Solitude Is a Furnace

“Solitude is the furnace of transformation. Without solitude we remain victims of our society and continue to be entangled in the illusions of the false self. Jesus himself entered into this furnace. There he was tempted with the three compulsions of the world: to be relevant (‘turn stones into loaves’), to be spectacular (‘throw yourself down’), and to be powerful (‘I will give you all these kingdoms’). There he affirmed God as the only source of this of his identity (‘You must worship the Lord Your God and serve him alone’). Solitude is the place of the great struggle and the great encounter—the struggle against the compulsions of the false self, and the encounter with the loving God who offers himself as the substance of the new self.” (Henri Nouwen. The Way of the Heart. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1981, p. 25-26)

Buy Nouwen’s The Way of the Heart on Amazon.com

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