The Genesee Diary - Henri J.M. Nouwen

Image Book edition (1981) - copyright 1976

This touching observation is central to the probing spiritual journal of Henri Nouwen recorded during his seven-month stay in a Trappist monastery. During this period he had a unique opportunity to explore crucial issues of the spiritual life and discover 'a quiet stream underneath the fluctuating affirmations and rejections of my little world.' Nouwen participated fully in the daily life and routine at the Abbey of the Genesee in Upstate New York - in work and in prayer. He relates here the typical human experiences and questions that had somehow disallowed Christ to be the center of his existence. From the early weeks in the abbey - dominated by conflicting desires and concerns - to the final days of Advent, when he has found a new sense of calm expectation, Nouwen never loses his critical honesty. Insightful, compassionate, often humorous, always realistic, The Genesee Diary is both an inspiration and a challenge to those who are in search of themselves.

To see into... to see through...

Contemplative life is a human response to the fundamental fact that the central things in life, although spiritually perceptible, remain invisible in large measure and can very easily be overlooked by the inattentive, busy, distracted person that each of us can so readily become. The contemplative looks not so much around things but through them into their center. Through their center he discovers the world of spiritual beauty that is more real, has more density, more mass, more energy, and greater intensity than physical matter.

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