The words written by Henri Nouwen in this thoughtful book, Life of the Beloved, helped a friend of mine through a trying time in her life. She later shared Nouwen’s book with me. “Beloved” is a warm term to describe the relationship of God with His children. Henri Nouwen wrote this book for a friend at his friend’s request. His friend wanted something for himself and his secular friends that would describe what Nouwen had found in his religion, written specifically for those whom do not understand the relationship component of “God with Us.” This is a warmly written book, almost fatherly in its calm treatment of the spiritual, much like a teacher will do with a skeptical student when the teacher goes in through the back door to approach a difficult-to-grasp concept. It reads like a personal communicant on God and how God fits into real life in a personal dimension. Spiritual in tone, this book is not about religious practices or the deep yearning, and it is not about doctrine or an intellectual pursuit. It is about what it means to be a beloved child of God, someone who finds their value in God, and not through doing or in prideful acts.
Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World (Crossroad Publishing Company, 1992)