Famous Quotes & Sayings

Henri Nouwen Quotes & Sayings

Enjoy the top 100 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by Henri Nouwen.

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Henri Nouwen Quotes 1791328

Writing is not just a job. It helps me to pray. It's a way of being. — Henri Nouwen

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The dance of life finds its beginnings in grief ... Here a completely new way of living is revealed. It is the way in which pain can be embraced, not out of a desire to suffer, but in the knowledge that something new will be born in the pain. — Henri Nouwen

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When you have loved deeply, that love can grow even stronger after the death of the person you love. That is the core message of Jesus. — Henri Nouwen

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The main question is not, how can we hide our wounds ... but how can we put our woundedness in service to others. — Henri Nouwen

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Perhaps nothing helps us make the movement from our little selves to a larger world than remembering God in gratitude. Such a perspective puts God in view in all of life, not just in the moments we set aside for worship or spiritual disciplines. Not just in the moments when life seems easy. — Henri Nouwen

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Prayer is the way to both the heart of God and the heart of the world - precisely because they have been joined through the suffering of Jesus Christ Praying is letting one's own heart become the place where the tears of God's children merge and become tears of hope. — Henri Nouwen

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This sounds very simple and maybe even trite, but very few people know that they are loved without condition or limits. — Henri Nouwen

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I am learning that the best cure for hypocrisy is community. Hypocrisy is not so much the result of not living what I preach but much more of not confessing my inability to fully live up to my own words. — Henri Nouwen

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O Lord, make this Lenten season different from the other ones.
Let me find you again. Amen. — Henri Nouwen

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It is to this silence [contemplative prayer] that we all are called. — Henri Nouwen

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People have filled an enormously important role in my life - more than books! For me, it's not the formal advising or the therapy that meant so much. It was more the fact that someone committed himself or herself to me. They were really interested in my life; they wanted to know what I was doing; they followed me; they dared to confront and challenge me. — Henri Nouwen

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The friend who cares makes it clear that whatever happens in the external world, being present to each other is what really matters. In fact, it matters more than pain, illness, or even death. — Henri Nouwen

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Which questions guide our lives? Which questions do we make our own? Which questions deserve our undivided and full personal commitment? Finding the right questions is crucial to finding the answers. — Henri Nouwen

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It's an incredible mystery of God's love that the more you know how deeply you are loved, the more you will see how deeply your sisters and your brothers in the human family are loved. — Henri Nouwen

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Every time you reject yourself, you idealize others — Henri Nouwen

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Everything changes radically from the moment you know yourself as being sent into this world. — Henri Nouwen

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We have to trust that our stories deserve to be told. We may discover that the better we tell our stories the better we will want to live them. — Henri Nouwen

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Home is the center of my being where I can hear the voice that says: 'You are my Beloved, on you my favor rests' - the same voice that gave life to the first Adam and spoke to Jesus, the second Adam; the same voice that speaks to all the children of God and sets them free to live in the midst of a dark world while remaining in the light. — Henri Nouwen

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It is very hard to stay in touch with our true identity because those who want our money, our time, and our energy profit more from our insecurity and fears than from our inner freedom. — Henri Nouwen

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The evangelical movement has become just a bit victimized by a success-oriented culture, wanting the church - like the corporation - to be successful. — Henri Nouwen

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I feel strongly that the God we meet in solitude is always the God who calls us to community. — Henri Nouwen

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From the moment we claim the truth of being the beloved, we are faced with the call to become who we are. — Henri Nouwen

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'How much longer will I live?' ... Only one thing seems clear to me. Every day should be well-lived. What a simple truth! Still, it is worthy of my attention. — Henri Nouwen

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Praying is no easy matter. It demands a relationship in which you allow someone other than yourself to enter into the very center of your person, to see there what you would rather leave in darkness, and to touch there what you would rather leave untouched. — Henri Nouwen

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Although many, we might even say most, strangers in this world become easily the victim of a fearful hostility, it is possible for men and women and obligatory for Christians to offer an open and hospitable space where strangers can cast off their strangeness and become our fellow human beings. — Henri Nouwen

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A sense of solitude is one of the most beautiful things that parents can give a child. It doesn't mean leaving the child alone, but it does mean creating safe spaces where the child can be with other people. It does mean directing their attention to God. — Henri Nouwen

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Now I wonder whether I have sufficiently realized that during all this time God has been trying to find me, to know me, and to love me. The question is not 'How am I to find God?' but 'How am I to let myself be found by him?' The question is not 'How am I to love God?' but 'How am I to let myself be loved by God?' — Henri Nouwen

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Each individual human being can claim the Spirit of Jesus as the guiding spirit of his or her life. In that Spirit we can speak and act freely and confidently with the knowledge that the same Spirit that inspired Jesus is inspiring us. — Henri Nouwen

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The mystery of the spiritual life is that Jesus desires to meet us in the seclusion of our own heart, to make his love known to us there, to free us from our fears, and to make our own deepest self known to us Each time you let the love of God penetrate deeper into your heart it leads to a love of ourselves that enables us to give whole-hearted love to our fellow human beings. In the seclusion of our hearts we learn to know the hidden presence of God; and with that spiritual knowledge we can lead a loving life. — Henri Nouwen

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One of the most satisfying aspects of writing is that it can open in us deep wells of hidden treasures that are beautiful for us as well as for others to see. — Henri Nouwen

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I still believe that the university is a place where people can develop their minds and learn skills, but also they can develop their personalities and their spiritual life. — Henri Nouwen

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To be baptized means to make the passage with the people of Israel and with Jesus from slavery to freedom and from death to new life. It is a commitment to a life in and through Jesus. — Henri Nouwen

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If fear is the great enemy of intimacy, love is its true friend. — Henri Nouwen

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We cannot make it rain but we can see to it that the rain falls on prepared soil. — Henri Nouwen

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The crisis of our prayer life is that our minds may be filled with ideas of God while our hearts remain far from him. — Henri Nouwen

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There is nothing so important in the family as the sacred quality of the meal. — Henri Nouwen

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When I trust deeply that today God is truly with me and holds me safe in a divine embrace, guiding every one of my steps I can let go of my anxious need to know how tomorrow will look, or what will happen next month or next year. I can be fully where I am and pay attention to the many signs of God's love within me and around me. — Henri Nouwen

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I have always felt that if I am very personal and connected with what I myself am living, my writing will transcend ecclesial boundaries. — Henri Nouwen

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Spiritual maturity is not knowing what to do with your whole life, but just knowing what to do next. — Henri Nouwen

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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

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When we break bread and give it to each other, fear vanishes and God becomes very close. — Henri Nouwen

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Hope is willing to leave unanswered questions unanswered and unknown futures unknown. Hope makes you see God's guiding hand not only in the gentle and pleasant moments but also in the shadows of disappointment and darkness. — Henri Nouwen

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So I am praying while not knowing how to pray. I am resting while feeling restless, at peace while tempted, safe while still anxious, surrounded by a cloud of light while still in darkness, in love while still doubting. — Henri Nouwen

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Is my growing old making me any closer to Christ? Am I only getting older or am I getting more godly? — Henri Nouwen

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It is precisely in times of spiritual dryness that we must hold on to our spiritual discipline so that we can grow into new intimacy with God. — Henri Nouwen

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Do not hesitate to love and to love deeply. — Henri Nouwen

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I have found it very important ... to let go of my wishes and start hoping. — Henri Nouwen

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Obviously a child can never conceive solitude if his parents aren't living it somewhere themselves. I don't mean that to be alone you have to get down on your knees for an hour in a yoga posture. — Henri Nouwen

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We need to remind each other that the cup of sorrow is also the cup of joy, that precisely what causes us sadness can become the fertile ground for gladness. — Henri Nouwen

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Prayer requires that we stand in God's presence with open hands, naked and vulnerable, proclaiming to ourselves and to others that without God we can do nothing. As disciples, we find not some but all of our strength, hope, courage, and confidence in God. Therefore, prayer must be our first concern. — Henri Nouwen

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Prayer is the breath of your life which gives you the freedom to go and stay where you wish and to find the many signs which point out the way to a new land. — Henri Nouwen

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The only feelings that do not heal are the ones you hide. — Henri Nouwen

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Active waiting means present fully to the moment, in the conviction that something is happening where you are and that you want to be present to it. — Henri Nouwen

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As long as we have our stories there is hope. — Henri Nouwen

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When I could no longer cling to my normal supports I discovered that true support and real safety lie far beyond the structures of our world. — Henri Nouwen

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Too many of us are lonely ministers practicing a lonely ministry. — Henri Nouwen

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The art of living is to enjoy what we can see and not complain about what remains in the dark. — Henri Nouwen

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To be a minister means above all to become powerless, or in more precise terms, to speak with our powerlessness to the condition of powerlessness which is so keenly felt but so seldom expressed by the people of our age. — Henri Nouwen

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Lord Jesus, master of both the light and the darkness, send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas. We whose hearts are heavy seek the joy of your presence. We are your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking the light. To you we say, 'Come Lord Jesus!' — Henri Nouwen

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One of the most beautiful ways for spiritual formation to take place is to let your insecurity lead you closer to the Lord. Natural hypersensitivity can become an asset; it makes you aware of your need to be with people and it allows you to be more willing to look at their needs. — Henri Nouwen

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In true love the smallest distance is too great, and the greatest distance can be bridged. — Henri Nouwen

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One of the remarkable qualities of the story is that it creates space. We can dwell in a story, walk around, find our own place. The story confronts but does not oppress; the story inspires but does not manipulate. The story invites us to an encounter, a dialogue, a mutual sharing. As long as we have stories to tell to each other there is hope. As long as we can remind each other of the lives of men and women in whom the love of God becomes manifest, there is reason to move forward to new land in which new stories are hidden. — Henri Nouwen

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The life-converting experience is not the discovery that I have choices to make that determine the way I live out my existence, but the awareness that my that my existence itself is not in the center. Once I 'know' God, that is, once I experience God's love as the love in which all my human experiences are anchored, I can desire only one thing: to be in that love. — Henri Nouwen

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Our spiritual life is a life in which we wait, actively present to the moment, expecting that new things will happen to us, new things that are far beyond our own imagination or prediction. This, indeed, is a very radical stance toward life in a world preoccupied with control. — Henri Nouwen

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To forgive another from the heart is an act of liberation. We set that person free from the negative bonds that exist between us. As long as we do not forgive we pull them with us, or worse, as a heavy load. The great temptation is to cling in anger to our enemies & then define ourselves as being offended & wounded by them. Forgiveness, therefore, liberates not only the other but also ourselves. It is the way to the freedom of the children of God. — Henri Nouwen

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If you are not able to be silent, you will not be able to speak well. — Henri Nouwen

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We are all healers who can reach out and offer health, and we are all patients in constant need of help. — Henri Nouwen

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Ministry is the least important thing. You cannot not minister if you are in communion with God and live in community. — Henri Nouwen

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Community is where humility and glory touch. — Henri Nouwen

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I am deeply convince that the necessity of prayer, and to pray unceasingly, is not as much based on our desire for God as on God's desire for us. It is God's passionate pursuit of us that calls us to prayer. — Henri Nouwen

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The more you are called to speak for God's love, the more you will need to deepen the knowledge of that love in your own heart. The farther the outward journey takes you, the deeper the inward journey must be. Only when your roots are deep can your fruits be abundant. — Henri Nouwen

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Christian community is the place where we keep the flame of hope alive among us and take it seriously so that it can grow and become stronger in us. — Henri Nouwen

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Discipline means to prevent everything in your life from being filled up. Discipline means that somewhere you're not occupied, and certainly not preoccupied. In the spiritual life, discipline means to create that space in which something can happen that you hadn't planned or counted on. — Henri Nouwen

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When we become aware that we do not have to escape our pains, but that we can mobilize them into a common search for life, those very pains are transformed from expressions of despair into signs of hope. — Henri Nouwen

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Your heart is greater than your wounds. — Henri Nouwen

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For Jesus, there are no countries to be conquered, no ideologies to be imposed, no people to be dominated. There are only children, women and men to be loved. — Henri Nouwen

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Asking people for money is giving them the opportunity to put their resources at the disposal of the Kingdom. — Henri Nouwen

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If I were to let my life be taken over by what is urgent, I might very well never get around to what is essential. — Henri Nouwen

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To receive spiritual direction is to recognize that God does not solve our problems or answer all our questions, but leads us closer to the mystery of our existence where all questions cease. — Henri Nouwen

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Jesus has to be and become ever more the center of my life. It is not enough that Jesus is my teacher, my guide, my source of inspiration. It is not even enough that he is my companion on they journey, my friend and my brother. Jesus must become the heart of my heart, the fire of my life, the love of my soul, the bridegroom of my spirit. He must become my only thought, my only concern, my only desire. — Henri Nouwen

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I really believe that what we finally want is to know God, as God has come to be known through Jesus. Knowledge is knowledge of the heart - the Spirit - I would say. It is the Spirit in us who reveals God. — Henri Nouwen

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The Christian leaders of the future have to be theologians, persons who know the heart of God and are trained - through prayer, study, and careful analysis - to manifest the divine event of God's saving work in the midst of the many seemingly random events of their time. — Henri Nouwen

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Our first responsibility in the midst of violence is to prevent it from destroying us. — Henri Nouwen

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The real enemies of our life are the 'oughts' and the 'ifs.' They pull us backward into the unalterable past and forward into the unpredictable future. But real life takes place in the here and now. — Henri Nouwen

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Forgiveness changes the way we remember. It converts the curse into a blessing. Forgiveness indeed heals memories ... — Henri Nouwen

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For as long as you can remember, you have been a pleaser, depending on others to give you an identity. You need not look at that only in a negative way. You wanted to give your heart to others, and you did so quickly and easily. But now you are being asked to let go of all these self-made props and trust that God is enough for you. You must stop being a pleaser and reclaim your identity as a free self. — Henri Nouwen

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Spiritual identity means we are not what we do or what people say about us. And we are not what we have. We are the beloved daughters and sons of God. — Henri Nouwen

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When everything is dark, when we are surrounded by despairing voices, when we do not see any exits, then we can find salvation in a remembered love, a love which is not simply a recollection of a bygone past but a living force which sustains us in the present. Through memory, love transcends the limits of time and offers hope at any moment of our lives. — Henri Nouwen

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People with handicaps teach me that being is more important than doing, the heart is more important than the mind, and caring together is better than caring alone. — Henri Nouwen

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Real greatness is often humble, simple, and unobtrusive. It is not easy to trust ourselves and our actions without public affirmation. Some of the greatest works of art and the most important works of peace were created by people who had no need for the limelight. They knew that what they were doing was their call, and they did it with great patience, perseverance, and love. — Henri Nouwen

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To learn patience is not to rebel against every hardship. — Henri Nouwen

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I am beginning now to see how radically the character of my spiritual journey will change when I no longer think of God as hiding out and making it as difficult as possible for me to find him, but instead as the one who is looking for me while I am doing the hiding ... — Henri Nouwen

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Living in a community with very wounded people, I came to see that I had lived most of my life as a tightrope artist trying to walk on a high, thin cable from one tower to the other, always waiting for the applause when I had not fallen off and broken my leg. — Henri Nouwen

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In community, where you have all the affection you could ever dream of, you feel that there is a place where even community cannot reach. That's a very important experience. In that loneliness, which is like a dark night of the soul, you learn that God is greater than community. — Henri Nouwen

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Those who are marginal in the world are central in the Church, and that is how it is supposed to be! Thus we are called as members of the Church to keep going to the margins of our society. The homeless, the starving, parentless children, people with AIDS, our emotionally disturbed brothers and sisters - they require our first attention. — Henri Nouwen

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In solitude we become aware that we were together before we came together and that life is not a creation of our will but rather an obedient response to the reality of our being united. — Henri Nouwen

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Learning to weep, learning to keep vigil, learning to wait for the dawn. Perhaps this is what it means to be human. — Henri Nouwen

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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

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In this crazy world, there's an enormous distinction between good times and bad, between sorrow and joy. But in the eyes of God, they're never separated. Where there is pain, there is healing. Where there is mourning, there is dancing. Where there is poverty, there is the kingdom. — Henri Nouwen

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Our glory is hidden in our pain, if we allow God to bring the gift of himself in our experience of it. — Henri Nouwen