Discernment: Reading the Signs of Daily Life features the wisdom that spiritual leader and counselor Henri J. M. Nouwen brought to the essential question asked by every Christian and seeker: What should I do with my life? Nouwen emphasizes listening to the Word of God—in our hearts, in the Bible, in the community of faith, and in the voice of the poor as a way to discern God’s plan. Although the late Henri J. M. Nouwen counseled many people during his lifetime, his principles of discernment were never collected into a single volume. Now, in association with the Nouwen Legacy Trust, Michael Christensen—one of Nouwen’s longtime students—and Rebecca Laird have taken his coursework, journals, and unpublished writings to create this and other books in the series exploring God’s will for your life.
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About the Author
Henri J.M. Nouwen was a world-renowned spiritual guide, counselor, and bestselling author of over forty books that many today consider spiritual classics. He taught at the universities of Harvard, Yale, and Notre Dame before becoming the senior pastor of L’Arche Daybreak in Toronto, Canada, a community where men and women with intellectual disabilities and their assistants create a home for one another.
Table of Contents
Preface: What This Book Is About ix
Foreword: Henri's Way of Discernment Robert A. Jonas xv
Introduction: When There Is Darkness, Light xxv
Part 1 What Is Discernment?
1 Embracing the Practice in Solitude and Community 3
2 Distinguishing Spirits of Truth and Falsehood 21
Part 2 Discerning Guidance in Books, Nature, People, and Events
3 Read the Way Forward 41
4 Read the Book of Nature 53
5 Pay Attention to People in Your Path 65
6 Discern the Signs of the Times 83
Part 3 Discerning Vocation, Presence, Identity, and Time
7 Test the Call: Discerning Vocation 97
8 Open Your Heart: Discerning Divine Presence 113
9 Remember Who You Are: Discerning Identity 131
10 Know the Time: When to Act, When to Wait, When to Be Led 145
Epilogue: Discerning the Hidden Wholeness 165
Appendix A We Drink from Our Own Wells: Discernment and Liberation Henri Nouwen 169
Appendix B Henri Nouwen on Hearing a Deeper Beat Michael J. Christensen 175
Appendix C Spiritual Friendship and Mutual Discernment Robert A. Jonas 185
Primary Sources and Notations 203
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
In typical Nouwen fashion, Henri speaks humbly and from his loving heart, as though you were sitting together with a dear friend, about how to listen to God's voice. Henri shares his deep wisdom and encourages his readers to practice the traditional disciplines and a simplicity of life. By setting aside time for silence and reflection, he tells how God's will can be discovered and how a disciple can find the courage within to live faithfully, to make good spiritual choices, based on the Holy Scriptures.