Lenten Book in Common

Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life
By Henri Nouwen

From the Amazon description:
“With the clarity and depth characteristic of the classics, this spiritual bestseller lays out a perceptive and insightful plan for living a spiritual life and achieving the ultimate goal of that life — union with God.

Nouwen views our spiritual “ascent” as evolving in three movements. The first, from loneliness to solitude, focuses on the spiritual life as it relates to the experience of our own selves. The second, from hostility to hospitality, deals with our spiritual life as a life for others. The final movement, from illusion to prayer, offers penetrating thoughts on the most mysterious relationship of all: our relationship to God. Throughout, Nouwen emphasizes that the more we understand (and not simply deny) our inner struggles, the more fully we will be able to embrace a prayerful and genuine life that is also open to others’ needs.

Reaching Out is a rich book to be read, reread, pondered, and shared with others. “It does not offers answers or solutions,” Nouwen cautions, “but is written in the conviction that the quest for an authentic Christian spirituality is worth the effort and the pain, since in the midst of this quest we can find signs offering hope, courage, and confidence.””

Attached you will find a six session study guide from the Nouwen Society. We invite you to form groups for Lent with friends or family members, or perhaps use the book in an existing study or group.

Other opportunities will be offered during Lent to share reflections on the book.

Fr. Richard writes “As I continue to reflect on my own self-care in the wake of all that have been happening since the Fire, I find that Nouwen’s “Three Movements” speak directly to those places in my life that I need to attend to. While the issues he raises are perennial, I am now more aware how debilitating loneliness, hostility, and illusion affects my life and ministry. I look forward to “reaching out” into the spiritual life together this Lent.