This book is the third and final volume of Nouwen’s posthumous spiritual trilogy. I have already reviewed the first two, Spiritual Direction by Henri Nouwen with Michael J. Christensen & Rebecca J. Laird–Book Review and Spiritual Formation by Henri Nouwen–Book Review. It is concerned with reading the signs of God in everyday life through books, nature, people and events.
To Nouwen, discernment is both a spiritual gift, and a practice. He says:
“Discernment is a spiritual understanding and an experiential knowledge of how God is active in daily life. Discernment is faithful living and listening to God’s love and direction so that we can fulfill our individual calling and shared mission.”
Nouwen does not give pat answers, but guides the reader through the process of discerning vocation, presence, identity and time. Throughout he uses both biblical texts and examples from his own life as illustrations. At the end of each chapter there are questions that could be used for journaling or group discussion.
At the end there are several appendices with essays by Nouwen that delve even deeper into the topics of discernment and spiritual friendship.
Nouwen is a Catholic, and I did have a few theological issues with this work. However, for the most part, I found it both engaging and helpful.
VERDICT: 4 STARS
For more about Henri Nouwen see: