hearts and make that recognition the starting point of their service. For Nouwen, ministers must be willing to go beyond their professional role and leave themselves open as fellow human beings with the same wounds and suffering—in the image of Christ. In other words, we heal from our own wounds.

A Spirituality of Fundraising (Henri J.M. Nouwen Series Book 1) Jan 31, 2011 by Henri J.M. Nouwen , John S Mogabgab

Have you ever raised funds for your church, another organization, or a mission trip? Maybe you felt uncomfortable about asking people to donate money. It’s time to change the way you view this important task. “Fundraising is, first and foremost, a ministry,” renowned author and teacher Henri Nouwen writes in the introduction. Nouwen approaches fundraising from a position of strength rather than weakness, seeing it as spiritual work. “Fundraising is precisely the opposite of begging,” he points out. The core of fundraising is casting a compelling vision that people want to be part of. Unlike most business/leadership books, A SPIRITUALITY OF FUNDRAISING is brief and can easily be read in one sitting. Sections of this booklet include –Fundraising as Ministry –Helping the Kingdom Come About –Our Security Base –People Who Are Rich –Asking –A New Communion –Prayer and Gratitude –Your Kingdom Come

Discernment: Reading the Signs of Daily Life Jun 25, 2013 by Henri J. M. Nouwe

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 as a way to discern God’s plan.
 
Although the late Henri J. M. Nouwen 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 to create this and other books in the series exploring God’s will for your life.

Making All Things New: An Invitation to the Spiritual Life Oct 13, 2009 by Henri J. M. Nouwen

Newly repackaged, Making All Things New is an eloquent and simple explanation of the spiritual life from Henri J.M. Nouwen, author of Letters to Marc About Jesus and A Letter of Consolation and one of the best-loved spiritual writers of the twentieth century

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Bread for the Journey: A Daybook of Wisdom and Faith Mar 17, 2009 by Henri J. M. Nouwen

When beloved author Henri Nouwen set out to record this daybook of totally new reflections, he suddenly found himself on “a true spiritual adventure.” For in these 366 original, interlocking morsels of daily wisdom, Nouwen provides both sustenance and a trail for us to follow, as he unveils, to his own surprise, his personal map of faith. From the delicate interplay of human experience to the surrender to Christ and the embrace of Christian community, that journey of Christian spirituality is explored and celebrated here in each eloquent, thought–provoking passage,

“The table is one of the most intimate places in our lives. It is there that we give ourselves to one another. When we say, ‘Take some more, let me serve you another plate, let me pour you another glass, don’t be shy, enjoy it,’ we say a lot more than our words express. We invite our friends to become part of our lives. We want them to be nurtured by the same food and drink that nurture us. We desire communion…. Every breakfast, lunch, or dinner can become a time of growing communion with one another.”

Reaching Out Nov 20, 2013 by Henri J. M. Nouwen

With the clarity and depth characteristic of the classics, this spiritual bestseller lays out a perceptive and insightful plan for living a spiritual life and achieving the ultimate goal of that life — union with God.

Nouwen views our spiritual “ascent” as evolving in three movements. The first, from loneliness to solitude, focuses on the spiritual life as it relates to the experience of our own selves. The second, from hostility to hospitality, deals with our spiritual life as a life for others. The final movement, from illusion to prayer, offers penetrating thoughts on the most mysterious relationship of all: our relationship to God. Throughout, Nouwen emphasizes that the more we understand (and not simply deny) our inner struggles, the more fully we will be able to embrace a prayerful and genuine life that is also open to others’ needs.

Reaching Out is a rich book to be read, reread, pondered, and shared with others. “It does not offers answers or solutions,” Nouwen cautions, “but is written in the conviction that the quest for an authentic Christian spirituality is worth the effort and the pain, since in the midst of this quest we can find signs offering hope, courage, and confidence.”

The Inner Voice of Love: A Journey Through Anguish to Freedom Oct 20, 2010 by Henri J. M. Nouwen

This is Henri Nouwen’s “secret journal.” It was  written during the most difficult period of his life, when he suddenly lost his self-esteem,  his energy to live and work, his sense of being loved, even his hope in God. Although he experienced excruciating anguish and despair, he was still able to keep a journal in which he wrote a spiritual imperative to himself each day that emerged from his conversations with friends and supporters.

With Open Hands Apr 1, 2006 by Henri J. M. Nouwen , Sue Monk Kidd

With Open Hands, Henri Nouwen’s first book on spirituality and a treasured introduction to prayer, has been a perennial favorite for over thirty years because it gently encourages an open, trusting stance toward God and offers insight to the components of prayer: silence, acceptance, hope, compassion, and prophetic criticism. Provocative questions invite reflection and self-awareness, while simple and beautiful prayers provide comfort, peace, and reassurance. With over half a million copies printed in seven languages, this spiritual classic has been reissued for a new generation with moving photography and a foreword by Sue Monk Kidd.

Spiritual Direction: Wisdom for the Long Walk of Faith Feb 20, 2018 by Henri J. M. Nouwen

Henri Nouwen—beloved author, priest, and internationally recognized spiritual master, counselor, and guide—offers gentle wisdom for universal questions of the spiritual life:

Who am I?
Where have I been and where am I going?
Who is God for me?
Where do I belong?
How can I be of service?

As a priest, pastor, and professor of spirituality at Notre Dame, Yale, and Harvard, Nouwen offered spiritual direction to many students, but his famous course on spiritual direction was never recorded during his lifetime. Now, in Spiritual Direction, the first of a series, one of Nouwen’s students (Michael Christensen) and one of his editors (Rebecca Laird) have developed his courses and practice of spiritual direction into a book of profound wisdom for living a deep spiritual life.

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Here and Now: Living in the Spirit Apr 30, 2016 by Henri J. M. Nouwen

Not a faint memory, but happening right here and now, spiritual living takes place in the present; the Spirit meets us in the ordinary. These inspirational reflections by Henri Nouwen succeed in convincing us that God’s presence is reliable.

Spiritual Formation: Following the Movements of the Spirit Jul 9, 2010 by Henri J. M. Nouwen

“Henri Nouwen was one of the great spiritual masters of the modern age. His beloved writings have helped millions understand that no matter where we are, God can meet us there. Read this brand-new compilation of his writings and conferences, and let Henri Nouwen accompany you—with his trademark wisdom, acuity, common sense, erudition and, most of all, compassion—and help you encounter God more fully in your daily life.” — James Martin, SJ, author of The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything

Led by the writing of beloved, bestselling author Henri Nouwen (With Open Hands, Reaching Out, The Wounded Healer, Making All Things New), the authors of Spiritual Direction, return with the second work in this popular spirituality series on how to live out the five classical stages of spiritual development.

The Genesee Diary: Report from a Trappist Monastery Nov 20, 2013 by Henri J. M. Nouwen

During his seven-month stay in a Trappist monastery, Henri Nouwen had a unique opportunity to explore crucial issues of the spiritual life and discover “a quiet stream underneath the fluctuating affirmations and rejections of my little world.” Nouwen participated fully in the daily life of the Abbey of the Genesee in upstate New York — in work and in prayer. From the early weeks in the abbey — dominated by conflicting desires and concerns — to the final days of Advent, when he finds a new sense of calm expectation, Nouwen never loses his critical honesty. Insightful, compassionate, often humorous, always realistic, The Genesee Diary is both an inspiration and a challenge to those who are in search of themselves.

The Return of the Prodigal Son Anniversary Edition: A Special Two-in-One Volume, including Home Tonight Oct 4, 2016 by Henri J. M. Nouwen

In seizing the inspiration that came to him through Rembrandt’s depiction of the powerful Gospel story “The Return of the Prodigal Son,” Henri Nouwen probes several movements of the parable: the younger son’s return, the father’s restoration of sonship, the elder son’s vengefulness, and the father’s compassion. In his reflection on Rembrandt in light of his own life’s journey, the author evokes a powerful drama of the parable in a rich, capativating way that is sure to reverberate in the hearts of readers. The themes of homecoming, affirmation, and reconciliation will be newly discovered by all who have known loneliness, dejection, jealousy, or anger. Coupled with the lectures that inspired the book and originally collected in Home Tonight, this special 2-in-1 omnibus will be the definitive edition of the spiritual classic.

Can You Drink the Cup? Oct 1, 2012 by Henri J. M. Nouwen

The last book published before Henri Nouwen’s death in 1996, Can You Drink the Cup? has been translated into ten languages and sold more than 140,000 copies. Exploring the deep spiritual impact of the question Jesus asked his friends James and John, Nouwen reflects upon the metaphor of the cup, using the images of holding, lifting, and drinking to articulate the basics of the spiritual life. Written with the profound insight and clarity characteristic of his numerous best-selling books, Nouwen’s deeply perceptive exploration of Jesus’ challenging question has the power to pierce your heart, expand your spiritual horizons, and radically change your life.