More About this Book

A Nouwen classic. Nouwen began writing this book in 1990 in response to his friend Fred Bratman’s suggestion that he write a book about spirituality for people in secularized society who were wondering “what is life all about after all.”  Nouwen writes in his prologue: “He was asking me to respond to the great spiritual hunger and thirst that exist in countless people who walk the streets of big cities.”  The result is a book written in the form of a letter to Fred and his friends about Nouwen’s signature insight that we are all the beloved children of God and that we can live our lives trusting in this truth of our identity.  Bratman found the book too religious for his secular vision of the world, but this book has touched thousands of readers and continues to be one of Nouwen’s best-selling books. 

Themes: Identity, Spiritual Life, Reality, God’s Presence, The Sacred, Secularity, Identity, Being the Beloved, Suffering, Self-rejection, Arrogance, Burn-out, ‘Digging’ for God, True inner freedom, Claiming the truth of who we are, Becoming, Second innocence, Second childhood, Movements of the Spirit of love, Taken, Blessed, Given, Gratitude, Spiritual disciplines, Blessing, Moodiness, Prayer, Silence, The ear of faith, The ear of the inner heart, Eknath Easwaren, Mantra, Cultivation of presence/Attentiveness to blessings, Adam, Blessing others, Brokenness, Suffering, Sexuality, AIDS crisis, Befriending brokenness, Real care, Living under the curse, Joy, Addictions, Nathan Ball, Interpersonal addiction, Dependency, Leonard Bernstein, Meals together, Giving oneself in life, Giving oneself in death, Talents and gifts, Handicapped people, L’Arche, Death and dying, Murray McDonnell, Pauline Vanier, St. Francis, Fruitfulness, Unified reality, Divisions and wholeness, Eternity

Crossroad, 1992


“All I want to say to you is “You are the Beloved,” and all I hope is that you can hear these words as spoken to you with all the tenderness and force that love can hold.  My only desire is to make these words reverberate in every corner of your being – “You are the Beloved”. (p.30)

“Although it remains true that everyone has to learn for himself or herself, I still belive that we can prevent those we love from making the mistakes we did.  In the terrain of the spiritual life, we need guides.  In the pages that I know want to write you, I would like to be your guide.  I hope you are still interested in walking along.”

More Reviews:

“Nouwen’s prose is refreshingly straightforward and jargon-free . . . For those unfamiliar with his work, this latest volume is a wonderful place to begin. For others who have benefited from Nouwen’s insights, Life of the Beloved will be welcomed as yet another significant achievement.” —Circuit Rider

“Gentle and searching. This Crossroad book is a spiritual primer for anyone seeking God.” —The Other Side

“A beautiful and sensitive book that reaches out to the believer.” —Church and Synagogue Library Association

Reviews for "Life of the Beloved"

"This feels like one of those “top 10” books of my life that I’ll return to over and over again. I know I’d recommend this book to anybody!"
"I loved this book for its simplicity & down-to-earthness. We're human: broken and imperfect, but God loves us and gives us each other to love."
"It's a reflection on what it means to be beloved by God. A gentle, honest, encouraging tone that comforts and challenges me in valuable ways."

Help share Nouwen’s spiritual vision

When you give to the Henri Nouwen Society, you join us in offering inspiration, comfort, and hope to people around the world. Thank you for your generosity and partnership!

Donate Today