Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Adam: God's Beloved” as Want to Read:
Adam: God's Beloved
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Adam: God's Beloved

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  648 ratings  ·  72 reviews
The death of his friend Adam, a severely handicapped young man, spurred Henry Nouwen to write this book. He discovered that by reflecting on the story of this young man, he had found a way to describe his own understanding of the Gospel message. In "Adam", a book completed only weeks before his own death, Nouwen has left a fitting reflection of his own essential message an ...more
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published September 8th 1997 by Orbis Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Adam, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Adam

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.29  · 
Rating details
 ·  648 ratings  ·  72 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Oct 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Some people that review this say that they wanted more. But that is the opposite of what the book is. It is about the life of a young disabled man that, because of his disability, somehow brings others closer to God. It is his very limited ability that serves that purpose - the emptiness of opening yourself to God.

As the father of a disabled son I identify with much of what is in the book. My son is not as disabled as Adam but many people have the same reaction. Maybe that is why I found the sim
Sep 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A lovely spiritual book that highlights an often forgotten image of the divine, the God of passion more than a God of action. Nouwen proclaims the gospel of vulnerability, and how the divine life may properly fit into the life of every person--even from people whose physical condition makes us almost impossible to think of holiness, like the severely handicapped Adam who had become for Nouwen a friend, mentor, an image of God during his stay at L'Arche Daybreak Community in Toronto, Canada. Nouw ...more
Sep 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This should be required reading for anybody that is a parent, caregiver, or serves in some ministry capacity. Nouwen is a beautiful writer with simple prose that is easily understood. If I didn't have a busy family, I would have finished this in one sitting! He gives tremendous meaning and value to what it means to care for another person and how we can learn and be changed through the process.
Apr 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
Adam: God's Beloved was a beautiful read. I've been longing to read some Henri Nouwen after repeatedly encountering excerpts of his and I found this title at the college library.

This is the final book he wrote before passing away and it describes his experiences at L'Arche Daybreak Community. He served as their chaplain and was paired with Adam, one of the residents there; Henri was expected to wake up Adam and get him ready for the day. Adam was severely handicapped and couldn't speak, and Henr
Adam Gilchrest
Jan 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
When it comes to great minds like Tozer and Nouwen, I often get lost in their descriptions of God while they are discussing how His reality works in our lives. To me, they are similar to the Apostle Paul, in this way. They have something amazing to say, but my single minded brain can't track two paths at once. I can either focus on hearing what they have to say about how God works in the world or they're plentiful descriptions of the character of God.

This book had very little of that surprising
Sep 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
A very thoughtful and kind book about learning the worth of each of us, just as we are, no matter what we can do or not do. God loves - that's all.
Tanner Hawk
Jun 20, 2019 rated it liked it
A simple but impactful read.

"[Adam] was a person, who by his very life announced the marvelous mystery of our God: I am precious, beloved, whole, and born of God. Adam bore silent witness to this mystery, which has nothing to do with whether or not he could speak, walk, or express himself, whether or not he made money, had a job, was fashionable, famous, married or single. It had to do with his being. He was and is a beloved child of God...Unfortunately, there is a very loud, consistent, and pow
Note: This is NOT about the first biblical Adam, as you might initially think. This is the story of Nouwen’s spiritual journey through his relationship with a disabled man named Adam whose gift was his utter helplessness and dependence on others. Again, Nouwen explores the theme of powerlessness and love. It’s a theme that has been a lot on my mind for many years, too. It’s also a mysterious paradox: the power of utter powerlessness.

But the book is not really a theological treatise. It’s just a
HD Tolson
Mar 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, favorites
"Could Adam pray? Did he know who God is and what the Name of Jesus means? Did he understand the mystery of God among us? For a long time I thought about these questions. For a long time I was curious about how much of what I knew, Adam could know, and how much of what I understood, Adam could understand. But now I see that these were for me questions from 'below,' questions that reflected more my anxiety and uncertainty than God's love. God's questions, the questions from 'above' were, 'Can you ...more
Jessica Limes
Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful reflection on friendship and the power of presence. From the halls of Yale, an esteemed professor & Roman Catholic priest moves into L'Arche- a community for people with and without disabilities who share life together. Adam's impact on Henri is profound and perhaps surprising- Adam is non verbal and yet Henri whose life had been working out his theology via conversation and intellectual discussion, is transformed by a man who does not say a word.

A wonderful reminder to be see,
Nick Blair
Oct 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great book. Many great insights on the vulnerability and weakness of being human. However, it could not have been more over-spiritualized. I think that he was trying to stretch a few insights into an entire book.
Michael Beard
Apr 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Short but powerful message

Through this book many “normal” people for generations to come will be healed of their spiritual, emotional and relational disabilities by a severely mentally and physically disabled man named Adam.
May 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Having a son with Down syndrome, I had preconceptions before I read that I wouldn’t learn much. Not true at all. Expanded my vision and given me a much greater spiritual understanding of Lou’s purpose and blessing in our lives.
Melisa Blankenship
The beauty of this story is hard to put into words. Much like the ministry of Adam himself, sitting with this story and reading about the impact on the people around Adam, had an impact on me. It's simplicity and honesty brought me reflection and tears.
May 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
" his weakness [Adam] became a unique instrument of God’s grace. [Adam] became a revelation of Christ among us.”
Jamie Pent
I still have tears staining my cheeks

It's a beautiful heartbreaking story. Not the best piece of writing I've ever read but certainly written from the heart.
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Powerful book. I read it for a theology class and found it easy and moving.
Craig Barankiewicz
Was an excellent book! I understand more about how to approach working with disabled.
Jedidiah Preble
Oct 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
A wonderful book that helped me to better appreciate our own nature and the reality of God through the very brokenness that seems to contradict God's omnipotence and benevolence.
Mar 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful story and articulated who I know God to be so well. Really enjoyed this!
May 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a wonderful book! Nouwen captures the joys of the life of L'Arche in this touching remembrance.
Oct 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An exploration of deep humility...
Feb 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Henri Nouwen is one of my favorite authors. In this, his last book, he shows how we often reach and teach others through our disabilities rather than our abilities. We all embody a little of the divine; so, be sure to look for it in others as well as yourself. You might be surprised to find it in the most unlikely of places.

The Henri Nouwen Society has chosen this book for their 2017 Lent discussion. You can participate here:
Feb 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Adam Arnett suffered from epilepsy. Adam communicated in his own unique way. His family brought him to Daybreak, a place where Adam would live and get the care he needed. Nouwen began to help Adam in daily activities and discovered Adam's gift --because of the vulnerability of Jesus he saw Adam's extremely vulnerable life as a life of utmost spiritual significance. Nouwen was convinced that Adam was chosen to witness to God's love through his brokenness. Adam was a whole person and a blessed man ...more
Dec 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
I was supposed to read this book for my undergrad anatomy class, and instead merely skimmed it before the final exam so I could pass some of the questions about it. I cheated myself by putting this book off until now. Nouwen’s book is not, as some might suppose, about the biblical Adam, but rather a young handicapped man that Nouwen worked and lived with during his time at the L’Arche Daybreak Community in Toronto. Although initially overwhelmed and uncomfortable with caring for Adam, Nouwen is ...more
Jul 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
How is it that Adam, a man who cannot speak, walk, or even eat without assistance, can minister to so many people? Today's world measures the value of human life in such upside-down ways. Yet Jesus told us to see Him in the face of the poor and marginalized. In this memoir, Nouwen literally shows us the face of Christ in his friend Adam. In Adam's silence and peace, he was able to heal many troubled hearts. It always strikes me how very hard it is for many of us to accept assistance from others ...more
Apr 03, 2016 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
James Millikan
Nov 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: jesuit-novitiate
Completed after the author's his death, Adam: God's Beloved is a final account of Henri Nouwen's late spirituality. The book chronicles the story of Nouwen's years assisting and accompanying Adam, a man with severe intellectually disabilities, through his life, passion, death, and resurrection in the hearts of those who knew him. Written in clear and direct prose, the book provides much material for reflection about our own woundedness and longings for wholeness and belonging. Though I found man ...more
Jan 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What makes a celebrated author, academic and theologian, walk away from the world, in order to find community, love and perhaps his true calling as a Catholic Priest in caring for those who the world regards as useless? This is a thoroughly moving book, for seekers and all people of good will. Before reading Adam: God's Beloved, I was unfamiliar with Jean Vanier, and the work of the L'Arche communities, but I have been blessed by its' insights into an entire new way of viewing the world and the ...more
Nov 30, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: If you wish to understand Nouwen's sacred story with l'Arche
Shelves: l-arche, spiritual
I figure this book is a great reflection of love, in fact it is a love story, an unconventional one.

Henri writes about his journey of growing aware of his brokenness and falling in love with Adam as his dear friend. Henri does an incredible job of describing the emotional battleground this journey takes place.

If you are working with people who have physical or mental problems....if you might even care for a person in any way, this book might speak to some revelations you have encountered along t
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Love and Salt: A Spiritual Friendship Shared in Letters
  • Wounded Prophet: A Portrait of Henri J.M. Nouwen
  • The Essential Tillich
  • The Promise of Paradox: A Celebration of Contradictions in the Christian Life
  • Jesus Manifesto
  • Let Go: To Get Peace and Real Joy
  • Letters from the Desert
  • Jesus and Empire
  • Made for Goodness: And Why This Makes All the Difference
  • American Transcendentalism: A History
  • Henri Nouwen: Wounded Healer (Spirituality)
  • The Preaching Life
  • Community And Growth
  • Invitation to Love: The Way of Christian Contemplation
  • Now and Then: A Memoir of Vocation
  • Pierre Teilhard de Chardin: Writings Selected with an Introduction
  • Deep Conversion / Deep Prayer
  • Called To Question:  A Spiritual Memoir
See similar books…
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
“Adam was sent to bring Good News to the world. It was his mission, as it was the mission of Jesus. Adam was—very simply, quietly, and uniquely—there! He was a person, who by his very life announced the marvelous mystery of our God: I am precious, beloved, whole, and born of God. Adam bore silent witness to this mystery, which has nothing to do with whether or not he could speak, walk, or express himself, whether or not he made money, had a job, was fashionable, famous, married or single. It had to do with his being. He was and is a beloved child of God. It is the same news that Jesus came to announce, and it is the news that all those who are poor keep proclaiming in and through their very weakness. Life is a gift. Each one of us is unique, known by name, and loved by the One who fashioned us. Unfortunately, there is a very loud, consistent, and powerful message coming to us from our world that leads us to believe that we must prove our belovedness by how we look, by what we have, and by what we can accomplish. We become preoccupied with “making it” in this life, and we are very slow to grasp the liberating truth of our origins and our finality. We need to hear the message announced and see the message embodied, over and over again. Only then do we find the courage to claim it and to live from it.” 4 likes
More quotes…