On Silence, Nouwen

It is a good discipline to wonder in each new situation if people wouldn’t be better served by our silence than our words.

But having acknowledged this, a more important message from the desert is that silence is above all a quality of the heart that can stay with us even in our conversation with others. It is a portable cell we carry with us where ever we go.

From it we speak to those in need and to it we return after our words have born fruit.

–Henri Nouwen


Nouwen, Henri J. M. The Way of the Heart: Desert Spirituality and Contemporary Ministry. New York: Seabury, 1981. Print.

15 responses

  1. Lyla, this is good counsel. I’m a Nouwen fan and subscribe to the following daily meditations: http://henrinouwen.org/daily_meditation_blog/

    You might like it.

    2011/11/17 at 9:23 AM

    • Thanks Sam, I’ll check it out. Nouwen is one of God’s good gifts.

      2011/11/17 at 9:49 AM

  2. Love.

    2011/11/17 at 10:37 AM

  3. I’ve only read one of Nouwen’s books, The Return of the Prodigal, but he is on my list of authors to explore after I have read the 28 books currently sitting in my chair. 😉

    2011/11/17 at 1:37 PM

  4. Needing to nurture that silence right now, as two people I love can’t stop fighting.

    2011/11/17 at 1:55 PM

    • Praying about that for you, Megan. Praying that God will answer the prayers from within your silence. People I love are cutting other people loose. The indifference seems harsher than hatred. My silence comes from lacking words for such situation.

      2011/11/19 at 1:59 PM

    • Oh, Megan. Those conflicts. They make us see everything sharper, don’t they?
      Sometimes I prefer blurred. Because I’m a wimp.

      Praying for you and your silence.

      2011/11/19 at 2:23 PM

  5. You take some amazing pictures for someone who claims not to be a photographer!

    I am going to check out the link Sam suggested … this whet my appetite for more.

    2011/11/17 at 3:19 PM

    • I enjoy the readings, Susan. Maybe a paragraph or two each morning.

      2011/11/17 at 3:23 PM

  6. The older I get, the more I love helping to create and sustain quiet.

    2011/11/17 at 8:01 PM

  7. It is such a gift to be able to put great wisdom into beautiful words. Thanks for sharing them Lyla.

    2011/11/17 at 8:04 PM

  8. what lovely colour in that image!
    i checked out the link that was suggested by Sam and it is now in my google reader.
    i just love this post, thanks lyla.

    2011/11/19 at 12:20 AM

    • Nancy, the color surprised me on this one. I didn’t edit the photo at all but I sure don’t remember seeing those blueish stalks.

      2011/11/19 at 1:07 PM

  9. Love the softness of this photo. Learning silence. Love Nouwen’s wisdom.

    2011/11/19 at 4:50 PM

  10. I just love Henri Nouwen. And of course you, too!

    2011/11/19 at 4:58 PM

But that's just me. What do you think?

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