- Paperback: 151 pages
- Publisher: Image Books / Doubleday Publishing Group; Reissue edition (March 1, 1994)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0385473079
- ISBN-13: 978-0385473071
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.5 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (649 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,435 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming Paperback – Deckle Edge, March 1, 1994
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The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming is a spiritual adventure story. A chance encounter with a poster depicting a detail of Rembrandt's The Return of the Prodigal Son set in motion a chain of events that enabled Nouwen to redefine and claim his vocation late in his life. In this book, which interweaves elements of art history, memoir, Midrash, and self-help, Nouwen brings the parable to life with empathic analyses of each character. Nouwen's absorption in the story (and the painting) is so complete that the father's challenge to love the son, and the son's challenge to receive that love, become Nouwen's own. And Nouwen's writing is so clear and his tone is so appealingly frank and humble that readers--no matter how far from home--will find hope for themselves in the prodigal peace Nouwen ultimately achieves. --Michael Joseph Gross
From the Publisher
The beloved spiritual writer meditates on the parable of the prodigal son's return -- a powerful drama of fatherhood, filial duty, rivalry, and anger between brothers -- and its enduring lessons for Christianity.
Full-color photographs with gatefold.
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Top Customer Reviews
Had I not read the convincing "portrayal" of this truth by Fr. Nouwen, I would not have believed it. This truth puts a whole new meaning to "being a member of God's household" - to be fully in the Father's house is to be a living extension of the Father's home, which is always welcoming! This is indeed a "high calling," and one that inspires me to strive even harder to cease allowing self-centeredness to hold me back.
Henri Nouwen is a master of reflection, study, self-knowledge, and of writing beautiful, profound books. This book is amazing, perhaps life-changing. It has spoken to me in profound and deep ways, and I am deeply thankful for it.
Nouwen's main message, I think, is the unconditional, unfailing, all-surpassing love of the Father, this love that meets all needs easily. He puts himself in the place of the younger son, the older son, and the father, and considers this love - and the things that keep us from fully experiencing it - in all of these places, places that ring universal.
The media of realization here is the parable of course, but also Rembrandt's painting, Return of the Prodigal Son. It is profoundly helpful, fun, and provoking to consider this representation of the story and let it work spiritually in us, as it has in Father Henri. This book has more than opened my heart to the love of my Father, it has given me a new love for art, and a side education on Rembrandt and one of his most famous paintings.
In short, this is another truly rare, truly wonderful book from a modern mystic. Nouwen will be remembered, I hope, alongside Augustine, Lewis, and others I have yet to discover but now believe exist.
"Home is the center of my being where I can hear the voice that says: "You are my Beloved, on you my favor rests"-the same voice that gave life to the first Adam and spoke to Jesus, the second Adam; the same voice that speaks to all children of God and sets them free to live in the midst of a dark world while remaining in the light. I have heard that voice. It has spoken to me in the past and continues to speak to me now. It is the never-interrupted voice of love speaking from eternity and giving life and love whenever it is heard. When I hear that voice, I know that I am home with God and have nothing to fear. As the Beloved of my heavenly Father, "I can walk in the valley of darkness: no evil would I fear." As the Beloved, I can confront, console, admonish, and encourage without fear of rejection or need for affirmation. As the Beloved, I can be tortured and killed without ever having to doubt that the love that is given to me is stronger than death. As the Beloved, I am free to live and give life, free also to die while giving life."
If you'd like to discuss this book with me, or recommend others, or just chat, e-mail me at email@example.com. I'd love to talk with you.
Henri Nouwen used his experiences and feelings surrounding the Rembrandt painting "Return of the Prodigal Son" coupled with time as the father at a group home for the severely handicapped as a back drop for this book. But it is not a book that is about his time at the home, nor it is a book that really reflects that he is a catholic priest. It has a universal message and is based squarely on scripture revolving around the story of the prodigal as well as insights gained from Rembrandt's painting
The pleasant yet challenging surprise of the book is how Nouwen takes the logical path from rebellious son through older brother and landing finally at the role of father and how the Father Himself calls us to become as He is. It is the first time I have read or heard a teaching that moves from the unrelenting love that the father has for the son in the story to the idea that God is calling us not just to accept His love as the younger son does once he realizes how lost he had become, but how God is calling us to become like Him and love the rebellious and lost as He does.
I found it very interesting how Nouwen see parts of Rembrandt's work as being reflections of or symbols of something great and true. These insights made the book more interesting than just a simple bible lesson on an old and familiar story.
Whether you find yourself in a foreign land or just outside the Fathers House, or whether you tend to feel a bit resentful that you're "following all the rules" and yet things just don't seem quite right this book has something important and powerful to say to you. If you are a leader in the church and want to be compelled to try a little harder and move a little closer to being the accepting and loving father that God calls you to be; this book has something for you.
I enjoyed reading this and can highly recommend it.
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