Henri Nouwen believed in praying with his eyes open by gazing at icons, an act that touches at the core of Eastern Orthodox spirituality. “Icons,” he says, “are created for the sole purpose of offering access, through the gate of the visible, to the mystery of the invisible. Icons are painted to lead us into the inner room of prayer and bring us close to the heart of God.” In Behold the Beauty of the Lord, Nouwen’s meditations on four Russian icons invite readers to view all icons as holy places, not as decorations. He urges readers to enter these holy places, making them their own, and to ultimately see for themselves the beauty of the Lord.
Henri J.M. Nouwen is one of the most popular spiritual writers of our time. He wrote more than forty books. He taught at Yale University, Harvard University, and the University of Notre Dame. From 1986 until his death in 1996, he taught and ministered to physically and mentally challenged men and women as a member of the L’Arche Daybreak community in Toronto, Canada.