Item description for Letter of Consolation, a - Reissue by Henri J. Nouwen...
Overview Discusses the observance of Holy Week and looks at the deepest meaning of Easter and the promise of life after death through Christ's death and resurrection
Finding Faith in a Time of Sorrow
Beloved author Henri Nouwen reflects on the spiritual significance of death and life in this moving meditation dedicated to "all those who suffer the pain that death can bring and who search for new life."
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More About Henri J. Nouwen
Henri J. M. Nouwen (1932-1996) is the author of Reaching Out, The Wounded Healer, Making All Things New, The Return of the Prodigal Son, and many other bestsellers. He taught at the universities of Harvard, Yale, and Notre Dame before becoming the senior pastor of L'Arche Daybreak in Toronto, Canada, a community where men and women with intellectual disabilities and their assistants create a home for one another.
Reviews - What do customers think about A Letter of Consolation?
Used books at Amazon Jun 4, 2008
I was very pleased with the speed in which I received this item and the good shape it was in. A satisfied customer!!
A gift from the heart Mar 22, 2003
My mother gave me this book when I had several close friends die in a short time. It moved me in many ways, and helped me touch the foundation of my spirituality and faith. I now send it to friends when they lose a parent. It provides a link to the human experience and how faith helps us move forward.
new life May 6, 2001
I received valuable spiritual insight from Fr Henri J. M. Nouwen's (1932-96) "Letter of Consolation". There have been several deaths in my family this year. Thanks to this book by Fr Nouwen, Phd, I had something to offer my relatives which might be a source of spiritual comfort. This book was written in and around the week between Palm and Easter Sundays. Fr Nouwen writes to his father as he celebrates this holiday while reflecting on the recent death of his mother. A thought from this book which strengthened my spiritual understanding is the idea of a new life offered to us from death. Fr Nouwen writes that "death changed our experience of time" and that a "'normal' experience became for us a new experience." "The first Christmas without mother, the first New Year without mother...the first Easter without mother." Throughout, Fr Nouwen carries the themes that "Love is stronger than death" and "Death is absurd". These would be empty phrases if not that Fr Nouwen is writing from the painful experience of his own mother's death. I did learn more about facing death, particularly my own. I also learned about the role of my spiritual relationship in befriending death as a way of living more fully. If you or someone close to you is wrestling with grief from the loss of a loved one, this book will be interesting to you.
The Lessons of Death Mar 19, 2001
Everybody is going to die. In fact, sixty years from now it is a good bet that the majority of the people we know and love will be dead. Death is one of the few truly universal things about life. If you live then you'll die. In his book, "A Letter of Consolation," Henri Nouwen confronts the subject of death head on.
In October of 1978 Henri Nouwen's mother died following a prolonged battle with Cancer. Six months later, partly while on a monastic retreat, Henri Nouwen wrote a lengthy letter to his grieving father. Several years later, hoping that its message might help others coping with loss, Henri's father encouraged him to publish the letter in book form. In this way, "A Letter of Consolation" came to be published.
The book is a keenly insightful look into a subject that few people ever think of before life's circumstances force them to. At a length of only ninety-six pages, "A Letter of Consolation" contains a staggering amount of thoughts worth pondering.
The early chapters of the book center on the grief unique to Henri and his father. Henri reflects on the loss of his mother as well as his father's loss of a life-long companion in his wife. Henri discusses how for he and his father living without Henri's mother made them find that "Every 'normal' experience became for us like a new experience." Henri then goes on to write about the lessons that death brings. He writes of how loss increases love. He reflects on how their love for his mother now has the added dimension of missing her.
As the book progresses, Nouwen begins to reflect more on the meaning of death itself. He reflects on what a crisis death is in the life of human beings. He writes of how lessons are to be learned from death. He speaks of how we must learn these lessons in order to be whole. He states: "Still, hidden in us there are levels of not-knowing, not-understanding and not-feeling that can only be revealed to us in our moments of great crisis"
"A Letter of Consolation" is a book about such much more than death in its simple everyday disguise. It is also a book that discusses death in the light of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Nouwen first introduces this subject by saying that death causes us to give up any illusions that immortality can be achieved by our own strength and power. He argues that death is the clearest case available for demonstrating why we need to become utterly dependent upon God. Nouwen ends the discussion by talking about Christ Himself. Writing his father on Easter Sunday, Nouwen concludes:
"I write this to you not to upset you but to console you in your grief. The lord who died, died for us--for you, for me, for mother, and for all people. He died not because of any death or darkness in him, but only to free us from the death and darkness in us. If the God who revealed life to us, and whose only desire is to bring us to life, loved us so much that he wanted to experience with us the total absurdity of death, then--yes, then there must be hope; then there must be something more than death; then there must be a promise that is not fulfilled in our short existence in this world; then leaving behind the ones you love, the flowers and the trees, the mountains and the oceans, the beauty of art and music, and all the exuberant gifts of life cannot be just the destruction and cruel end of all things; then indeed we have to wait for the third day."
My final judgment on this book is that it is absolutely worthwhile reading for anyone. It is for those who have experienced or are experiencing grief. It is especially for those who have not yet.
By looking through the window of the Nouwen family's grief, all readers stand to gain insight into what the meaning of death and grief really is-- All of us who are temporarily confined to these perishable, mortal frames may turn to God (even in the darkest night) and rest with assurance in the knowledge that the dawn of the third is for us, still coming.
Letter Nov 29, 1999
In this incredibly personal account, author shares his thoughts surrounding his mother's death with his grieving father. Paralleling the lenten season and the arrival of Easter, Nouwen takes us through not only his personal grief, but explores the meaning of death and the Christian approach to dying in Christ.