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Can You Drink the Cup? by Henri J. M. Nouwen

Can You Drink the Cup? (1996)

by Henri J. M. Nouwen

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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.
  StFrancisofAssisi | Jul 11, 2019 |
Using the cup as a metaphor, Nouwen reflects on the images of Holding, Lifting and Drinking to articulate the basics of spiritual life.
  PendleHillLibrary | Aug 19, 2016 |
Henri Nouwen looks at the question Jesus asked his friends shortly before his death: 'Can you drink the cup?'

In a short book, he examines the images of holding a cup, lifting it, and then finally drinking, and uses them as a metaphor for the Christian life.

Well-written, as expected by this author, and somewhat thought-provoking, but I didn't find it particularly inspiring or memorable. Still, I shall probably return to it in future. ( )
  SueinCyprus | Jan 26, 2016 |
Decent book and somewhat thought-provoking. But, at times very slow. Glossed over a dozen pages. However, this book really hammers home the point of knowing the cup from which we drink from, namely living the life of Christ. Nouwen also draws a lot of insight from his experiences at the Daybreak community for which he served amongst the disabled.

Chapter 7: "Drinking" was by far my favorite chapter. I liked how Nouwen put into perspective how most drinking engagements are an illustration of trust, vulnerability, and intimacy shared between two or more people. He correlates that to life, we either drink the cup that we have been handed without fear, but with trust and confidence, or we handle it with much fear and trepidation. We share what we've been blessed with to others and walk through life both the good and bad with others. Drinking the cup of both joy and sorrow.

My favorite quote from the book:

"Salvation is not only a goal for the afterlife. Salvation is a reality of every day that we can taste here and now." (pg. 100) ( )
  gdill | May 16, 2013 |
A nice if somewhat maudlin book based on a very poorly chosen, clumsy metaphor. ( )
  palaverofbirds | Mar 29, 2013 |
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In memory of
Adam John Arnett
November 17, 1961 – February 13, 1996
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It was Sunday, July 21, 1957, Bernard Alfrink, the Cardinal Archbishop of the Netherlands, laid his hands on my head, dressed me with a white chasuble, and offered me his golden chalice to touch with my hands bound together with a linen cloth.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0877935815, Paperback)

Can we drink this cup as Jesus did? Henri Nouwen not only raises that question but also wrestles with it on every page. With stories from his family life and his life with people with mental disabilities he challenges us to drink our cup to the bottom, thereby letting it become the cup of our salvation. For those who have the courage to make Jesus' question their own, Can You Drink the Cup? can be life changing.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:36 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"Can you drink the cup?" Jesus asked this question of his friends James and John (Matthew 20:20-23). It is this question, explains our spiritual guide, Henri Nouwen, that "has the power to crack open the hardened heart and lay bare the tendons of the spiritual life." Nouwen uses the cup as a metaphor to articulate the basic postures of the spiritual life: holding, lifting and drinking. The cup is a powerful image in our human experience. We use cups in our celebrations of a variety of events. Nouwen reminds us that we also use the cup as a symbolic vessel "for sorrow, joy, blessings, salvation." Drinking our cup to the bottom is seen as the expression of the full freedom of the sons and daughters of God, Nouwen writes. His goal is to make the question Jesus posed to James and John pierce our hearts so that a personal answer can emerge from it.… (more)

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