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Review of Nouwens Reaching Out



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    In the words of Ronald Rolheiser, Henri Nouwen was” the spiritual writer who most influenced our generation.”(Henri Nouwen Society, 2009)Henri Nouwen was a religious philosopher, a synthesist of present times, alongside Thomas Merton, to deliberately build up a “theology of the heart” and to place this down as a guide for the clergy and people, all together. Henri always put a great deal of emphasis on the relational. He spoke very honestly about the modern-day yearning for connotation, belonging, and understanding and, simultaneously amalgamates this with an influential revelation of service and communal evenhandedness. Nouwen frequently used the three central premises of seclusion, society, and empathy to facilitate the community to cross the threshold into an unsullied image of the saintly existence. In his book, Reaching Out, which incorporated a unique publication addition of Beyond the Mirror – an explanation of Nouwen’s professed near-death incident and the spiritual illumination which resulted in some of the analysis articulated in Reaching Out.
    As per Nouwen, the conduit of theology is a flight between schisms in three detached areas. The first region consists of the aloofness amid loneliness and seclusion; this includes getting in the direction of self. The second region concerned reaching en route for others and is illustrated as the divergence between hospitality and hostility. Lastly, Nouwen talks about the third region, prayer verses illusion, the realization in the direction of God. The author gives details on how each entity come across himself, someplace involving the acute extremity at dissimilar epoch of his existence but that our objective, as Christians, is to stay behind on the surface of seclusion, kindness, and entreaty.
    Nouwen (1975) posited that lonesomeness is the miserable stipulation of the fallen individual heart which forms a basis for the people to act in response to others in egotistical conduct. He sheds light on the fact that how people undergo lonesomeness no matter how countless people they have around themselves, the reason being that it is a situation of the heart and thoughts rather than a deficit of camaraderie. Solitude, conversely, is illustrated by Nouwen as a, consign where we are at ease with our reality and are consequently able to be contented with others. In a place of seclusion we are no longer frantically reaching out for others to meet our requirements, rather our focal point is curved inmost and seeks to God as our foundation.
    The objective of living a triumphant Christian life necessitates that people have a welcoming approach in the direction of mankind and natural world, rather than approaching it with antagonism (Nouwen, 1975). When people instigate seeing their associates, boss, offspring and links as explorers who are fleeting all the way through this life with them, they are more competent to take care of them with generosity. This mind-set self-corrects the unreceptive stance of possession and obligation in the direction of one another. For example, rather than thinking of family as your property, which will in turn be a source of delight when they do fine, and embarrassment when they do disappointingly, we must notice them as associate travelers for whom we have been prearranged the mission of being compassionate for and raising. Nouwen elucidates that this facilitates the people by suitably restraining them when they are adolescent as well as let them set out when they are adults.
    Lastly, Nouwen articulates the magnitude of the final schism: illusion verses prayer. Not only was this the most imperative quarter to confer, according to Nouwen, it was the part where he was the most well-known with since he toiled with the Trappist Monks in the Abby of Genesse in New York. Nouwen had a vast deal of knowledge looking for proficiency in the skill of prayer and declared that it was the most indispensable commission of our existence and yet the most deceptive one. He said “…it is very hard to come in touch with it, to get a grasp on it, to get hold of it, or even – to put a finger on it.” (Nouwen, p. 84) It is stimulating to pace back and glance closer at the indispensable steps to bring into being consequential prayer and indulgence. He demonstrates his pandemic spirit and his clear perspicacity of reality surrounded by the miscellany of faith customs, while remaining intensely affixed in the gospel.


    Nouwen, Henri J. M (1986). Reaching out: the three movements of the spiritual life. Image Books

    Henri Nouwen Society (2009)Henri Nouwen. Retrieved from :


    Review of Nouwens Reaching Out. (2016, Nov 30). Retrieved from

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