Editor John Dear has surveyed Henri Nouwen's 40 books and assembled nearly all of his writings on peace, disarmament, and social justice in this anthology. One of this priest's guiding lights was St. Frances of Assisi who advised, "While you are proclaiming peace with your lips, be careful to have it even more fully in your heart." Nouwen demonstrates how he nurtured peace and justice in his heart at the 1965 civil rights march on Selma, during the funeral of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., while serving the poor in Latin America, through his work with handicapped members of the L'Arche community, and in his service to victims of AIDS.
"Nothing is more important in peacemaking than that it flow from a deep and undeniable experience of love," Nouwen wrote. "Only those who know deeply that they are loved and rejoice in that love can be true peacemakers." The danger for all peace activists is that they will turn warmakers into enemies. Nouwen challenges Christians to be wary of making peace work issue oriented. Again and again, he comes back to the insights of Oscar Romero, Thomas Merton, and others who grounded their nonviolence in prayer and community solidarity. The road to peace is not an easy journey but, as Nouwen demonstrated with his life and writings, it is one worth taking.