The Way of the Heart: The Spirituality of the Desert Fathers and Mothers

by Henri J. M. Nouwen | Religion & Spirituality |
ISBN: 0060663308 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingCordelia-annewing of Atlanta, Georgia USA on 3/20/2012
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2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingCordelia-annewing from Atlanta, Georgia USA on Tuesday, March 20, 2012
"Flee from the world, be silent and pray always," were words spoken long ago to the Roman aristocrat Arsenius when he asked how to be saved, priest Henri Nouwen tells us in this short, simple book. "Solitude, silence and unceasing prayer" are the core concepts of the ancient Christian spirituality of the desert, Nouwen explains. At just under 100 pages, this book is easy to read though at first I had to get through the resistance I felt to the fact that these short chapters are essentially addressed to ministers. I am only a lay Christian. I'm happy now to have moved through the resistance. This is a helpful read with compelling ideas for a better prayer life. What Nouwen says about the prayer of the heart is so essential and simple. I need to adopt it, to simplify my life to it. I will probably read this again before letting it go. Reading the chapters on silence, I felt particularly stricken. This was written 30 years ago, before the widespread use of cell phones and technology and the deep damage these have caused to human community.

Journal Entry 2 by wingCordelia-annewing at Decatur, Georgia USA on Monday, March 11, 2013
About a year later, I returned to this book and enjoyed it again. I have not surrendered to prayer as Nouwen suggests. Like the ministers he addresses here, I'm likely to opt for Christian activity rather than prayer. This, I know, is a mistake. Some things that struck me this time were Mother Teresa's words of advice to Nouwen. She told him that if he spent an hour a day in prayer with Jesus and didn't do anything he knew to be wrong, he would be "O.K." And there is a quote I want to remember from the chapter on Silence:

"I have often repented of having spoken," Arsenius said, "but never of having remained silent."

Journal Entry 3 by wingCordelia-annewing at Frisco, Texas USA on Friday, April 5, 2013

Released 8 yrs ago (4/5/2013 UTC) at Frisco, Texas USA


I've read this book twice in two years. Though I haven't quite mastered what Nouwen suggests, I'm coming to understand. I have other books to move along to before I come back to this. Come back to it I will--but it begs to be shared in our times that certainly call for prayer. In the meantime, it seems right to share this in bookcrossing. Agrace, I noticed, is like me in sharing prayer books through bookcrossing. So she seems the right next recipient. I hope this book will bring her inspiration.

Journal Entry 4 by Agrace at Frisco, Texas USA on Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Thanks so much, Cordelia-anne! I was surprised to find this and another book in my mail box today. It's fine that you started the ring for A Decent Cup of Tea with someone else, these were not necessary, but I will enjoy them. Praying for your mother!

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