Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1976. First edition. Octavo, original blue paper boards over black cloth, uncut, original dust jacket. Slight toning to spine of price-clipped jacket. A near-fine copy. Item #1062
"NOW THE ONLY THING THAT I CAN SAY ON THIS CHRISTMAS MORNING, AT THE END OF THE EVENT THAT STARTED ON PENTECOST, IS 'THANKS BE TO GOD THAT I HAVE BEEN HERE'" First edition of Henri Nouwen's diary of seven months spent in 1974 at the Trappist's Abbey of the Genesee in upstate New York. Influenced by Thomas Merton, Nouwen was seeking relief from the "restless searching" that exemplifies much of modern life when he visited the Abbey at Gethsemani and met Father John Eudes, who shared Nouwen's twin interests in psychology and theology. Eudes (who would go on to be elected abbot at the Genesee) granted Nouwen's request to live and work with the monks from Pentecost to Christmas. The Genesee would become a refuge for Nouwen, and he embraced the monastic rule of Work and Prayer. His last diary entry, "Wednesday, December 25" reveals a glimmer of hope in contemplation of a small Nativity creche under the altar in the chapel. In the following Conclusion, written one year later, Nouwen admits that the monastery was a not a cure for his struggles "Because a monastery is not built to solve problems but to praise the Lord in the midst of them. I had known this all along, but I still had to return to my old busy life and be confronted with my own restless self to believe it." With Nouwen's Dedication "To all contemplative men and women / who by their commitment to unceasing / prayer offer us hope in the midst / of a troubled world."