Henri Nouwen Sayings and Quotes

Below you will find our collection of inspirational, wise, and humorous old henri nouwen quotes, henri nouwen sayings, and henri nouwen proverbs, collected over the years from a variety of sources.


Friends share our pain and touch our wounds with a gentle and tender hand.     

Henri Nouwen

Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.     

Henri Nouwen

Somewhere we know that without silence words lose their meaning, that without listening speaking no longer heals, that without distance closeness cannot cure.     

Henri Nouwen

Solitude is the place where we can connect with profound bonds that are deeper than the emergency bonds of fear and anger.     

Henri Nouwen

Fear is the great enemy of intimacy. Fear makes us run away from each other or cling to each other but does not create true intimacy.     

Henri Nouwen

Based or our baptism, all are called to a mystical life, to communion with God. We need to claim that, to taste it and feel it, to trust that the deeper we live this communion, the more our behavior will witness to the truth.     

Henri Nouwen

The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing... not healing, not curing... that is a friend who cares.     

Henri Nouwen

A friend is a hand that is always holding yours, no matter how close or far apart you may be. A friend is someone who is always there and will always, always care. A friend is a feeling of forever in the heart.     

Henri Nouwen

Much violence is based on the illusion that life is a property to be defended and not to be shared.     

Henri Nouwen

True hospitality is welcoming the stranger on her own terms. This kind of hospitality can only be offered by those who've found the center of their lives in their own hearts.     

Henri Nouwen

To learn patience is not to rebel against every hardship.     

Henri Nouwen

Our glory is hidden in our pain, if we allow God to bring the gift of himself in our experience of it.     

Henri Nouwen

Those who keep speaking about the sun while walking under a cloudy sky are messengers of hope, the true saints of our day.      

Henri Nouwen

The real enemies of our life are the 'oughts' and the 'ifs.' They pull us backward into the unalterable past and forward into the unpredictable future. But real life takes place in the here and now.     

Henri Nouwen

One of the main tasks of theology is to find words that do not divide but unite, that do not create conflict but unity, that do not hurt but heal.     

Henri Nouwen

Peacemaking is a full-time vocation that includes each member of God's people.     

Henri Nouwen

The greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity or power, but self-rejection.     

Henri Nouwen

Friendship and love are impossible without a mutual vulnerability.     

Henri Nouwen

When we break bread and give it to each other, fear vanishes and God becomes very close.     

Henri Nouwen

When we are crushed like grapes, we cannot think of the wine we will become.     

Henri Nouwen

Fear is the great enemy of intimacy. Fear makes us run away from each other or cling to each other but does not create true intimacy.     

Henri Nouwen

The resistance to praying is like the resistance of tightly clenched fists. This image shows a tension, a desire to cling tightly to yourself, a greediness which betrays fear.     

Henri Nouwen

The university has become a place that prepares you for the fights in the world.     

Henri Nouwen

I am the prodigal son every time I search for unconditional love where it cannot be found.     

Henri Nouwen

Our first responsibility in the midst of violence is to prevent it from destroying us.     

Henri Nouwen

Jesus didn't say, 'Blessed are those who care for the poor.' He said, 'Blessed are we where we are poor, where we are broken.' It is there that God loves us deeply and pulls us into deeper communion with himself.      

Henri Nouwen

A few years ago I met an old professor at the University of Notre Dame. Looking back on his long life of teaching, he said with a funny wrinkle in his eyes: I have always been complaining that my work was constantly interrupted, until I slowly discovered that my interruptions were my work.      

Henri Nouwen

Too many of us are lonely ministers practicing a lonely ministry.     

Henri Nouwen

Ministry is the least important thing. You cannot not minister if you are in communion with God and live in community.     

Henri Nouwen

The mystery of ministry is that we have been chosen to make our own limited and very conditional love the gateway for the unlimited and unconditional love of God.     

Henri Nouwen