Thomas Merton's life, especially once he had become a writer, was to a great extent one of dialogue with people who were distant, both geographically and historically. In these probing and perceptive studies, Rowan Williams looks closely at the key intellectual and spiritual relationships that emerge in Merton's writings, exploring the impact on him of thinkers as diverse as Hannah Arendt, Karl Barth, William Blake, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Olivier Clement, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Paul Evdokimov, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Vladimir Lossky, John Henry Newman, Boris Pasternak and St John of the Cross.
Downward Mobility and the Spiritual Life by Henri Nouwen
In these short reflections Herne Nouwen explores the theme of downward mobility as the way of Christ, and the things that tempt us away from it, namely, the lure of success, of power, of being needed and important. Originally serialized in the magazine Sojourners, Nouwen wrote the articles during his years as a professor at Yale Divinity School. There he enjoyed academic success and found fame as a spiritual writer, but was struggling to find his true vocation. Here he seeks to explain for himself and his readers how choosing the downwardly mobile path can, conversely, be the means of growth and new life in Christ.
In the Celtic way of prayer, the divine glory was intertwined with the ordinariness of everyday events like the patterns on carvings and in illuminated Gospels.
The modern prayers in this book beautifully recapture that tradition. They were composed in a small parish in the north of England to help individuals and groups rediscover the use of life's simple rhythms in their worship of the Eternal Presence.
Here are prayers for individual devotions and for corporate worship, as well as for quiet days and retreats.
The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri Nouwen
A chance encounter with a reproduction of Rembrandt’s The Return of the Prodigal Son catapulted Henri Nouwen on a long spiritual adventure. Here he shares the deeply personal and resonant meditation that led him to discover the place within which God has chosen to dwell.
In seizing the inspiration that came to him through Rembrandt’s depiction of the powerful Gospel story, Henri Nouwen probes the several movements of the parable: the younger son’s return, the father’s restoration of sonship, the elder son’s vengefulness, and the father’s compassion. In his reflection on Rembrandt in light of his own life journey, the author evokes the powerful drama of the parable in a rich, captivating way that is sure to reverberate in the hearts of readers. The themes of homecoming, affirmation, and reconciliation will be newly discovered by all who have known loneliness, dejection, jealousy, or anger. The challenge to love as the father and be loved as the son will be seen as the ultimate revelation of the parable known to Christians through time, and here represented with a vigour and power fresh for our times.