His writings were formative and very encouraging. On one occasion, I read his book Gracias. The book is actually a journal chronicling Nouwen’s time spent in Peru and Bolivia. Near the end of the book, he writes:
The title of this journal summarizes what I found, learned, and heard. The word that I kept hearing, wherever I went, was: Gracias! It sounded like the refrain from a long ballad of events. Gracias a usted, gracias a Dios, muchas gracias — thank you, thanks be to God, many thanks! I saw thousands of poor and hungry children, I met many young men and women without money, a job, or a decent place to live. I spent long hours with sick, elderly people, and I witnessed more misery and pain than ever before in my life. But in the midst of it all, that word lifted me again and again to a new realm of seeing and hearing: Gracias! Thanks! (Henri Nouwen, Gracias!, p. 187)
When have you felt particularly moved by someone’s gratitude? What made the situation particularly moving?