Henri Nouwen ~ “Being the Beloved” sermon 1 of 8

Video commentary:

Three messages by Henri Nouwen
Being the Beloved is part 1, 2
Becoming the Beloved is part 3, 4, 5
Disciples of the Beloved is part 6, 7, 8

This is a short, powerful, simple yet life-transforming message that bears repeating because of its timeless and evergreen quality. We all need to be reminded that we are the beloved sons and daughters of God over and over again because we are living in a world system that often tends to reject us for who we are or make us feel less than who we are. I agree with Henri Nouwen that when we listen to the voice within our heart that we are the beloved of God and remain steadfast in our true identity, we will stand strong in any circumstance, whether people praise us or reject us.

“Over the years, I have come to realize that the greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity, or power, but self-rejection. Success, popularity, and power can indeed present a great temptation, but their seductive quality often comes from the way they are part of the much larger temptation to self-rejection. When we have come to believe in the voices that call us worthless and unlovable, then success, popularity, and power are easily perceived as attractive solutions. The real trap, however, is self-rejection. As soon as someone accuses me or criticizes me, as soon as I am rejected, left alone, or abandoned, I find myself thinking, “Well, that proves once again that I am a nobody.” … [My dark side says,] I am no good… I deserve to be pushed aside, forgotten, rejected, and abandoned. Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the “Beloved.” Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence.”
Henri J.M. Nouwen

I also like Henri Nouwen’s exposition of how Jesus overcame the temptations in the desert, when Jesus rejected all three lies of Satan (also known as the shadow self or ego). By refusing to turn stones into bread, Jesus did not fall for the religious lie of “I am what I do”. This is actually the law mindset, of “doing in order to become”. Grace is all about resting in who we really are – beloved children of God/Universe/Light. Secondly, by refusing to jump down from the highest point of the temple and win people’s accolades, Jesus did not fall for the religious lie of “I am what people say about me”, thereby refusing to accept people’s praises or approval (or their jeers or rejection). And thirdly, by refusing to bow down and worship Satan and get all the possessions of the world, Jesus did not fall for the religious lie of “I am what I have”, thereby not defining himself by his possessions. I thought Henri Nouwen sums up the whole story of Jesus overcoming temptations in the wilderness very well, as it is relevant to today’s context too.

I like the verse shared in the sermon “God has loved us with an everlasting love, and with lovingkindness he has drawn us”. Indeed, we belong to Divine Love, and only God’s love is unfailing and always fully satisfying.

“I am my Beloved’s, and his desire is towards me.” (Song of Songs)

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(¸.•´ (¸.•` ¤The universe is so expansive and you feel so small? Never doubt for a moment that you are significant. The world would never be the same without you. You matter ♥
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