Mere Spirituality: The Spiritual Life According to Henri Nouwen

Discover Henri Nouwen’s authentic, spacious spirituality of being deeply beloved in this insightful distillation of his vast literary legacy. Scholar and spiritual director Wil Hernandez offers an elegant synthesis of Nouwen’s main themes, inspiring us to embrace the power and vulnerability of mere spirituality.

Wil Hernandez, PhD, Obl. OSB
Foreword by Ronald Rolheiser

6 x 9, 160 pp | 978-1-59473-586-8

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Discover Henri Nouwen’s authentic, spacious spirituality of being deeply beloved.

“When we are at one with our self, it becomes effortless for us to welcome and embrace the same self where God resides, the self that God loves with the first love, preceding all human love. With Nouwen, we are able to carry our own beautiful, deeply loved self in our heart.”

—from the Introduction

Henri Nouwen’s compelling spirituality of the heart is at once simple and complex, accessible but deeply profound. For this beloved Catholic theologian, whose ecumenical writings continue to inspire Christians of all denominations and levels of involvement, spirituality is, at its most basic, simply “attention to the life of the spirit in us.”

This insightful distillation of Nouwen’s vast literary legacy invites our tender hearts to take courage and be still, creating space for God and our true selves. It is in this place of trust and solitude that we discover our belovedness and our capacity to love God and others.

A scholar and spiritual director intimately acquainted with Nouwen’s understanding of the spiritual life, Wil Hernandez, PhD, Obl. OSB, offers an elegant synthesis of Nouwen’s main themes, inspiring us to embrace the power and vulnerability of mere spirituality.

“Captures Henri Nouwen’s ‘spirituality of the heart’ while providing readers with a cohesive summary.... A wonderful place for readers to get an overview of the critical components of Nouwen’s authentic spirituality.”

Karen Pascal, executive director, Henri Nouwen Society & Legacy Trust

“A simple yet profound introduction to contemplative practice as a basis for active ministry in the world. Wil Hernandez is an expert interpreter of Nouwen’s life and works.”

Michael J. Christensen, PhD, director, Shalom Initiative for Prophetic Leadership and Community Development, Drew University; coeditor of the Nouwen trilogy Spiritual Direction, Spiritual Formation and Discernment

“Lays out the brilliant spirituality of Henri Nouwen for the reader and student in the clearest and most useful terms.... This unpretentious but lovely book will quickly become a classic.”

Roberta C. Bondi, professor emerita, Candler School of Theology, Emory University

“Wil Hernandez is one of the most insightful interpreters of the writings of the late Henri Nouwen.... This vision can re-invigorate a tired Christianity in the Western world.”

Charles Ringma, theologian and activist; author, Hear the Heartbeat with Henri Nouwen

“Wil Hernandez has provided his readers a way to dive deeply into Nouwen’s timeless wisdom. Mere Spirituality is a treasure.”

Rev. Jane E. Vennard, spiritual director; author, Fully Awake and Truly Alive and Teaching—The Sacred Art

“A life-giving reminder that spirituality is not a program added to one’s life, but it spills from our heart and from the very core of our being. This book is both an invitation and an essential encouragement.”

Rev. Terry Hershey, author, Sanctuary: Creating a Space for Grace in Your Life

“An invaluable resource! This marvelous book offers a fresh framework for deepening our understanding of the spirituality of one of our most beloved guides.... No one captures the heart of Nouwen’s spirituality quite like Wil Hernandez.”

Diane M. Millis, PhD, author, Deepening Engagement: Essential Wisdom for Listening and Leading with Purpose, Meaning and Joy

“Every explorer needs a good map by an expert cartographer, and this book is a fully trustworthy and orienting guide as we enter the densely rich territory of Henri Nouwen’s spirituality.”

Susan S. Phillips, PhD, executive director, New College Berkeley, Berkeley Graduate Theological Union; author, The Cultivated Life: From Ceaseless Striving to Receiving Joy

“Highly recommended! The author not only provides a beautifully clear and wise guide to the rich abundance of Nouwen’s wisdom but also gently invites us to join in the heart-full spiritual experience Nouwen knew so well. A book to savor and read over.... A treasure for those just discovering Nouwen’s writings and for those returning to them.”

Nancy L. Bieber, teacher; spiritual director; author, Decision Making and Spiritual Discernment: The Sacred Art of Finding Your Way

“An accessible introduction to Henri Nouwen’s thought.... Invites you to really ponder your own inner dynamics, provides practical applications and offers the guidance of a wise mentor on the journey.”

Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, author, Lectio Divina—The Sacred Art and The Soul of a Pilgrim