Since today’s Gospel readings presented the familiar parable of the Prodigal Son, when i contemplated What To Post tonight while traipsing all about town on this absolutely gorgeous SPRING-ish day (almost here! almost here!), Rembrandt & Henri Nouwen’s book, “The Return of the Prodigal Son,” popped immediately to mind. Then at church this evening Msgr. Timothy highlighted it in his message (“150 years from now they will still be reading This Great Book..” ) So true! So, here goes…
As a HUGE groupie of Henri Nouwen i have most (almost ALL) of his books, but this one is an all-time favorite (!! click here to read about another favorite!!) ‘Twas read several times years ago & then again in a book group in Tanzania (6 expat couples & singleton ME) & then again here in the ‘Burg (a group of 20- something gals from church &, uh, slightly older ME.)
Each & every time THERE IS ALWAYS SOMETHING NEW TO GLEAN to grow into deeper awareness of God our Heavenly Father & His love for us.
It all began when Henri Nouwen visited the Hermitage Gallery in St. Petersburg & saw Rembrandt’s painting “the Return of the Prodigal Son.” As the book details, he spent hours in front of the actual painting contemplating & chronicling … to our benefit (!!) as he applies the painting & the parable to his life & to where we might be on our journeys.
If you’re looking for something deeply spiritual
to read anytime (but especially during Lent) i highly recommend this classic from the heart paint of Rembrandt to the gifted heart ink of Henri Nouwen about the Merciful Heart of our Heavenly Father filled with ‘divine compassion’ for us.
“Looking at the way in which Rembrandt portrays the father, there came to me a whole new understanding of tenderness, mercy, & forgiveness. Seldom, if ever, has God’s immense, compassionate love been expressed in such a poignant way. Every detail of the father’s figure – his facial expression, his posture, the colors of his dress, and.. the still gesture of his hands – speaks of the divine love for humanity that existed from the beginning & ever will be.
Everything comes together here: Rembrandt’s story, humanity’s story, & God’s story. Time and eternity intersect; approaching death & everlasting life touch each other. Sin & forgiveness embrace; the human & the divine become one.” (Henri Nouwen, “Return of the Prodigal Son” p.93*)
*there are so many favorite highlighted passages in this book ’tis hard to pick any one to share, so this is just a ‘teaser.’
grace, peace & Divine Compassion (parables of )
Virginia : )