The Beloved of God

This article is an excerpt from Henri J.M. Nouwen's forthcoming book The Life of the Beloved. The book is written in the form of a personal letter to a friend, in which the author attempts to explain the life of faith.

In the prologue of the book, Nouwen recounts his friend's request: "Speak to us about a vision larger than our changing perspectives and about a voice deeper than the clamorings of our mass media. Yes, speak to us about something or someone greater than ourselves. Speak to us about God."

Henri J.M. Nouwen was a Sojourners contributing editor and shared his life with mentally handicapped people in the L'Arche community of Daybreak in Toronto, Ontario, when this article appeared. - The Editors


As the one who is chosen, blessed, broken, and given, you are called to live your life with a deep inner joy and peace. It is the life of the Beloved, lived in a world that constantly tries to convince you that the burden is on you to prove that you are worthy of being loved....

Spiritually you do not belong to the world. And this is precisely why you are sent into the world. Your family and your friends, your colleagues and your competitors, and all the people you may meet on your journey through life are all searching for more than survival. Your presence among them as the one who is sent will allow them to catch a glimpse of the real life.

Everything changes radically from the moment you know yourself as being sent into this world. Times and spaces, people and events, art and literature, history and science, they all cease to be opaque and become transparent, pointing far beyond themselves to the place from where you come and to where you will return.

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Sojourners Magazine October 1992
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