Home Tonight: Further Reflections on the Parable of the Prodigal Son
A Guide to Finding Your Spiritual Home
By Henri J.M. Nouwen
Before I get into the actual review of the contents of Henri Nouwens latest book, I want to comment a bit on the structure and history of this book. As I have mentioned earlier Henri Nouwen is no longer with us, unfortunately he passed on September 21, 1996. This work was compiled by his good friend and literary executrix, Sr. Sue Mosteller, C.S.J…
When I first choose this book to review, I thought to myself, am I going to have to re-read his original book, “The Return of the Prodigal Son”, it had been years since I had read it. I was glad to see that this book stands on its own, and isn’t part two of his previous work.
It’s a short read, only 131 pages, broken up into three parts and just nine chapters. As I began to read, the first thing that hit me was that on almost every page of the book was an insert box that contained quotations from Saints, and excerpts from other books, including from himself and other authors. The inserts were always very interesting, and most of the time very relevant with what Henri was trying to say, but I found that as I got more and more interested in the book, and what Henri was getting at, the inserts were a great distraction, and a terrible interruption of Henri’s thoughts.
The format of the chapters lends itself as a great tool for a group to use for a book club and later discussion. Each chapter ends with a “listening” exercise, a “journaling” exercise, and finally a “communing” exercise. The listening exercise gives you the opportunity to take some time, get very quiet, and listen to “your” inner voice, and reflect on what you had just read. The journaling exercise is just that, after listening, you take some time to journal, and record your inner thoughts. The last exercise is the most important in the process, the communing. This is where you take some time, go to your quiet place, listen and commune with God. Listen to what God is telling you, speak to God. As Henri puts it, “Heart speaks to Heart”. Every chapter ends with a practical exercise, what Henri calls “A Wisdom Practice for Those on a Spiritual Journey”.
Next time we will begin discussing chapter one, and we will see what journey Henri has in mind for us.