The Season of Finding Our Way Home…again!
Dear Brothers and Partners,
Welcome to the frozen, still life of February! Its starkness makes it a great month to host the start of Lent – Welcome to the great retreat season of our church year!
In these forty days we are invited to reflect on the gift of God’s unconditional love for us and to give some thought to how we are measuring up as disciples, as brothers and sisters, and as fathers and mothers to all of those who have a claim on our mercy and compassion. In these days we are invited to hear again that Voice we know, calling us back home to our deepest ties and to those convictions we hold most sacred – even sometimes at great cost.
While the theological and spiritual writings of this season are rich and abundant, I am drawn over and again to the simple but powerful message of The Prodigal Son (Luke 15: 11-32): the immensity and extravagance of God’s mercy and love for us. Of all the parables this is perhaps the one we know best and are most drawn into with its gritty detail and emotion. It is the story par excellence of homecoming, unmerited forgiveness, reconciliation and great tenderness. In it Jesus reveals the heart of God and the way of the Kingdom to which He gives flesh!
Most of us can easily see ourselves in the prodigal son. We have all journeyed that road! His motives in returning to his father’s house are hardly pure, but that is of no interest to his father who simply takes delight in seeing “his son who was lost” find his way home.
However, the journey of the son ends with the father. And it is with the father we are called to identify as mature disciples, prodigals ever. We are, nonetheless, called to move from son-ship to fatherhood. As Henri Nouwen beautifully states in his book, The Return of the Prodigal Son, “becoming the repentant son is only a step on the way to becoming the welcoming father.”
God rejoices when one lost child finds the way home! In these forty days may we draw close to Jesus as we journey toward our spiritual motherhood and fatherhood. May we become with Jesus the very heart and soul of God’s mercy and love for those who are lost or who struggle to find their way home – paying special attention, as Lasallians, to those young people “who are poor and far from salvation”. Let us warm their hearts with our unconditional delight and embrace.
Live Jesus in our hearts!
Brother Dennis Malloy, FSC