Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Way of the Heart

I've been a Henri Nouwen fan for years, but I've recently discovered a book of his that I had not previously heard of: The Way of the Heart. It's a look at the desert fathers and mothers and what their lives and writings have to contribute to contemporary ministry and spirituality. It's quickly becoming my favorite Nouwen book, which is saying a lot, considering The Return of the Prodigal Son and In the Name of Jesus have both been life-altering books for me. There is much about silence and solitude in its pages, two disciplines that I have been seeking to grow in and two disciplines that can be strengths for introverts. As I am working on my own chapter on "introverted spirituality," I will be posting the Nouwen quotes that I find helpful over the next couple of weeks:

"Solitude is the furnace of transformation. Without solitude we remain victims of our society and continue to be entangled in the illusions of the false self. Jesus himself entered into this furnace. There he was tempted with the three compulsions of the world: to be relevant ("turn stones into loaves"), to be spectacular ("throw yourself down"), and to be powerful ("I will give you all these kingdoms"). There he affirmed God as the only source of his identity ("You must worship the Lord your God and serve him alone"). Solitude is the place of the great struggle and the great encounter - the struggle against the compulsions of the false self, and the encounter with the loving God who offers himself as the substance of the new self" (p. 26).