I have read several books by Henri Nouwen, but The Way of the Heart may just be my favorite. It is a short book and I finished it today after starting it on Monday. This book is about the spirituality of the 4th and 5th century Desert Fathers and Mothers in Egypt. The Desert Fathers and Mothers were people committed to solitude, silence, and prayer.
I told myself that when I got back from Europe, I would give myself several weeks of rest before I truly begin job-hunting/figuring out my next steps. Reading this book is exactly what I needed. Even though it is easy for me to spend time in solitude, silence, and prayer right now (and I am extremely grateful for the time I have), my real test will be when my schedule gradually fills up again. Seriously, I know that when I am not practicing those disciplines in my life, I can’t fully hear God (or even at all), which negatively affects all aspects of my life.
I like this quote from the book: “What does all of this mean for us in our daily life?…We have, indeed, to fashion our own desert where we can withdraw every day, shake off our compulsions, and dwell in the gentle healing presence of our Lord. Without such a desert we will lose our own soul while preaching the gospel to others. But with such a spiritual abode, we will become increasingly conformed to him in whose name we minister.”