Henri Nouwen, the world-renowned spiritual guide and counselor, understood the spiritual life as a journey of faith and transformation that is deepened by accountability, community, and relationships. Though he counseled many people during his lifetime, his principles of spiritual formation were never written down. Michael Christensen and Rebecca Laird have taken his famous course in spiritual formation and supplemented it with his unpublished writings to create the definitive series on Nouwen’s thoughts on the Christian life.
Spiritual Formation, showcases Nouwen’s life-long effort to re-construct the five classical stages of spiritual development as movements in the journey of faith. The five classical stages are these:
1. Awakening (our desire)
2. Purgation (purifying our passions)
3. Illumination (of God)
4. Dark Night (of the Soul)
5. Unification (with God)
Readings, stories, questions for personal reflection, and guided journal inquiry as articulated by Nouwen will provide readers with an experience in spiritual formation with the well-known author, priest, and guide.
HENRI J. M. NOUWEN (1932-1996) was the author of With Open Hands, Reaching Out, The Wounded Healer, Making All Things New, and many other bestsellers. He taught at Harvard, Yale, and Notre Dame universities before becoming the senior pastor of L’Arche Daybreak in Toronto, Canada, a community where men and women with intellectual disabilities and their assistants create a home for one another.
MICHAEL J. CHRISTENSEN, PH.D., is national director of Communities of Shalom at Drew University, where he teaches spirituality and practical theology. He studied with Henri Nouwen at Yale Divinity School.
REBECCA LAIRD, M.A., D. MIN., is the associate professor of Christian ministry at Point Loma Nazarene University where she teaches spiritual formation and Christian ministry.