Today I remember an author who shaped my spirituality in my mid-twenties. During that deepest darkness of despair–when you’ve lost hope–certain written voices bring you home. Henri Nouwen’s Return of the Prodigal Son will always stand as that book that led the way Home.
I pull the old book off the shelf and see the places I’ve underlined. It’s been over a decade. Back then, far from God and far from even myself, I read of Nouwen’s own search for both.
Nouwen describes a particular movement towards God in this way: “It is the movement from the glory that seduces one into an ever greater search for wealth and popularity to the glory that is hidden in the human soul and surpasses death.” He tells his reader that “[We] are called to enter into the inner sanctuary of [our] own beings where God has chosen to dwell. The only way to that place is prayer, unceasing prayer.” In that sanctuary, we encounter Jesus and–not surprisingly–the very self we’ve lost along the way.
It sometimes takes years to realize that wealth and popularity do not bring one Home. The more hidden and more sparse a thing is, the more glory it reveals. The counterfeit glory shines so brightly, but it cannot compare to the illumination within when I die to myself.
Do you have spiritual authors that help bring you home?