Discernment: Reading the Signs of Daily Life Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
From the best-selling author of The Return of the Prodigal Son, essential listening for Christians, Catholics, and all spiritual seekers.
In a world where our minds are distracted by constant stimuli, it’s easy to lose our connection to God. Henri Nouwen was known for his keen ability to find spiritual clarity amid the chatter, a gift he shared throughout his life in his roles as a Catholic priest, counselor, teacher, and author.
Although Nouwen achieved great fame for his popular books, many of his teachings on spiritual discernment were never recorded. Today, Nouwen fans like you can enjoy this spiritually edifying compendium of works on this topic published posthumously.
Available as an audiobook for the first time ever, Discernment: Reading the Signs of Daily Life invites you to adopt Nouwen as your personal spiritual guide.
Each session was carefully prepared by Dr. Michael Christensen, an award-winning professor of Christian ministry and practice, and Dr. Rebecca Laird, who was Nouwen’s student at Yale Divinity School. Like other volumes in The Nouwen Trilogy, this audiobook collects Nouwen’s unpublished homilies, interviews, classes, and speeches, as well as excerpts from his published writings. Editing these works into a cohesive and definitive guide to the Christian life, Drs. Christensen and Laird memorialize his popular teachings.
By listening to Nouwen’s teachings on discernment, you’ll learn that God’s presence is all around you, if you only know where to look.
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|Listening Length||7 hours and 14 minutes|
|Author||Henri J. M. Nouwen|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||November 19, 2019|
|Best Sellers Rank||
#11,434 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals)
#8 in Catholicism (Audible Books & Originals)
#174 in Christian Spiritual Growth (Audible Books & Originals)
#211 in Christian Ministry & Evangelism (Audible Books & Originals)
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Preface: What This Book Is About
Discernment, is about reading the signs of daily life to “remember God” (memoria Dei), God’s time (kairos).
Foreword: Henri’s Way of Discernment
Instead of seeking a life free from pain and suffering, we should trust that Jesus is present in our pain and suffering. Henri believed that we can discern the depths of our lives and vocation only if we surrender our ego-centered view of reality.
Discernment is a discipline and practice that requires us to cultivate trust, love, faith, hope, and courage.
When we accept our complete belovedness, we stop judging ourselves and other people; as a result, other people begin to feel safe with us.
Chapter One: Embracing the Practice in Solitude and Community
If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
I found that my anger and my desire to be special and to be admired all bubbled up in my times of solitude.
Most important is how we read— not to understand or control God, but to be understood and formed by God.
Discernment grows out of the life of faith rooted in community.
Discernment reveals new priorities, directions, and gifts from God.
Our desire to be successful, well liked, and influential becomes increasingly less important as we come closer to God’s heart.
We have the freedom to say yes to God’s call and to choose to live it in very specific ways.
Thus God has a real chance to form us into lights in the darkness, a source of hope for many in the world. That, after all, is the true goal of spiritual discernment.
Make a list of all the activities and desires of your heart that you believe are pleasing to God.
Discernment performed alone often can become delusion. We need each other.
What I received was very helpful, very formative guidance in the practice of listening.
There wasn't much that was profound, per se, in Nouwen's writing this time, but this is his genius writing on discernment. Discernment isn't wisdom from the sky that enables you to connect the dots toward fulfilling your dreams. Instead, discernment is becoming awake to the Voice of God that we read recorded in the Scriptures and which speaks to us in the same way through friends, experiences, and desires - all which are things that re-member the words we've previously read from the Bible.
The goal, Nouwen wrote (and I paraphrase) is to be formed in the likeness of Christ, and to thus participate in God's mission of redemption, right where God has us. So again, the practice of discernment is the practice of listening; it's more an act of submission rather than discovering the route of more control.
Early on, *Discernment* writes out a theology of discernment that illumines a true intent for discernment (what I paraphrased above).
The remainder of the book takes an memoir-like stroll through Henri's life as he teaches the practice of paying attention to God. These journeys are like journal entries that unpack an earlier statement in the book:
"I can see no other path to discernment than to be committed to a life of unceasing prayer and contemplation, a life of deep communion with the Spirit of God. Such a life will slowly develop in us an inner sensitivity, enabling us to distinguish between the law of the flesh and the law of the Spirit." (p.24)
My "take-away" from the book is the reminder that to be truly discerning of God's will and desire, one must be immersed in the words and ways of God that are most vividly revealed in the Gospels and the rest of Scripture. Familiarity with God's Voice will make it easier to hear and follow God's will and desires, things that will always end up looking like (and forming us to be like) Jesus.
This means that discernment will be hard to receive through a simple trick or through a short stint of prayer, no matter how earnest. A well discerned and well lived life will be the Spirit's gift through a disciplined immersion in the Scriptures, in prayer, in community, and in the presence of the poor.
[Final Note: *Discernment*, like Nouwen's *Spiritual Direction* and *Spiritual Formation* are post-humous collections of Henri's thoughts and words taken from class notes, journals, and books. Friends of his have collected these and placed them into a book format that feels quite seamless. They must have known him quite well.]