Purchase Links support Renovaré

Facebook Twitter

The Return of the Prodigal Son

A Story of Homecoming

by Henri J. M. Nouwen

A chance encounter with a repro­duc­tion of Rem­brandt’s The Return of the Prodi­gal Son cat­a­pult­ed Hen­ri Nouwen on a long spir­i­tu­al adven­ture. Here he shares the deeply per­son­al and res­o­nant med­i­ta­tion that led him to dis­cov­er the place with­in where God has cho­sen to dwell. Nouwen probes the sev­er­al move­ments of the para­ble: the younger son’s return, the father’s restora­tion of son­ship, the elder son’s venge­ful­ness, and the father’s com­pas­sion. The chal­lenge to love as the father and be loved as the son is seen as the ulti­mate rev­e­la­tion of the para­ble known to Chris­tians through­out time, and here rep­re­sent­ed with a vig­or and pow­er fresh for our times.



The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming is a spiritual adventure story. A chance encounter with a poster depicting a detail of Rembrandt's The Return of the Prodigal Son set in motion a chain of events that enabled Nouwen to redefine and claim his vocation late in his life. In this book, which interweaves elements of art history, memoir, Midrash, and self-help, Nouwen brings the parable to life with empathic analyses of each character. Nouwen's absorption in the story (and the painting) is so complete that the father's challenge to love the son, and the son's challenge to receive that love, become Nouwen's own. And Nouwen's writing is so clear and his tone is so appealingly frank and humble that readers--no matter how far from home--will find hope for themselves in the prodigal peace Nouwen ultimately achieves.
Michael Joseph Gross

About the Author