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Clowning in Rome: Reflections on Solitude,…

Clowning in Rome: Reflections on Solitude, Celibacy, Prayer, and…

by Henri J. M. Nouwen

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385151292, Paperback)

Clowning in Rome: Reflections on Solitude, Celibacy, Prayer, and Contemplation collects four lectures given by the Catholic priest Henri Nouwen at the North American College in Rome in the 1970s. The lectures, which explore each of the topics named in the book's subtitle, are direct, pragmatic, and delightful. Nouwen's views on these weighty subjects are suffused with a lightness inspired by the clowns whose street performances captured his imagination during a visit to the Holy City. He describes these clowns as "awkward, out of balance and left-handed," and sees them as reminders of human weakness whose fumbles offer important lessons about the holiness of play. "Whenever the clowns appear we are reminded that what really counts is something other than the spectacular and the sensational," Nouwen writes. "Clowns remind us of what happens between the scenes. The clowns show us by their 'useless' behavior not simply that many of our preoccupations, worries, tensions, and anxieties need a smile, but that we too have white on our faces and that we too are called to clown a little." --Michael Joseph Gross

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:41 -0400)

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