Being the Beloved
To summarize the first part of this module, let us listen to Henri Nouwen himself as he talks about the divided and conflicted ways in which we attempt to define ourselves. But in the end, he also gives us hope for an alternative way of living which can leads us closer to being in touch with our true selves. In Christian parlance, this is what we call being the beloved of God.
- The core of that faith belongs to my conviction that you and I and are the beloved daughters and sons of God.
- One of the enormous spiritual tasks we have is to claim that and to live a life based on that knowledge.
- Most of us fail constantly to claim the truth of who we are.
- The question for you and me: who are we? That’s the question that keeps us going; for our whole lives, we try to answer that question: “Who am I?”
- The first answer we live with: “I am what I do”
- Second answer: “I am what other people say about me”
- Third answer: “I am what i have”
- When you live this kind of life, with all these ups and downs, the end is death. When you are dead, you’re dead.
- Nobody talks about you anymore. You don’t have anything anymore. You can’t do anything anymore.
- You lose it all and that little life of you and of mine ends up into nothing.
- ^ This whole thing is wrong. That is not who you are, and that is not who I am.
- Jesus says that’s a lie. That’s the greatest lie that makes you and me enter into relationships of violence and destruction. Because I know who I am.
- Jesus heard that voice: “You are my beloved. You are my favorite.” and it was that voice that he clung to as he lived his life.
- Jesus held on to the truth: whatever happens, I am the beloved of God and that is who I am. And that allows me to live in a world that keeps rejecting me, or praising me, or laughing at me, or spitting on me.
- We too can cling to this truth. I am the beloved not because people say i’m great, but because I am the beloved even before I was born.
- When you accept this, your life will become more and more the lifeof the beloved because that’s who you are
- You start discovering that all that you do here is nurtured from the knowledge that you are the beloved. That’s who you are.
- When you start believing this, that circle of knowledge will go become bigger and bigger and bigger until it cuts right into your daily life.
- You will still have rejections. You will still have praise. And you will still have losses. But you live no longer as a person searching for his/her identity, but you will live it as the beloved.
- You will love your pain and you will live your anguish and you will live your successes and you will live your failures as the one who knows who you are.
- The voice that calls you the beloved is the voice of the first love.
- John writes: love one another because God has loved you first
- The great struggle is to claim that first love.
- Hard truth: The people who love us do not always love us well.
- How can we live this truth: that in this world, love and wounds are never separated?
- We can only live it when we always reclaim that first love. So that we can forgive those who love us poorly, but also so that we can recognize in the love that we do receive a hint or a glimpse of that first love.
- If I can hold on to that (this first love) and live in the world, then I can be free to love other people without expecting them to give me all that my heartfelt desires, because God has created you and me with a heart that only God’s love can satisfy.
- If we are willing to let the pain not make us bitter, but prune us to give us a deeper sense of our belovedness, then we can be free as Jesus and walk on this world and proclaim God’s first love wherever we go.
We tend to answer the question Who Am I? in 3 ways:
- What I do (Role)
- What people say I am (Reputation)
- What I have (Riches)