Henri Nouwen one of the greatest intellects and writers of our time. He was a ordained priest in the Catholic Church. He did teaching at Yale, Harvard and Notre Dame. But his greatest success came as be pastor for a mentally handicapped community called L'Arche. Nouwen teaches us the God truly is "the wounded healer"in his book called The Wounded Healer Nouwen tells a story from the Talmud that goes like this:
Rabbi Yoshua ben Levi came upon Elijah the prophet while he was standing at the entrance of the Rabbi ben Yohai's cave...He asked Elijah, "When will the Messiah come?" Elijah replied, "Go and ask him yourself." "Where is he?" "Sitting at the gates of the city," "How shall I know him?" "He is sitting among the poor covered with wounds. The others unbind all their wounds at the same time and then bind them up again. But he unbinds one at a time and binds it up again, saying to himself, 'Perhaps I shall be needed: if so I must always be ready so as not to delay for a moment.'" (82-3, The Wounded Healer)
The point is that Christ is "The Wounded Healer" He knows our pains and our hurts, but He is there in the mist of it working His purpose. His purpose is to draw us to Himself. A.W. Tozer a preacher wrote once "That whom God would use greatly, He first wounds deeply." I truly believe that Nouwen knew that in his personal life. He was a man of great faith but was also troubled with depression at different points of his life.
Will he be regarded in the same likes as C.S. Lewis or St. Augustine in say twenty or thirty years from now? If the current trend contuines I believe he will. Even though he was Catholic. Nouwen does not just speak just for Catholics. He crosses the bridge to offer a himself to all who yearn to know God more personal and real. He was a man who got tired of the academic life and offered himself to those who the world viewed as worthless and nothing to offer and in the end found true happiness and joy and God has used him to touch countless lives and many have come to see the Light of Christ.
He died suddenly on September 21, 1996 at the L'Arche community.