Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Spirituality: "The Name of God is Mercy" By Pope Francis

We need to think – with our heart and our mind – of the parable of the Prodigal Son. The younger of two brothers, who squandered his part of his inheritance by living a dissolute life, was forced to be a swineherd in order to survive. When he realized his mistake, he returned to his father’s home to ask if he could, at the very least, live among the servants. His father was waiting for him, he had been staring out at the horizon waiting for his son’s return, and he approached his son even before even before the man could say anything; before he even confessed his sins, the man’s father hugged him. This is the love of God. This is his overabundant mercy.

There is one thing to meditate on – the attitude of the older son, the one who had stayed home and worked with the father, the one who was always well behaved. When he speaks, he is really the only one to day something truthful: “Look, all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends. But when your son returns who swallowed up your property with prostitutes, for him you slaughter the fatted calf” (Luke 15:29-30). He speaks the truth, but at the same time he disqualifies himself ….

The older son was allowed to say what was true even if he didn’t understand the situation, and that was because as soon as the younger brother started blaming himself, he didn’t have time to speak: he was interrupted by his father, who embraced him … [This shows that] God is a careful and attentive father, ready to welcome any person who takes a step or even expresses the desire to take a step that leads home. He is there, staring out at the horizon, expecting us, waiting for us … In commenting on this parable, Albino Luciani (the future Pope John Paul I) said of the Father: “He waits. Always! And it is never too late. That’s what he’s like, that’s how he is. He’s a father. A father waiting at the doorway, who sees us when we are still far off, who is moved, and who comes running toward us, embraces us, and kisses us tenderly …”

Source: Pope Francis, The Name of God is Mercy, pp. 44-45; 50-52.