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Making All Things New: An Invitation to the Spiritual Life Hardcover – September 22, 2009

4.7 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Making All Things New: An Invitation to the Spiritual Life by Henri Nouwen 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

“A fine introduction to the spiritual life.” (National Catholic Reporter)

“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)

Praise for Henri J. M. Nouwen:“Nouwen skillfully blends his knowledge of psychological growth with the great Christian traditions of spiritual development.” (Commonweal)

“[Henri Nouwen] offers faith in plain speech, solid nourishment for the soul.” (Kathleen Norris, author of The Cloister Walk)

“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)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; Reissue edition (September 22, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006066326X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060663261
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 7.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #77,707 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Henri Nouwen (1932-1996) writes in a comforting style. When I read this book, I feel drawn to a peaceful, spiritual centre. I, too, had found it difficult to "find" GOD in my meditations. Henri Nouwen explains, "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 waking and all things are being made new." Since reading this book, I have become away of being drawn to develop my own spiritual relationship. Without knowing exactly the source of this power, I nonetheless can feel my spiritual life growing. I feel I now understand a bit more clearly what a spiritual life is, and I certainly have found a desire to live it. If you are interested in developing a spiritual relationship, this book will be interesting to you.
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Format: Hardcover
This is one of Nouwen's shorter books and can be read in a couple of hours. It is written in three primary sections as many of his books are structured: "All These Other Things", "His Kingdom First", and "Set Your Hearts". I found the first section to be the best. He successfully illustrates numerous things in our lives that leave us "filled, yet unfulfilled". He touches on worry, depression and resentment. He gives wonderful guidance in centering our busy lives with a focus on the Kingdom. Nouwen successfully illustrates that even the busy and worry filled life can be the spiritual life if it is lived in the "active presence of God's Spirit".
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Format: Hardcover
Henri Nouwen is a spiritual father. His book, Making All Things New, is simply another reminder of his signifigant contribution to the Christian community and the larger community. This short book brings together Nouwen's keen insight into the human condition and the depth and maturity of his faith, resulting in a spiritual masterpiece. With clarity and understanding, he diagnoses the problem and offers the cure. The message is straightforward, but far from trite. He takes historic-actually, eternal-truths and presents them,like all gifted writers, in new and fresh ways. For me this book is actually a crystallization of the wisdom found in such books as Willard's The Divine Conspiracy and Foster's The Celebration of Discipline. It cuts to the core of a life with God and the path to get there.
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Format: Hardcover
Since we have the need and have to fight for time to spend with God on a hourly, daily, weekly basis. Nouwen points out our pressures in this culture and points us to solitude before God and a call to deeper community with those around us, so we can start or continue to live in obedience to God. A very profound yet simple approach that all of us can participate in.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In this book, Nouwen writes that the key to living a spiritual life is by understanding the difference between being busy and being fulfilled. In our modern life, he writes, "There is always something else we should have remembered, done or said...Thus, although we are very busy, we also have a lingering feeling of never really fulfilling our obligations."

The solution is not a change of place, or partner, or promise. The solution lies in a change of heart. Nouwen suggests making your priorities the engine of your actions, rather than your actions the engine of your priorities. Making your spiritual center your true center will go a long way toward making your life fulfilling, rather than just full.
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Format: Hardcover
Nouwen writes this book "first of all, for men and women who experience a persistent urge to enter more deeply into the spiritual life but are confused about the direction in which to go" (page 14). The book helps people sort out their spiritual confusion and gives them direction for life. I found it very helpful in my own search.

Nouwen has a lot to say about being unfulfilled in life. He claims to have "looked critically at his own life and the lives of those around him, [from which] two words emerge as descriptive of our situation: filled and unfulfilled" (page 23). When we focus on spiritual things, we are filled. When we get distracted from spiritual things, we are unfulfilled. He also says that he has a "gnawing sense of being unfulfilled underlies our filled lives" (page 29).

Finally, he says on page 69, "Without solitude it is virtually impossible to live a spiritual life. Solitude begins with a time and place for God, and him alone." Such a true statement.

His book is not an easy one to read, as it causes the reader to stop and think at many points. But it is a worthwhile investment of the reader's time.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is short at 96 pages and is written in three sections, all of which are easy to read. But there is such powerful insight in the words Nouwen uses.

I can read his work every day as there is such wonderful clarity around the understanding of the human condition plus he writes in this wonderfully melodic style that is non-judgemental and peaceful.

The book starts with identifying busyness as a key enemy to a spiritual life. However, he highlights the fact that busyness doesn't necessarily lead to fulfilment. He then leads us into outlining the importance of the two disciplines: solitude and community. And it is in these two disciplines where a true spiritual life begins.

I particularly appreciate how he emphasises that prayer is about entering into God's presence so we can understand His purposes. God is always talking so it is only in solitude that we are able to hear God outline His plans and purposes. Jesus was an active listener and Nouwen encourages us to develop the same habit.

Highly recommended.
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