In The Return of the Prodigal Son, Henri Nouwen shares about his experience when he sees a poster of Rembrandt's painting Prodigal Son. Something in the painting captures his imagination and becomes the catalyst that draws him on a 'long spiritual adventure' toward something the felt like 'home'.
He searches his own life in the gentle light of the New Testament story this painting portrays -- exploring the themes of homecoming, affirmation, and reconciliation. Anyone who has ever felt the feelings of the 'lost' prodigal son, or the pining father, or the resentful elder brother will find this book a powerful and transforming read. And should you be interested in the painting itself, the author offers some interesting things on that line too.
Excerpt 1, p. 37...
"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 the children of God and sets them free to live in the midst of a dark world while remaining in the light."
Excerpt 2, p. 42
"As long as I keep running about asking: "Do you love me? Do you really love me?" I give all power to the voices of the world and put myself in bondage because the world is filled with 'ifs'. The world says: "Yes, I love you if you are good-looking, intelligent, and wealthy. I love you if you have a good education, a good job, and good connections. I love you if you produce much, sell much, and buy much." There are endless 'ifs' hidden in the world's love. These 'ifs' enslave me..."
Excerpt 3, p. 73
"Joy and resentment cannot coexist."
Excerpt 4, p. 81
"Each child of God has there his or her unique place, all of them places of God. I have to let go of all comparison, all rivalry and competition, and surrender to the Father's love... As long as I stay outside in the darkness, I can only remain in the resentful complaint that results from my comparisons. Outside of the light, my younger brother seems to be more loved by the Father than I. ... In the light of God I can finally see my neighbor as my brother, as the one who belongs as much to God as I do."
Excerpt 5, p. 115"Somehow I have become accustomed to living with sadness, and so have lost the eyes to see the joy and the ears to hear the gladness that belongs to God and which is to be found in the hidden corners of the world. I have a friend who is so deeply connected with God that he can see joy where I expect only sadness. . . .When he shares his experiences, he tells about the hidden joys he has discovered."