God's Beloved: A Spiritual Biography of Henri Nouwen

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9781570755613: God's Beloved: A Spiritual Biography of Henri Nouwen
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Reveals a deeper understanding of one of the world's most beloved spiritual teachers.

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About the Author:

Michael O'Laughlin served as Nouwen's teaching assistant at Harvard Divinity School. He is the editor of Nouwen's award-winning Jesus: A Gospel, and the author of God's Beloved: A Spiritual Biography of Henri Nouwen. He is a spiritual director at the Healing Center in Arlington, Massachusetts.

From Publishers Weekly:

More than most writers, the Catholic priest Henri Nouwen earned the adjective "beloved" with his penetratingly honest meditations on the Christian life. In this book, Nouwen's Harvard teaching assistant seeks not just to celebrate his friend but also to understand the roots of his spiritual journey. O'Laughlin has a keen sense of Nouwen's uniqueness: "Henri was not living out, nor was he presenting to the world, a universally applicable spiritual program, perhaps because there is no 'universally applicable' spiritual program." He sketches Nouwen's biography, including his childhood in the Netherlands, his frustrating experiences teaching at Yale and Harvard and his final years caring for disabled adults at a religious community in Canada. But the book is less concerned with chronology than sorting out the distinctive gifts that Nouwen brought to his friends and readers. O'Laughlin draws—with somewhat uncritical enthusiasm—on psychological terminology to explore Nouwen's temperament, and he is helpful in placing Nouwen within the context of 20th-century Catholicism, noting that Nouwen embodied much of Vatican II's theology in his ecumenical ministry. The sometime professor of spirituality was neither an academic (he failed twice to qualify for a doctoral degree) nor a mystic. But for O'Laughlin, he "perfectly combined divine inspiration and colorful, crazy humanity." This is a sympathetic account of a life lived in search of divine love.
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