The Prodigal Son may be one of the most well-known Gospel stories, not only among Christians, but the world in general. I can attest that this can arise in almost anyone’s life. I can’t explain why it has had such an influence in my life, only to say that it has!
I have often thought of the characters in this Gospel story and wondered which one best reflects my living situations. Was I the loving Father eager to take back the erring son; was I the older brother not willing to forgive the younger, wayward one? I can say that the character of the wayward son was looking me straight in the eye!
As I progressed through my spiritual walk, there were two characters left that were cause for continued reflection. During a Lenten season I came across a book by Henry Nouwen called The Prodigal Son. This was one of those books that touched my heart in many ways. I saw myself too often as the jealous older brother. The book led me to, what for me, was a special item from the parable. A father’s love is always there, waiting to welcome his children back to the fold.
More importantly is that as a person, a Friar and a Pastor, I need to be more forgiving in all areas of my life. Is it easy to do? Certainly not, but when someone shows the slightest move forward to improve relations, I should “become filled with compassion and run to meet them.” Like all things with the Lord, I need only to rely on Him for the grace to have a change of heart.
“I know now that true charity consists in bearing all of our neighbors’ defects—not being surprised at their weakness, but edified at their virtues.” – St. Therese of Lisieux
Fr. Andrew, T.O.R.