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Life of the Beloved

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  5,991 Ratings  ·  374 Reviews
This spiritual classic began as a simple request from one friend to another. Fred Bratman, a secular journalist and writer, asked friend and renowned author Henri Nouwen to write a book explaining the spiritual life in terms that he and his friends could understand, avoiding theology and technical language. "Speak to us about a vision larger than our changing perspectives ...more
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Published December 25th 1996 by Crossroad Publishing Company (first published 1992)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jeremy
Apr 01, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian-life
While I love Nouwen, I was disappointed by this work. I found it to be a beautiful depiction of the Gospel message with one vital omission: Christ. He speaks of us as being (like the bread of the Eucharist) taken, blessed, broken, and given. It is a wonderful way of presenting the role we play in this world, and how God prepares us for this role. However, without the explanation of why we are broken and how we are blessed, the work rings hollow.

I find it interesting that in the epilogue Nouwen
...more
Leslie
Feb 13, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Parts of this book were incredibly good, but I can't recommend it unreservedly.

I resonated with his explanation of our being loved by God, missing that point, and therefore trying to substitute affirmation from the world in place of God's love.

I disagreed with his premise that we can influence this world as spirits after we die. I think that's Catholic vs evangelical theology.

But at the end, it turned out that he missed the mark. The book was written to a friend, a secular Jewish man, who aske
...more
Emily
Jan 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian
Not in any way a hard read, but one I needed to take my time with, to let it settle in and make space for reflection and action.

It's seemed remarkably in tune with the relationships and topics on my heart right now, but I think perhaps it's a simple enough book and has enough wisdom that might always be true.

It was a nice moment to have it recommended as a source of comfort right now when I had just been reading it. I could go back to a specific passage and find it even more helpful in facing
...more
Lori Galaske
Apr 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've only read one Nouwen book that I haven't thoroughly enjoyed. After reading Life of the Beloved, I've still only read one Nouwen book that I haven't thoroughly enjoyed (and I can't remember the name of that one). This book was, however, different from most of his other books, but his humility and love for God and people still seeped through every page. I loved this book for its simplicity and down-to-earthness. No high and lofty theology here - just the basics. We're human: broken and imperf ...more
Anna Clark
Jun 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"From the moment I was helped to experience my interpersonal addiction as an expression of a need for total surrender to a loving God who would fulfill the deepest desires of my heart, I started to live my dependency in a radically new way. Instead of living it in shame and embarrassment, I was able to live it as an urgent invitation to claim God's unconditional love for myself, a love I can depend on without fear."

I think I may have found my new favorite book.
Lizzy
Sep 30, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: faith
Written by a priest to a Jewish friend to explain the spiritual in everyday terms and thoughts that a secular person would understand.

I don't believe he accomplished his goal and his friend attests to that. However I did pick up a few thoughts that are worthy.

~When we persist in looking at the shadow side, we will eventually end up in the dark.
~Every time we decide to be grateful it will be easier to see new things to be grateful for.
~You have to choose where it is that you want to live.
~The ble
...more
Amory
Apr 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I feel I could pick up this book at any time and be reminded of the most simple and profound truths of identity. Nouwen's conversational prose with a friend makes the heart of the book easily identifiable and accessible.
Dale
Jun 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Probably one of Henri's most important books. It is difficult for many people to understand themselves as "Beloved".
Kristin Gottron
Jun 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Poignant and helpful in reflecting on my own spiritual journey. I like that Nouwen is familiar with and is writing in the modern context because he speaks to struggles with which I am very familiar and reminds of the need to stay in touch with the truth of being Beloved.
Claudia
Thanks, Connor K, for waiting patiently for me to read and reflect on this book. On the surface, it's the story of a friendship. A younger Jewish man and an older Catholic priest. Their differences may define them, but they find bridges to each other and forge a strong relationship. Here Nouwen attempts to explain to his young friend why faith is important in the modern world, and how it can help people lead their very best lives.

He's organized his letter around the concept of being the Beloved
...more
Carol
Jan 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian, nouwen
Re-read before Easter 2014. Nouwen's writing is amazing!!

"Life is a God-given opportunity to become who we are, to affirm our own true spiritual nature, claim our truth, appropriat and intergrate the reality of our being, but most of all, to say "yes" to the One who calls us the Beloved."

Nouwen wrote this book in response to longtime friend, Fred Bratman, request for "a word of hope to people who no longer came to churches or synagogues."
Nouwen explains spiritual life as:
I. Being the Beloved
...more
Reneesarah
Dec 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
More than being about what other people tell us spiritual life is based on experience. Anyone who reads this book will bring to the reading of it their own experience. It could not be otherwise. The experience of the book is an interaction, a kind of alchemy, between the experience of the reader and the writing of the author. And with each reader, the book becomes something new.

Henri Nouwen wrote this book for a friend, and the friend, in his honesty, found that the book did not turn out to be w
...more
Winston Elliott III
In this sublime work Fr. Nouwen offers: "The greatest gift my friendship can give to you is the gift of your Belovedness. I can give that gift only insofar as I have claimed it for myself. Isn't that what friendship is all about: giving to each other the gift of our Belovedness?"

This book is, at its essence, a love letter. A love letter from Nouwen to God, from God to each of us, and if we so choose, an offering of our love returned to our Creator who calls us Beloved.

Fr. Nouwen speaks to each o
...more
Pat Treff
Apr 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a sincere telling of the abundant love that God has for mankind and how we can find fulfillment and purpose by seeing ourselves as Chosen, Blessed, Broken, and Given. It speaks to those who have already found themselves hungry for spiritual food.

The secular world that Fred lives in allows him to function and even prosper without God and that is His design. Followers of Christ know the richness of having our spiritual life but who can see color if they are blind? For me, Henri describes
...more
Gerald Thomson
Aug 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are a few books a person reads in their lifetime that changes their life. This is one of them. In a clear, straightforward delivery, Nouwen provides his view on how to live life well. The principles are nothing new (know that you are beloved by God, give yourself to others, bless those you come in contact with), but Nouwen’s personal openness effected me like none of his other books that I have read. Written as a letter to a younger, secular Jew, the friendship shared, the struggles gone t ...more
Jenni
Mar 13, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
According to a friend I read this book with, it is very similar to Letters To A Young Poet, except with a Christ-centered perspective. It was meant to be written for a friend of Nouwen's (the author) who did not have the same faith as Nouwen and was entrenched in the secular world. He wanted to communicate that in a world so fast-paced and self-serving, when we know God's love we are able to claim our identity as "The Beloved". This allows us to not be as affected by the criticism of the world, ...more
Ainsley
Jun 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015
So many gems in this slender volume. It is deep, and simple, and filled with so much love. This is a book to be savored a few pages at a time, not gobbled up in one sitting.

Nouwen's spirit in writing, which I adored, is well expressed in the epilogue where he says, "I feel within myself a deep-rooted resistance to proving anything to anybody...I can only say, 'for me, God is the one who calls me the Beloved, and I have a desire to express to others how I try to become more fully who I already a
...more
Connie Inglis
Oct 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very few books receive 5 stars from me, but this is one of them. Maybe partly because I opened this book without expectation and was subsequently blown away by the focus on being God's beloved. This is something God has been showing me over and over again in the last 5 years--about how much HE LOVES ME and then what my response should be to a world that feels so unloved. A MUST read!
Kjersti
Sep 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best books I've read in a while..
Ben
Apr 09, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a difficult book to review: The majority of this book landed easily in my "5 star" category - beautifully written insights that I found myself savoring and actually slowing down my reading pace in order to really soak in. This book was headed to be one of my favorites of recent years - I kept waiting for the author to articulately and sensitively weave in Christ as well as the issue of sin, but both were noticeably absent. About half way through I figured it was just around the corner but a ...more
Tam G
Jul 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A beautifully poetic way of looking at belongingness, pain, giving, and death from a Christian POV but without the trappings of Christian dogma.

Interesting. A few times I disagreed with him or felt the lack of concreteness. Other times things resonated vividly with my own experience and understanding. I appreciated the epilogue. Interesting to read with Endo's *Silence* (as I am doing right now).
Amanda
Jun 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall, a thought-provoking read about how we relate to God and ourselves. My favorite part was the end, so I'm I'm glad I finished this one.
Jeice
Sep 17, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book became a horrible frustration for me to read. It started out well enough, but there were such gaps and glaring omissions and confusing logic that by the end I could barely read two pages in a row without having to put the book down. There are a few poignant points, which saves this book from getting one star, but overall this book doesn't say much that better books have said much better.


Henri Nouwen explains from the outset that this book is written to explain the spiritual life to se
...more
Tyler
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A masterpiece of Christian literature!
There are pieces of this that will stay with me forever.
Kyle Wedel
Dec 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the second of Nouwen's books I've read (The first being "In the Name of Jesus") and this is just as effective and powerful as my first Nouwen experience. Written to a personal friend, Henri's humble approach, simple style, and honest thoughts make it so that you can't help but feel that you are actually that friend. An easy read (I finished it in a matter of hours), but one that leaves you with much to think and reflect on. Written for a secular man this book actually becomes , in Nouwen ...more
Christina Hubbard
A quick little read for the everyday Christian struggling to live fully alive in God's love
Nouwen' s ideas about being chosen, broken, and blessed renewed my perspective on my own suffering and power to influence others in small ways. an essential read for any believer.
Elizabeth
Feb 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: faith
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Heidi Archer
Dec 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'll read this again and again. Typical Henri - it's like a different book with a different message each time I pick it up and put it down, and then pick it up again.
Barbara M
Dec 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love Henri Nouwen and enjoyed "Life of the Beloved." It's a book filled with love. Henri, a priest, explains how each of us is beloved (by God) and how that love is life changing - re: how we feel about ourselves and others around us.

The book was written in response to a Jewish friend's request. He asked Henri to explain his spirituality to non-religious people. After writing the book, the friend felt that Henri missed the mark on explaining his beliefs to non-religious people. However, ironic
...more
Blake
One of the best, Christian, inspirational books I've ever read. Paralleled my life beautifully, and a man definitely moved by the Holy Spirit, Christ, and who has come to an understanding and love, I'd say 2% of this world have ever known.
It is too bad he is gone, I would have loved to have met him. For anyone trying to relate more to God and this world, I would say this one is a must read.
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Henri Jozef Machiel Nouwen (Nouen), (1932–1996) was a Dutch-born Catholic priest and writer who authored 40 books on the spiritual life.

Nouwen's books are widely read today by Protestants and Catholics alike. The Wounded Healer, In the Name of Jesus, Clowning in Rome, The Life of the Beloved, and The Way of the Heart are just a few of the more widely recognized titles. After nearly two decades of
...more
More about Henri J.M. Nouwen...

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“Aren't you, like me, hoping that some person, thing, or event will come along to give you that final feeling of inner well-being you desire? Don't you often hope: 'May this book, idea, course, trip, job, country or relationship fulfill my deepest desire.' But as long as you are waiting for that mysterious moment you will go on running helter-skelter, always anxious and restless, always lustful and angry, never fully satisfied. You know that this is the compulsiveness that keeps us going and busy, but at the same time makes us wonder whether we are getting anywhere in the long run. This is the way to spiritual exhaustion and burn-out. This is the way to spiritual death.” 173 likes
“the real "work" of prayer is to become silent and listen to the voice that says good things about me.

To gently push aside and silence the many voices that question my goodness and to trust that I will hear the voice of blessing-- that demands real effort. ”
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