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Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life

by Henri J. M. Nouwen

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1,942138,484 (3.86)2
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 Outis 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."… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
The clear writing is straightforward and the book progresses logically in three movements: from loneliness to solitude, hostility to hospitality, and from illusion to prayer. ( )
  katefren | Aug 15, 2022 |
With clarity and deep spiritual insight, this religious bestseller offers today's Christian a perceptive, systematic plan for living the spiritual life achieving union with God.
  StFrancisofAssisi | Mar 22, 2020 |
Reaching Out was written during the years Nouwen was an academic, and sometimes that shows up in his approach and the stories he tells to illustrate his points. Even so, this book is accessible and offers useful reflections on the tensions between loneliness and solitude, hostility and hospitality, and illusion and prayer, his three movements of the spiritual life. Note that they progress from self through other people to God. I particularly liked what Nouwen has to say about the Jesus Prayer and prayer of the heart. ( )
  nmele | Sep 5, 2019 |
Excellent explorations of some of the pain people suffer in loneliness, hostility and illusions. Gently written, looking at ways to reach out beyond these frustrations towards God.

Re-reading six years after I first read it, I don't find it quite as moving or inspirational as I did the first time; nonetheless, there's a lot to ponder. Nouwen writes well, in a thoughtful way: his theme is that we need to move from loneliness into a more spiritual and positive solitude, from hostility towards other people towards true hospitality in every sense, and from illusions to a deep form of prayer that is beyond simple petitions.

It's not a book I could read at a couple of sittings; I intended to read a chapter every morning but found very often that just two or three pages gave me sufficient food for thought. I hope that the ideas and suggestions within the book will remain with me for some time to come.

At the end of the main book there's also a much briefer book, 'Beyond the Mirror' that looks at how Henri Nouwen's life focus and attitudes changes as he faced the possibility of dying after a road accident. Also extremely thought-provoking.

Recommended.
( )
  SueinCyprus | Jan 26, 2016 |
Henri Nouwen's book *Reaching Out* has deep insights to offer regarding hospitality - fitting well with the Monk Manifesto found at Abbey of the Arts...
"commit to radical acts of hospitality by welcoming the stranger both without and within. I recognize that when I make space inside my heart for the unclaimed parts of myself, I cultivate compassion and the ability to accept those places in others."
beautiful book of depth and understanding in the journey of hospitality
ever wonder if people want to know you
or
are they wanting to know about you?...

so much easier to superficially categorize someone, enabling dismissal, rather than investing the time & energy required for presence & interest in actually meeting another in depth ...

what treasures might we be missing ?

( )
  FHC | Jun 13, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
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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 Outis 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."

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