Item 1782 - Choosing joy

Identity area

Reference code

CA ON00389 1-9-1-1782

Title

Choosing joy

Date(s)

  • November 1992 (Creation)

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Item

Extent and medium

3 p. of textual records

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(1932-1996)

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This item is a 3 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled, ‘Choosing Joy’ published in ‘New Covenant’, November 1992, pp. 7 -9. This item is identified as an excerpt from Nouwen’s ‘The Return of the Prodigal Son’. Nouwen begins by stating ‘I am not used to the image of God throwing a big party’. Nouwen goes on to write of the various instances in scripture in which Jesus speaks about banquets of celebration. ‘Celebration belongs to God’s kingdom. God not only offers forgiveness, reconciliation and healing, but wants to lift up these gifts as a source of joy for all who witness them’. Nouwen goes on to write of Rembrandt’s painting of the Prodigal and his reflections on it, finding himself in the returning son, the older son and finally, the father. ‘God rejoices. Not because the problems of the world have been solved, not because all human pain and suffering have come to an end…no, God rejoices because one of his children who was lost has been found’. Nouwen describes his difficulty in being able to rejoice in small things, scarcely noticed things. ‘The father of the prodigal son gives himself totally to the joy that his returning son brings him. I have to learn from that. I have to learn to “steal” all the real joy there is to steal and lift it up for others to see’. Nouwen goes on to examine the ‘radical difference’ between cynicism and joy. ‘Every moment of each day I have the chance to choose between cynicism and joy’. Nouwen ends by remembering that the younger son must grow in maturity and that he, Nouwen, and we are called not just to recognize ourselves in the two sons, but to become the father.

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Note

Published in New Covenant 22, no. 4 (November 1992): 7-9.
This item is an excerpt from, Nouwen, Henri: The Return of the Prodigal Son, Doubleday, N.Y., 1992.
There is a half-page black & white reproduction of Rembrandt's painting on the first page and a full-colour reproduction on the cover.

Alternative identifier(s)

Accession Number

2000 02

Location

Box 298

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