The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri Nouwen
A chance encounter with a reproduction of Rembrandt’s The Return of the Prodigal Son catapulted Henri Nouwen on a long spiritual adventure. Here he shares the deeply personal and resonant meditation that led him to discover the place within which God has chosen to dwell.
In seizing the inspiration that came to him through Rembrandt’s depiction of the powerful Gospel story, Henri Nouwen probes the several movements of the parable: the younger son’s return, the father’s restoration of sonship, the elder son’s vengefulness, and the father’s compassion. In his reflection on Rembrandt in light of his own life journey, the author evokes the powerful drama of the parable in a rich, captivating way that is sure to reverberate in the hearts of readers. The themes of homecoming, affirmation, and reconciliation will be newly discovered by all who have known loneliness, dejection, jealousy, or anger. The challenge to love as the father and be loved as the son will be seen as the ultimate revelation of the parable known to Christians through time, and here represented with a vigour and power fresh for our times.
What does it mean to be made 'in the image and likeness of God'? This is the first and defining characteristic of our humanity celebrated in the opening pages of the Bible. Its subsequent record is of the struggle between good and evil in human life, a tension that we face daily within ourselves and in the relationships of our lives.
Western Christian tradition has often given the impression, and sometimes explicitly taught that this tension is primarily between the soul and the body. The result has been a denigration of the human body and distrust of our deepest physical desires. We no longer recognise within ourselves the characteristics of the divine image. Yet written into the vey fabric of our being in the mystery, wisdom, strength, beauty, creativity, eternity and presence of God.
This profound and challenging book clears away centuries of misunderstanding, confusion and shame that have damaged our self-perception. Drawing on both Jewish and Celtic Christian sources of spirituality, Philip Newell leads us to discover the sacredness of our souls and our bodies. Our present day assumptions about love, beauty, sexuality and worth are transformed by this truly ground-breaking book.
Thomas Merton's life, especially once he had become a writer, was to a great extent one of dialogue with people who were distant, both geographically and historically. In these probing and perceptive studies, Rowan Williams looks closely at the key intellectual and spiritual relationships that emerge in Merton's writings, exploring the impact on him of thinkers as diverse as Hannah Arendt, Karl Barth, William Blake, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Olivier Clement, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Paul Evdokimov, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Vladimir Lossky, John Henry Newman, Boris Pasternak and St John of the Cross.
This enduring classic of devotion consists of the letters and recorded conversations of a simple seventeenth-century lay brother who, through the most ordinary of activities, was able to achieve a profound intimacy with God. At any moment and in any circumstance, he taught, we can 'practice the presence of God' – by thinking on Him, loving Him, and offering up our daily tasks as acts of worship. This volume also includes Brother Lawrence's Spiritual Maxims, a summary of his teachings in the form of short aphorisms and sayings.
Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection (c1611-1691) born Nicholas Herman, spent most of his life serving as a kitchen hand and errand boy at the Monastery of the Discalced Carmelites in Paris.