At UST Law School, we have a common worship period at noon. In addition to daily Mass, a couple of times a week there are also other worship services. Yesterday I attended our Soma group’s worship gathering.
The student who ran the service included as part of the service a wonderful passage from Henri Nouwen’s Life of the Beloved, one of Nouwen’s works I had not before read.
Talking about the story of the Baptism of Jesus, during which Jesus heard a voice from heaven saying, “You are my Son, the Beloved…”, Nouwen writes that he grew in the “inner conviction that the words ‘You are my Beloved’ revealed the most intimate truth about all human beings.” Nouwen’s words for the person for whose benefit he is writing this book are words we all need to hear and take to heart.
My suggestion is to hear God speak Nouwen’s words to you:
[A]ll I want to say to you is “You are the Beloved,” and all I hope is that you can hear these words as spoken to you with all the tenderness and force that love can hold. My only desire is to make these words reverberate in every corner of your being – “You are the Beloved.”
This is the voice we must listen to – the voice that tells us we are the Beloved. We don’t always hear that voice, because we hear so many other voices that fill us with doubt. The temptation to listen to those voices – what Nouwen calls the trap of self-rejection” can be very strong. Yet, says Nouwen, “self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the ‘Beloved.’ Being the Beloved expresses the core truth of our existence.”
Can you hear God say those words to you? Can you believe them?