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The Way of the Heart: Desert Spirituality and Contemporary Ministry Hardcover – May, 1981


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: The Seabury Press; 1st edition (May 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0866839135
  • ISBN-13: 978-0866839136
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,475,956 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“In these increasingly more sound polluted and frenetic years, Henri Nouwen’s simple words about the prayer of the heart will be helpful for all who seek to turn from the complex wiles of the world to the simplicity of the love of God.”
–MADELEINE L’ENGLE
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Inside Flap

Since it was first published more than twenty years ago, The Way of the Heart has helped millions of men and women cast off the anger and greed that trouble the world?and find love, compassion, and peace in the heart of God.

Inspired by the ancient teachings of St. Anthony and the Desert Fathers, The Way of the Heart clears before us a spiritual path consisting of three stepping-stones: Solitude (learning not to be alone but to be alone with God); Silence (the discipline by which the inner fire of God is tended and kept alive); and Prayer (standing in the presence of God with the mind in the heart).

Distinguished theologian Henri Nouwen brilliantly illuminates each of these disciplines. In reflections that are beautifully clear and practical, as uplifting on the fourth reading as on the first, he helps us separate the wheat from the chaff in our spiritual lives?and reconnects us with what truly matters.

Within this one small book lies the most relevant and inspiring challenge that we shall ever face: to surrender the compulsive noise of the world for the way of the heart that leads us to God. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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More About the Author

Henri Nouwen was born in Holland in 1932 and ordained a Catholic priest in 1957. He obtained his doctorandus in psychology from Nijmegen University in The Netherlands and taught at Notre Dame, Yale, and Harvard. He experienced the monastic life with Trappist monks at the Abbey of the Genesee, lived among the poor in Latin America with the Maryknoll missioners, and was interested and active in numerous causes related to social justice. After a lifetime of seeking, Henri Nouwen finally found his home in Canada, as pastor of L'Arche Daybreak - where people with intellectual disabilities and their caregivers live together in community.

Henri Nouwen wrote over 40 books on spirituality and the spiritual life that have sold millions of copies and been translated into dozens of languages. His vision of spirituality was broad and inclusive, and his compassion embraced all of humankind.

He died in 1996. His work and his spirit live on.

Henri Nouwen pronounced his name "Henry Now-en." For more information on his life and work, please visit www.henrinouwen.org .

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Customer Reviews

I have reread this book many times since first reading it in about 2001.
Amazon Customer
True peace with God can be found in the simplicity of quietness, silent devotion, and the willingness to be still and listen for God to speak.
Brook Boddie
Modern Christians can benefit from this insightful little book as the author describes three essential disciplines for spiritual growth.
Thomas J. Campbell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

96 of 99 people found the following review helpful By Brook Boddie on October 4, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book was my first introduction to Nouwen, and if his other books are anything like this one, I believe that I've stumbled on one of the greatest Christian writers ever. This little paperback contains some of the greatest, most basic truths Christianity, silence, solitude, and prayer, and reminds us that in the practice of these simple truths that we can find the true essence of God and of our relationship to Him. Through the example of the desert fathers, Nouwen reminds us that secrets to a more fulfilling life are found not in the number of books we read, the number of extracurricular activities we participate in, or even in the number of church services we attend. True peace with God can be found in the simplicity of quietness, silent devotion, and the willingness to be still and listen for God to speak. For those who are caught up in lives that never slow down or never take time to stop and rest, this book is for them. For those who are looking for a simpler, more genuine way to practice their faith, this book is for them. And, for those who are in the midst of the valley or whose journey of faith is at a dead end, this book will provide refreshing insight and will hopefully lead the way back to fellowship with the Almighty. Wherever you are in your walk with God, this book will surely become one of your all-time favorites as it has mine.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 22, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Nine years ago when I was still a teenager, I obtained this book from my late Parish Priest in Yola, Nigeria. Hardly had I started reading it when I realised it was speaking to me as a person. Nouwen's introduction to the life of the Desert Fathers and the role Silence, Solitude and Prayer can have on our lives is thought provoking. This book has affected me in the most positive of ways. It is for everyone, for those busy with work, for those who go to Church, for those who frequent the bars...evreyone. This book would introduce a peaceful and calm spirituality to you - I highly recommend it and would not hesistate to give it a 10 star!!
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Thomas J. Campbell on June 24, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Modern Christians can benefit from this insightful little book as the author describes three essential disciplines for spiritual growth. The very word "discipline" will turn many people away from this book and the message it delivers and this is unfortunate. Rather than becoming a burden, the excercise of solitude, silence, and prayer are actually life living and refreshing. When we excercise these disciplines we enter into a new and intimate walk with God that transforms both our daily walk and our witness to others. From our excercise of these arts God is able to work in our souls to purify and soften us and to bring us to true compassion and wisdom. I found that to get the most value from it I had to read it in small segments and then meditate on it for a few days. Highly recommended.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Zossima on May 30, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Nouwen is a contemporary devotional master! As an evangelical Christian, I have been exposed to do! do! do! my whole life. The path to eternal life -- knowing God (Jn. 17:3) -- begins in solitude, silence, and prayer. As Nouwen reveals, it is only from the knowing of God that begins in the quiet of one's heart that effective ministry can take place.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Kathleen Popa on February 21, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book presented itself to me when I was deep into a project and just needed some factual answers. It's only 94 pages. I thought I could read it very quickly.

Ha.

It did give me answers, but it wasn't a quick read. It was the kind of book that had me reading a page, then pacing the floor, waiting for the million thoughts it excited to settle down so I could read the next. This went on for a week. And then I read it again, and read it out loud to friends. The cheap copy I bought is already wearing out.

What's it about? Simply, it's about the ancient practices of the Desert Fathers, of solitude, silence and prayer, how and why they came about, why they are needed now, and how they can be made to work in our crowded, noisy, distinctly non-contemplative lives.

The thing that first got my attention, was Nouwen's description of the problem of worldliness in the church, our tendency to think the way everybody else thinks. Worldliness, not simply in the way we've all come to see it, drinking and carousing, that sort of thing. He talks about the sneakier form, the kind that creeps in without our noticing, that has us convinced that what makes us valuable, what makes us worthwhile, is what we own, what we have accomplished, and what people think of us. Take those away and we have no reason to exist.

Think what that does to us. Think how it drives our choices, how it colors our view of others.

That's what began to get my attention - but I knew the book would be precious to me when I read the story of St. Anthony, who after some twenty years of practicing the disciplines of solitude, silence and prayer was finally able to pray genuinely - talking to God as himself, not the person he thought or wished or hoped to be.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 17, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This tiny volume whispers truth to the soul suffering from spiritual clamor. Take and read, drink in slowly, and absorb the peace.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By hissykat2000 on January 14, 2004
Format: Paperback
Hernri J.M. Nouwen writes with a deep understanding of the Desert Fathers and thier fundamental beliefs. He illustrates how to use thier knowledge of solitude, silence and prayer in simple ways to apply to our daily lives. It is in itself a great comfort to read. For those who are trobled, in any kind of situation, the practices that he describes offers the light of hope.
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