Taken, Blessed, Broken, Shared

Monday 22nd December, 2015

Life of the Beloved, Henri Nouwen


To become the Beloved we, first of all, have to claim that we are taken. That might sound very strange at first, and, still, to be taken is essential in becoming the Beloved. As I have mentioned already, we can desire to become the Beloved only when we know that we already are the Beloved. Therefore, the first step in the spiritual life is to acknowledge with our whole being that we already have been taken. It might help at this point if, instead of “take,” which is a somewhat cold and brittle word, we used a warmer, softer word with the same meaning: the word “choose.” As children of God, we are God’s chosen ones.

When I know that I am chosen, I know that I have been seen as a special person. someone has noticed me in my uniqueness and has expressed a desire to know me, to come closer to me, to love me. When I write to you that, as the Beloved, we are God’s chosen ones, I mean that we have been seen by God from all eternity and seen as unique, special, precious beings. It is very hard for me to express well the depth of meaning the word “chosen” has for me, but I hope you are willing to listen to me from within. From all eternity, long before you were born and became a part of history, you existed in God’s heart. Long before your parents admired you or your friends acknowledged your gifts or your teachers, colleagues and employers encouraged you, you were already “chosen.” The eyes of love had seen you as precious, as of infinite beauty, as of etemal value. When love chooses, it chooses with a perfect sensitivity for the unique beauty of the chosen one, and it chooses without making anyone else feel excluded. We touch here a great spiritual mystery: to be chosen does not mean that others are rejected. It is very hard to conceive of this in a competitive world such as ours. All my memories of being chosen are linked to memories of others not being chosen.

But I beg you, do not surrender the word “chosen” to the world. Dare to claim it as your own, even when it is constantly misunderstood. You must hold on to tthe truth that you are the chosen one. That truth is the bedrock on which you can build a life as the Beloved. When you lose touch with your chosenness, you expose yourself to the temptation of self-rejections, and that temptation undemmines the possibility of ever growing as the Beloved.