I just finished reading a book that wasn’t in my typical genre and I’m so glad I did! The book was entitled Love, Henri: Letters on a Spiritual Life by Henri Nouwen (affiliate).
Now, I knew who Henri Nouwen was. He was a Dutch Catholic priest who wrote extensively. I had even read excerpts of his writings. My Lutheran pastor father had quoted Henri to me on more than one occasion. So, when I saw this new book, I decided it was time to read something Henri Nouwen had written.
Love, Henri is a unique book. You see, in addition to the 40 books he wrote, Henri also wrote over 16,000 letters before his death in 1996 – and saved most of them! Love, Henri is a collection of over 100 letters spanning across his life.
Each letter contained a bit of background on when, why and to whom it was written. Henri’s letters were then included in their entirety.
I found Henri to be a beautiful letter writer. He took his role as priest and friend seriously and wanted to serve as an encouragement to any and all who wrote him. I also learned some his fascinating life story as shared in between letters.
I also discovered some more quotes of Henri’s that are going in my quote file. Here are a couple of my favorites from his letters.
Henri shared a simple reminder that “God loves you, not for what you do, but for who you are.”
During his years of living with the mentally handicapped, he wrote, “I have come to realize that mentally handicapped people, first of all, teach me that “being” is more important than “doing.” In our competitive world so much emphasis is given to doing that we forget that God first of all asks us simply to be with Him and with each other. Mentally handicapped people, who can “do” so little, can “be” so much.”
Finally, as an encouragement on living, Henri wrote, “Be sure to be very faithful to a regular prayer life, to spend a lot of time in reading and to stay in good contact with friends whom you trust.”
Love, Henri (affiliate) was a beautiful collection of letters and I am so glad I read it. I thoroughly enjoyed this glimpse into the life and heart of Henri Nouwen. I am ready to write more letters now, too!
I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.