Recap: The Life of the Beloved
Jesus’ newly affirmed identity as The Beloved was tested after his baptism in water and the Spirit. The three desert temptations in Matthew 4:1-11 are common to all people, but Jesus overcame them – our model to defeat evil. As Jesus later set his face to Jerusalem to die, the Father ‘broke the sound barrier’ for a second time (on Mount Tabor) saying, “This is my Son, my Beloved, in whom I am well pleased, listen to him” (Matthew 17:5). This confirmed the Life of the Beloved (as Henri Nowen writes in his book by that title), that Jesus’ life – and ours as his Beloved – is Taken, Blessed, Broken and Given.
Practically, how then do we actually become God’s Beloved?
Henri Nouwen’s key point is that we must listen to the voice that whispers deep inside us, the voice of the Father that proclaims and affirms our Belovedness. We hear so many voices inside and outside of ourselves that continually say, “You are no good, you are ugly, you are fat, you are worthless, you are nobody…” These negative destructive voices reinforce our poor self-image and our self-rejection. To overcome these voices we must continually hear and believe the Father’s voice that says to us (quote from Nouwen, page 30-31):-
“I have called you by name, from the very beginning. You are mind and I am yours. You are my Beloved, on you may favor rests. I have molded you in the depths of the earth and knitted you together in your mother’s womb. I have carved you in the palms of my hand and hidden you in the shadow of my embrace. I look at you with infinite tenderness and care for you with a care more intimate that that of a mother for her child. I have counted every hair on your head and guided you at every step. Wherever you go, I go with you, and wherever your rest, I keep watch. I will give you food that will satisfy all your hunger and drink that will quench all your thirst. I will not hide my face from you. You know me as your own as I know you as my own. You belong to me. I am your father, your mother, your brother, your sister, your lover and your spouse… yes, even your child… wherever you are I will be. Nothing will ever separate us. We are one.” Continue reading Becoming the Beloved