Book Review: The Way of the Heart

One of my favorite authors is Henri Nouwen. The Way of the Heart only increased my respect and gratitude towards and for him. Like most of his other books, The Way of the Heart is a short, concise read but Nouwen utilizes his words in a way that still speak volumes to your soul. Drawing from the Desert Fathers, Nouwen suggests three practices or disciplines that are needed in our lives today to help us stay connected to God in the midst of strife, stress, broken relationships, suffering, war, etc. These practices are solitude, silence, and prayer. These may sound counter-cultural or very difficult challenges to undertake. But Nouwen believes that it is in these places that we are transformed. Thus, we are able to go forth and share life in a more fulfilling fashion. For example, Nouwen writes, “Solitude is not a private therapeutic place. Rather, it is the place of conversion, the place where the old self dies and the new self is born.” He goes on to write in the section regarding silence, which for him is the reality and intensification of solitude, that we do this to speak words not of human origin, but words that stem from resting in the divine silence of the Word, Jesus Christ our Lord. This means that we ourselves must be connected to God and feel secure in resting in God’s presence. It is only from this that we are able to speak grace and love (which find their origins in God) into our neighbors’ lives. Nouwen continues by writing that solitude and silence can never be separated from unceasing prayer. Solitude and silence is not just time alone with ourselves . . . it is time alone with the Divine. He writes, “The crisis of our prayer life is that our mind may be filled with ideas of God while our heart remains far from him.” So often, prayer only connects our minds with God and the heart gets left out of the equation. That is why silence and solitude go hand in hand with God. All three of these practices intend for our hearts to rest in God’s arms, surrounded by his love, joy, and peace, finding hope in God’s Word, and then speaking out of our hearts to touch others. A tremendous book filled with implications on how we should live our lives. If you are struggling with prayer or connecting with God or always feel rushed and stressed out, this would be a book to begin with to seek a form of security, the security of resing in God.

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One Response to Book Review: The Way of the Heart

  1. skifoozle says:

    This book is truly fabulous. Such a small book packed with tremendous insights. A perfect reminder of how we make our faith so complicated. It’s one of my favorite and most recommended books; I can read it over and over and over again.

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