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Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming [Hardcover]

Henri Nouwen
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

June 27 2002
A chance encounter with a reproduction of Rembrandt's painting, The Return of the Prodigal Son, catapulted Henri Nouwen into a long spiritual adventure. In his highly-acclaimed book of the same title, he shares the deeply personal meditation that led him to discover the place within which God has chosen to dwell. This Lent course, which has been adapted from the book, helps us to reflect on the meaning of the parable for our own lives. Divided into five sessions, the course moves through the parable exploring our reaction to the story: the younger son's leaving and return, the father's restoration of sonship, the elder son's resentment and the father's compassion. All of us who have experienced loneliness, dejection, jealousy or anger will respond to the persistent themes of homecoming, affirmation and reconciliation. Each session contained on the CD includes extracts from the book by Henri Nouwen, and background information about Henri Nouwen's life, as well as suggestions for reflection. Notes for Group Leaders and written questions for group discussion are also included in the enclosed booklet.

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From Library Journal

Nouwen, a pastor with L'Arche Daybreak Community in Toronto, finds meditation through Rembrandt's portrayal of the gospel parable of the "Prodigal Son." This book reflects his thoughts and healing processes as he progresses through the stages of younger son, elder son, and father. The interpretation of the three male characters and use of Nouwen's experiences provides a vivid picture of the stages of life. The emphasis is on the male experience, and the meditation focuses on resolving the search for love and connectedness by explaining the stages of rebellion (younger brother), resentfulness (elder brother), and forgiveness (father). As time passes, Nouwen believes, most people will recognize these stages in their own lives and understand how they take on the characteristics of their parents.
- L. Kriz, Sioux City P.L., Ia.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From AudioFile

In examining the parable of the prodigal son and Rembrandt's painting of the story, Nouwen, a renowned Christian theologian, seeker, and priest, explores its themes--grief, compassion and forgiveness--and their impact on our lives. Recording five years before his sudden death, Nouwen seems to relish the opportunity to share his insights and stories with a conference audience. As he speaks with a Dutch accent, his pace quickens and slows; his voice rises and falls as emotion dictates. One can feel the excitement he feels for his message. P.B.J. © AudioFile 2002, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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5.0 out of 5 stars Reconciliation Feb. 8 2006
By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAME TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Audio Cassette
Henri Nouwen had the well-deserved reputation as a man of many spiritual gifts, which he directed toward ways of healing and enlightenment. Beyond working with communities and groups in various spiritual discernment and support kinds of ways, Nouwen shared his gifts with the wider world through his public speaking and his writing. Author of many books, perhaps few are as moving as his meditations on the famous painting, 'The Return of the Prodigal Son' by Rembrandt.
One of the most impressive aspects of the painting, given that Rembrandt was a Protestant artist, is that it incorporates elements that go beyond the basic story of the bible. Quite often, artists of the Protestant side in the first few centuries after the Reformation stuck very closely to the biblical text. Rembrandt's picture of the scene had other members in attendance, members of varying prominence (from the very present man in red robe and headdress on the right, to the vanishing images in the shadows centre and left), and the costume somewhat mixed between contemporary and ancient.
Rembrandt's choice of scene here from the parable is significant. `Rubens portrayed the youth among the pigs, at the moment of degradation; Rembrandt paints the reconciliation. The youth knew he was no longer worthy to be called a son; he hoped to be accepted as a servant.' Author Helen de Borchgrave identifies the prominent man standing on the right as the elder son, but there is some ambiguity in the painting. Nouwen finds the figure to be the elder son, and significantly, points to the same pattern with the elder son that was present with the younger son - he leaves and then returns, albeit in a less dramatic way. `Rembrandt is as much the elder son of the parable as he is the younger,' Nouwen wrote.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Magnificent Synthesis Feb. 23 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio Cassette
Having "The Genesee Diary" many years ago, and upon learning of Nouwen's untimely death, I was surprised to learn that he had written over 30 books. I was, and continue to be, overwhelmed by hearing his talk on "The Prodidgal Son." This represents a magnificent synthesis of his lifetime of searching. The fact that his cascade of insights is triggered by the painting of a fellow Dutchman, Rembrandt, and a searching soul as well, is remarkable. Because Nouwen is both priest and psychologist, I found his insights to be even more pointed and thought-provoking. When listening to this tape while driving, I have often pulled off the road because I was stunned by his cutting right to the core of so many issues. This could only come from a lifetime of struggling.
Native Americans believe in the healing power of stories. Jesus was, among other things, a story teller. Nouwen tells his own story of going out and returning, using the prodigal son parable as a framework, in these talks. This is truly a warm, wonderful, and deeply human volume. I highly recommend it.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerfully depicts art as a reflection of the inner life. Sept. 3 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio Cassette
The lives of Rembrandt and the author take vivid shape before the mind's eye of the reader as Henri Nouwen tells the history of Rembrandt's painting. Rembrandt's famous canvas is inextricably intertwined with the story of the painter's own life and, as the author movingly shares, Rembrandt's experience was so powerfully human that it transcends generations and centuries and resonates clearly with contemporary women and men. The Return of the Prodigal Son may be said to be much more than the story of a painting; it is a beautiful story of love conveyed by Rembrandt through his painting.
In as much as love may be considered both human and spiritual, the reader is invited in to the intimacy of two men's deeply human and profoundly spiritual journeys though life. Despite life's suffering and bitterness, the author and the painter share their reasons for maintaining a firm grip on hope and inner peace. This is wonderful jewel of a book that has yet to be discovered and appreciated for it full worth - at least judging by its sales rank.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A story of Homecoming March 10 1999
By Francisco Bastitta - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio Cassette
The spiritual genious, Henri Nouwen, carves on paper an enlighting personal experience of Love. By contemplating Rembrandt's masterpiece; "The return of the prodigal son", the author reveals an aparently hidden road to happiness, and impells us to follow his steps towards a deep conversion. It is our own story, one of a long journey away from the Father, pursuing things that keep us far from his motherly womb. He offers always his gentle and healing embrace. Let us walk along with Henri Nouwen towards our home, our Peace, and our true Joy, to the arms of this everforgiving Father.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book March 10 2000
By Vickie Klick - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio Cassette
I found this book very moving. It changed how I think about the story of the Prodigal Son, and how I think about my own spiritual journey. Highly recommended. If you read the Genessee Diary and related to Nouwen's personal reflections there, you will get even more out of The Return of the Prodigal Son.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Return of the Prodigal Son March 20 2011
By Gene A. Brodland - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This was a fantastic book if you like fine art. Nouwen does an indepth study of Rembrants painting of the prodigal son. It makes the art piece really meaningful. The interesting thing is that Nouwen focuses a lot of attention on the older son and his envy, a view that I had never had before.
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