A chance encounter with a reproduction of Rembrandt's The Return of the Prodigal Son catapulted Henri Nouwen on a long spiritual adventure. Here he shares the deeply personal and resonant meditation that led him to discover the place within where God has chosen to dwell.
In seizing the inspiration that came to him through Rembrandt's depiction of the powerful Gospel story, Henri Nouwen probes the several movements of the parable; the younger son's return, the father's restoration of sonship, the elder son's vengefulness, and the father's compassion. In his reflection on Rembrandt in light of his own life journey, the author evokes the powerful drama of the parable in a rich, captivating way that is sure to reverberate in the hearts of readers. The themes of homecoming, affirmation, and reconciliation will be newly discovered by all who have known loneliness, dejection, jealousy, or anger. The challenge to love as the father and be loved as the son will be seen as the ultimate revelation of the parable known to Christians throughout time, and here represented with a vigor and power fresh for our times.
I have never wanted to see a painting as much as Henri Nouwen's The Return of the Prodigal Son has made me want to see Rembrandt's portrait by the same name. After reading this book, I will never see the parable of the Prodigal Son the same way again.
This book has gotten deep into my brain this past week, so much, so that as I read it I need days to ruminate on what the author, Henri J.M. Nouwen, wrote about. After much introspection, it has made me realize just how much further I personally need to go. Personal ruminations aside, I found The Return of the Prodigal Son to be an incredible read because it opened up the parable and gave the story a side I never even considered.
One of the things I found most remarkable about this book is how the author related the parable to just something everyone may go through but always to himself. It was interesting to see how he saw himself as first the prodigal son who went out in search of fun and entertainment, to that of the elder son who stayed faithful yet was resentful, to trying to become that of the father welcoming with love. While I've just compacted the essences of each of the three from the parable, if I went on you would just be reading the book for yourself, I am hoping to lessen their stories and how one could relate to them at any stage in life. I'm just trying to paint a general picture.
I have thought of many things I would love to say about this book; most of them my own personal ruminations on what I have learned about myself while reading. But, as I tried to write down how The Return of the Prodigal Son has affected me personally, I found that I could not coherently put it into words for you guys. So, I am just going to try and share why I enjoyed this book and the author's writing.
Even though this book was originally written years and years ago by Henri Nouwen, there is just so much within it that would be apt for anyone looking to come closer to God and the reconciliation and love He so wants to share with us.
The way Henri Nouwen talks about the The Return of the Prodigal Son, in his book, and is journey to how it kicked started his journey to a deeper understanding of himself and his need for God's love; as well as my own feelings as I read his book, make me think this would be an excellent read for those who want to do a personal mini retreat. It's just one of those that might just take you on an unexpected journey that you, like me, didn't know you needed.
Final Verdict: The Return of the Prodigal Son- Extremely well written; made me feel almost as if I were on a mini retreat.
The Return of the Prodigal Son earns