Henri J.M. Nouwen is the author of more than 30 books and pastor of the l'Arche Daybreak community in Toronto, Canada. He sees spiritual reading as one of the essential practices of those living in the Spirit — it is "a discipline to keep us reflecting on our lives as we live them."

That is exactly what he does here in meditations on living in the present, prayer, suffering, change, and compassion. I especially like Nouwen's affirmation of birthdays as "exalting life" and his vision of the reverse mission of the poor to the rich, blacks to whites, gays to straights, and the dying to the living.