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A Reading Vocation

"I Must Read, Read, and Read. It is my Vocation." - Thomas Merton

This is where I chronicle my reading life.  I also blog about writing at Lacey's Late-night Editing.

 

Book 13/100: The Life of the Beloved by Henri J.M. Nouwen

Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World - Henri J.M. Nouwen

This is a beautifully written, comforting book. In it, Henri Nouwen answers a challenge posed by a young, secular Jewish friend of his: to write something spiritual that "secularists" could relate to. He set out to explore how we can learn to "live life as the Beloved" (of God) by finding meaning in being beloved, blessed, broken, and taken. The chapter on "Brokenness" was the one that resonated most with me -- about how in allowing ourselves to live in our moments of emotional brokenness we open ourselves up to eventual joy. I've found this to be true in my own life, although it doesn't mean that I welcome those painful experiences!

The book's set up as, essentially, an apologist love letter to his friend, drawing on their shared experiences and points of reference, makes it feel especially intimate. Unfortunately, his friend did not feel like it answered his need and that it was still geared too much toward those who "already spoke the language of spirituality." Luckily, a publisher saw its usefulness to to others and brought it to the rest of the world, an audience not intended but still grateful.