Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Making All Things New: An Invitation to the Spiritual Life Making All Things New: An Invitation to the Spiritual Life

"During the past few years, various friends have asked me, 'What do you mean when you speak about the spiritual life?' Every time this question has come up, I have wished I had a small and simple book which could offer the beginning of a response. I have felt that there was a place for a text that could be read within a few hours and could not only explain what the spiritual life is but also create a desire to live it. This feeling caused me to write Making All Things New..." "The beginning of the spiritual life is often difficult not only because the powers which cause us to worry are so strong but also because the presence of God's Spirit seems barely noticeable. If, however, we are willing to live a life of prayer and practice the disciplines of solitude and community, a new hunger will make itself known. This new hunger is the first sign of God's presence. When we remain attentive to this divine presence, we will be led always deeper into the kingdom. There, to our joyful surprise, we will discover that the power of our worries is weakening and all things are being made new." - -from Making All Things New Making All Things New: An Invitation to the Spiritual Life is a short, clean, clear book about how to begin finding the peace of mind to hear the voice of God. The book's epigraph, from Mark, is anchored in Jesus' words: "Do not worry." Nouwen acknowledges that worry is so ingrained in many people's daily lives that it seems to be an integral part of positive achievement and self-protection. Yet he explains, with devastating directness, the destructive effects of busy-ness and its attendant habit of worrying, then shows how Jesus responds to these worries, and finally describes some disciplines that "can cause our worries slowly to lose their grip on us, and which can thus allow the Spirit of God to do his recreating work." Nouwen's voice sounds like that of the mentor or spiritual director that many people have always wished for: his authority stems from a talent for realistic comfort rather than forceful coercion. So when he writes the following words, it's eminently possible to believe him: A hard struggle is required.... But this struggle is not beyond our strength. It calls from some very specific, well-planned steps. It calls for a few moments a day in the presence of God when we can listen to his voice precisely in the midst of our many concerns. It also calls for the persistent endeavor to be with others in a new way by seeing them not as people to whom we can cling in fear, but as fellow human beings with whom we can create new space for God. --Michael Joseph Gross Review “[Henri Nouwen] offers faith in plain speech, solid nourishment for the soul.” (Kathleen Norris, author of The Cloister Walk ) “In this quietly written call to follow the way of Christian spirituality, Nouwen emphasizes the necessity for a personal program of contemplative solitude and for the individual’s involvement in a community of like-seeking Christians.” (Booklist ) “Nouwen skillfully blends his knowledge of psychological growth with the great Christian traditions of spiritual development.” (Commonweal ) “An invitation to the peace of mind and all-embracing love that is called the Holy Spirit.” (The Lutheran ) “In this little book, Nouwen urges us the one thing necessary: a total, fearless listening to the Father.” (The Living Church ) “It so clearly and beautifully lets us know where, and when, and what kind of event is the spiritual life.” (The Presbyterian Outlook ) “An instructive and gentle book. Henri Nouwen does more than tell us that solitude and community are essential for the spiritual life. His words impart a spirit that will better enable his readers to provide themselves with these seemingly contradictory necessities.” (Elizabeth O'Connor, author of Journey Inward, Journey Outward ) “A fine introduction to the spiritual life.” (National Catholic Reporter ) >>> http://ping.fm/Pd2Rf

About the Author

Nancy Ashley

Author & Editor

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