Day 12: Some thoughts from Henri Nouwen

As Advent is amongst us, may we, as children of God, run with joy to unwrap our gifts of the Spirit, praying, playing, living boldly in Christ’s love. The following is a compilation of thoughts on courage from one of my favorite theologians, Henri Nouwen. Enjoy! – Patrice Donnell

On Courage:

“Have courage,” we often say to one another.  Courage is a spiritual virtue.  The word courage comes from the Latin word cor, which means “heart. A courageous act is an act coming from the heart. A courageous word is a word arising from the heart. The heart, however, is not just the place where our emotions are located. The heart is the centre of our being, the centre of all thoughts, feelings, passions, and decisions.”

On Solitude:

“To live a spiritual life we must first find the courage to enter into the desert of our loneliness and to change it by gentle and persistent efforts into a garden of solitude. The movement from loneliness to solitude, however, is the beginning of any spiritual life because it it is the movement from the restless senses to the restful spirit, from the outward-reaching cravings to the inward-reaching search, from the fearful clinging to the fearless play.”

On Spiritual Risk:

“Courage is connected with taking risks. Jumping the Grand Canyon on a motorbike, coming over Niagara Falls in a barrel, or crossing the ocean in a rowboat are called courageous acts because people risk their lives by doing these things. But none of these daredevil acts comes from the centre of our being. They all come from the desire to test our physical limits and to become famous and popular.

Spiritual courage is something completely different. It is following the deepest desires of our hearts at the risk of losing fame and popularity. It asks of us the willingness to lose our temporal lives in order to gain eternal life.”

On Challenges:

“Lord, give us patience so that we may truly see obstacles as doors, the “not-quite-rights” of life as a foundation, our sufferings and indifference as eventual gateways to good works, to diligent service, and to our inheritance of salvation. Make the challenges on our spiritual journey into opportunities to say “yes” to your love. Amen.”

– Henri Nouwen

3 thoughts on “Day 12: Some thoughts from Henri Nouwen

  1. Love this quote: “To live a spiritual life we must first find the courage to enter into the desert of our loneliness and to change it by gentle and persistent efforts into a garden of solitude”. How far apart this seems from some forms of outward-Christianity around us. but deeper and longer lasting. thanks

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