Lent Quotes: Henri Nouwen – How am I to let myself be found by Him?

Henri Nouwen’s The Return of the Prodigal Son is one of my all-time favorite devotional books.  The Episcopal blog Speaking to the Soul posted an excerpt on Feb. 26th.  It is a great perspective on Lent:  God is longing to bring us closer to Him this season.  Will we let Him draw us near and embrace us? (KB)

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For most of my life I have struggled to find God, to know God, to love God. I have tried hard to follow the guidelines of the spiritual life—pray always, work for others, read the Scriptures—and to avoid the many temptations to dissipate myself. I have failed many times but always tried again, even when I was close to despair.

Now I wonder whether I have sufficiently realized that during all this time God has been trying to find me, to know me, and to love me. The question is not “How am I to find God?” but “How am I to let myself be found by him?” The question is not “How am I to know God?” but “How am I to let myself be known by God?” And, finally, the question is not “How am I to love God?” but “How am I to let myself be loved by God?” God is looking into the distance for me, trying to find me, and longing to bring me home.

From The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming by Henri J. M. Nouwen (New York: Image Books, 1992).

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3 Responses to Lent Quotes: Henri Nouwen – How am I to let myself be found by Him?

  1. Tom Sargeant says:

    Henry said the question is not how am I to love God but isn’t the greatest commandment for us to love God more than anyone or anything else?

  2. Hi Tom, indeed! Jesus’ words must obviously be given greater weight than Henri Nouwen’s. (smile). However, I think Nouwen was on to an important truth. If we think of love for God only as duty, our love may be very weak. But if our love is given in response to receiving God’s love, the overflow of a full heart, our love for God is likely to be much deeper, more genuine and long-lasting.

    I’m reminder of 1 John 4:10: We love because He first loved us. All true love, including our love for God, is the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives – not something we can manufacture in our own strength or effort. So, a heart open to receiving the love of God is a heart that will love God more truly.

    – Karen B.

  3. one says:

    I couldn’t refraіn from commenting. Well written!

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