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Featured Book: Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World


Renovare has it that, when Henri Nouwen “was asked by a secular Jewish friend to explain his faith in simple language, he responded with his greatest legacy, Life of the Beloved, which shows that all people, believers and nonbelievers, are beloved by God unconditionally.” The stretching blogspot adds, “The book is written as a very personal letter to a dear friend.” A Dutch Catholic priest and celebrated spiritual writer, the late Henri Nouwen could be, Sacred Heart University professor of Catholic thought Michael Higgins explains in Commonweal Magazine, “sentimental, cloying, and crushingly needy, as in his ‘letter’ to journalist Fred Bratman, Life of the Beloved….”

This is who he was, Henri Nouuwen: “gay”, “shy”, “fragile”, “an introvert”. As Higgins reports, the man “continued to war with his own demons of depression, self-loathing, and loneliness.” Only he did it in writing for all to see: “In his ability to turn personal vulnerability into spiritual exploration lies the broad appeal his writing made….” So it is that Anthony Redmond writes, in The Irish Catholic, “His appeal, for me, is his vulnerability, sensitivity, and constant search for love and understanding.” In short, there’s a reason why his biography is entitled, Wounded Prophet.

Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World, by Henri Nouwen
The Crossroads Publishing Company, 1992

The previous Featured Book, The Heart of Christianity: Rediscovering a Life of Faith, by Marcus Borg, is now available in the Library.