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on February 22, 1998
I've used this book for the last three Lenten seasons, and it just gets better each year. Each day's text is very short, usually less than 2 pages, so I don't ever feel that I just don't have time to read it. Even though the meditations are short, every day's reading is filled with challenges for me to become closer to God, and to find, as Nouwen puts it, the 'descending way'.
This year I purchased three more copies of this book to share with friends for their Lenten meditations.
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VINE VOICEon April 5, 2001
The late henri Nouwen, of blessed memory, was one of the mostinfluential spiritual writers of the last century .His writings are rarely academic,and often are quite personal. Therse selections are taken from many of Fr Nouwens writings, put together with the appropriate scipture reading of the day, and concluded with a prayer from Fr nouwen. Two pages long each day, this book has been a faithful companion the last 3 lenten seasons for me. Nouwens own foibles make all the more poignant the struggles he expresses during Lent. Powerful reading from a good great man.
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on February 24, 2008
The challenging journey of a major sickness and surgery and the solitude in hospital stay might have helped one's listening and gaining a renewed and deepened appreciation for Henri Nouwen's writings. The low-keyed compiler, F. Johna, name only given at Forward, has done an excellent job in selecting from diverse sources and woven choice pieces into apt themes for every day of Lent, with a quote at the beginning and meaningful prayer at the end. The new edition has a more attractive cover and format and a theme topic is given to each day.
You wish to quote from every page. I'll just give a few examples.
From 1st Sunday of Lent:
"...true joy comes from letting God love me the way God wants, whether it is through illness or health, failure or success, poverty or wealth, rejection or praise. It is hard for me to say, 'I shall gratefully accept everything, Lord, that pleases you. Let your will be done.' But I know when I believe my Father is pure love, it will become increasingly possible to say these words from the heart."
What a gift to live in the conviction that "my Father is pure love" no matter what!
He ends encouraging people to pray often and make our own Charles de Foucauld's Prayer of Abandonment. (All so similar to St Ignatius of Loyola's "Take and Receive".) But he cautions that we cannot realize this prayer through our own effort, only through the spirit of Jesus.
The Eucharist is so central in Nouwen's spirituality.
From 2nd Sunday of Lent:
"When we eat bread and drink wine together in memory of Christ, we BECOME his life and are thus enabled to represent his life in our time and place."
From 3rd Sunday of Lent:
"It is this, the enemy-loving love of God, that is offered to us in the Eucharist. To forgive our enemies doesn't lie within our power. That is a divine gift. That's why it's so important to make the Eucharist the heart and center of your life. It's there that you receive the love which empowers you to take the way that Jesus has taken before you: a narrow way, a painful way, but the way that gives you true joy and peace and enables you to make the non-violent love of God visible in this world."
The ongoing spiritual conversion, esp. during Lent, is not one of personal effort and achievement, though there is the need for spiritual discipline. Growth in surrendering oneself, forgiveness, compassion and love all stem from being loved, united with Jesus, to live because of the Father as beloved sons and daughters.
One will suffer from indigestion to read any of Nouwen's numerous books from cover to cover at one sitting. So daily meditation over these choice selections not only nourishes the spirit during Lent, but throughout the year.
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VINE VOICEon March 30, 2013
Henri Nouwen is one of my favorite spiritual writers; I have no less than nine of his works in my personal library, so I was looking forward to spending time with this collection of writings during Lent. I was not disappointed as my expectations were met in abundance.

The book is arranged for daily readings beginning on Ash Wednesday and running through Easter Sunday. The days are arranged in themed weeks; for instance, Week One is titled Only in God and features the topics of hospitality, prayer, forgiveness, and love as the subjects of the meditation. The following weeks have similar themes leading up to Passion Week, Holy Week, and Easter Day.

I particularly enjoyed the structure of this devotional guide. Each day's reading begins with a Scripture verse followed with a thoughtfully probing devotional from Henri Nouwen and concludes with a prayer. I do not recall any day that exceeded four pages in length, so I feel confident in saying the time commitment for these readings is minimal. This is not to say more time cannot be devoted to them, but for those persons whose schedules are busy, this might be a worthy consideration.

Perhaps another reader might see something different, but I noticed a recurring theme or maybe it was THE theme for the devotional. I think that that theme was attentiveness to God. One particular day seemed to capture this idea very well for me.

Thursday of the Third Week of Lent

Through the practice of a spiritual discipline we become attentive to that small voice and willing to respond when we hear it.

Jesus' life was a life of obedience. He was always listening to the Father, always attentive to his voice, always alert for his directions. Jesus was "all ear." That is true prayer: being all ear for God. The core of all prayer is indeed listening, obediently standing in the presence of God.

A spiritual discipline sets us free to pray or, to say it better, allows the Spirit of god to pray in us. (pp. 94-95)

I make no apologies for my bias and favor toward Henri Nouwen, but bias and favor aside, this was one of my favorite devotional books for this season. If you have never experienced the gentle and pastoral writing of Henri Nouwen, I recommend this book for a first experience. I don't think it necessary to wait for Lent to pick it up for reading. I know that I will be returning to it again regardless of the season, I was and will be inspired by it over and over again... of this, I am sure.
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on March 22, 2013
Love this book. Firstly, I love the author and his thoughts and meditations. Secondly, it's the perfect size daily meditations and prayer for a busy Mom who sometimes only has a few minutes to grab for prayer.
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on March 4, 2012
Having read other works of Henri Nouwen, I thought this would be a very thought provoking and reflective book to use along with my Scripture readings during Lent. Instead, I found it rather introspective and self-probing. It did not promote the tranquility or serenity of contemplative thought I found so prominent among his other books.
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on April 19, 2012
My husband and I have used this Henri Nouwen book as our Lenten Daily Devotional this year. It is the very best that we have ever read. It is a 1 to 2 page daily reading that begins with a Scripture, followed by a paragraph or two of teaching based on that scripture, then an application to life situations. The conclusion is a prayer often based on another scripture. It provides opportunities for reflection and thought. Highly recommended.
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on April 28, 2010
The past two years I have used this book as a part of my Lenten journey. It is by far one of the most consistent devotionals I have used for some time. The format makes it easy to pick up and read for a minute, or for an hour. The substance revolves around traditional Lenten themes, yet I was finding myself thinking in directions that were new for me, all under the tutelage of Nouwen. What a wonderful mentor in all things spiritual. Very Christ centered, all of it good news.
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on March 18, 2009
I am grateful to the editors of this delightful book for giving us a new serving of Henri Nouwen's timeless writings. This is a book you will read again and again.
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on May 20, 2011
If you are looking for something to guide your Lenten experience each year, look no further. Henri Nouwen's book "Show me the way" is just what you need.
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