Here and Now

by Henri Nouwen

Reviewed by Eileen Quinn Knight, Ph.D.



Anyone who has read Henri Nouwen wants to read more! He is a powerful and skilled writer. In the Preface he states: “ Much of what I have written has been part of my life for as long as I can remember, much too, has come to my spiritual awareness during the last few years, and much appeared as new and surprising as I wrote these meditations. I didn’t try to be original, but to be authentic. I didn’t try to say things I had never said before, but things that really matter to me. I didn’t try to write a new book, but to meditate on life as I am trying to live it. Some of the reflections in this book can also be found in earlier books; others are new. But all are an expression of my present state of mind and heart.


The various mediations in this book stand on their own. They can be read independently of each other. Still I have tried to weave the different meditations around some larger themes, so that when read together, a coherent vision o the spiritual life becomes visible. It is like a mosaic; each little stone has a unique significance, but together, and seen from a certain distance they show something new that each individual stone cannot show. I hope and pray that you who read these meditations will discover many connections with your own spiritual journey, even when that journey is very different from my own. I trust that these connections will make you aware that we are traveling together toward the Light, always encouraging each other to keep our eyes fixed on the One who is calling us home.”


Many readers have adopted Here and Now for reading groups, classes and seminars, retreats and private reflection Nouwen has given us a guide, prepared by the Crossroad Publishing Company, offers suggestions for discussion and meditation. Comments about the guide can be sent to @crossroad publishing.com.


The guide for Chapter III on Suffering begins with the statement: “The cross is a symbol of death and of life, of suffering and of joy, of defeat and of victory. It’s the cross that shows us the way” Describe in your own words how the cross symbolizes both death and life, defeat and victory. 2. The tears of grief and the tears of joy should not be too far apart” Have you ever lost someone close to you? How did their death affect you? After grieving over their death, have you been able to go back and celebrate their life? In what way? 3. “Why didn’t you tell me, why did you keep it secret so long?” Think about how you would feel if close friends suffered without telling you about it. Would you wish they had let you assist them I some way? With whom have you shared your own suffering? Are there others you should tell about it? Try to act on this in the next few days.


Each chapter has a guide for reading, reflecting and praying. Nouwen bas book ideas for the reader to think about and accomplish. It is a great book to read in the chaos of this time and the Lenten season.