I was first introduced to Henri Nouwen in grad school, when I was assigned In the Name of Jesus, still one of the most influential books on leadership I’ve ever read. Since then, I’ve enjoyed reading other works by Nouwen, including The Return of the Prodigal Son.
Having been exposed to Nouwen’s works in a variety of different ways, I was thrilled to see Gabrielle Earnshaw compile a Henri Nouwen devotional called You Are the Beloved: Daily Meditations for Spiritual Living.
You Are the Beloved offers short reflections for each day of the year, each from Nouwen’s writings. Each reading focuses in some way on our identity in Christ and specifically, what it means to be beloved. The title of the devotional comes from Matthew 3:17 when, at Jesus’ baptism, a voice from heaven announces, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
According to Nouwen, “Jesus lived his life from the inner place of love… Once I have accepted the truth that I am God’s beloved child, unconditionally loved, I can be sent into the world to speak and to act as Jesus did.”
That, in a nutshell, is the goal of You Are the Beloved: To remind people they are beloved so that they can be sent into the world to speak and act as Jesus did. Earnshaw’s You Are the Belovedlargely succeeds in doing this.
Fans of Nouwen will recognize excerpts from some of his most famous works and take delight in a few previously unpublished writings. For those new to Nouwen, You Are the Beloved will serve as a delightful introduction to his works and showcase why he is beloved to so many Christians. At the start of a new year, there’s no better to time to begin You Are the Beloved!