Last week we left off with the younger son, the rebellious one, back safe and secure, in the home of his prodigal Father. His dream for you and I, is to live a life that is grounded in the reality of His love. A love, that to the calculating eye, makes no sense. (Thank God, our God is like that.) This son has returned, not as hired hand, as he wanted to be, he has come back to his inheritance, as son. He did not earn it, actually, far from it. He did not deserve it, he was just given it. There is a little battle here. The son wanted to be as, "one of the hired hands",. Hired hands come and go, a son, has to remain. He has also the responsibility of growing up to be, a father. To be a responsible father to himself, and to future generations. What a wonder- full example that son had to model his fatherhood on. This goes for women as well. Women have to be responsible mothers to themselves ,first, then becoming healthy mothers, of the coming generations. All of what has been just written demands, a great deal of hard work. Giving birth to who we really are, is never easy. This birthing cannot happen, without grace. It is grace that calls us to this new reality. A reality that emerges from a place , and at a time we least expect. This birthing is a NEVER ending process.
So, the party is going on. A celebration, that is going on to celebrate the return of the son, safe and sound. A celebration, the father said "has to happen". He had no choice but to celebrate. Because of this, there is one very unhappy camper-the eldest son. Brother of the rebellious one. Up until now he has been the hardworking, obedient one. That is up to now. Now when he sees what has happened, he goes ballistic on the father. He is so caught up in his anger and resentment he does not address him as father. He does not recognize
his relationship with his brother. He calls him "that son of yours". The father must have been taken aback by the appearance of this aspect of this son, who up to now, appeared so respectful. He now appears to be full of anger and resentment. He will not go into the party. His resentment is preventing him from joining the celebration. How sad that picture is. The standoff between the father who is celebrating, and the son standing there, seemingly unmoved by what has transpired. There we have the confrontation, between thanksgiving, gratitude, and resentment. The battle that rages in your soul, and mine. These two realities cannot coexist. They are mutually exclusive. We have to make the decision, are we going with the desire to be the prodigal mother/ father, or are we going to live out our lives in resentment. We have the choice of showing compassion to the rebellious, just like the father, or turn our backs and live our lives in isolation.
John'O Donohue has written the following, in his great classic 'ANAM CARA",
"To the resentful eye, everything is begrudged. People who allowed the canker of resentment into their vision can never enjoy who they are or what they have. They are always looking outward others with resentment. Perhaps they are resentful because they see others as more beautiful, more gifted, or richer than themselves. The resentful eye lives out of its own inner poverty and forgets its own inner harvest."
In order to enter the great celebration of, death and resurrection, let us bring both the rebellious, and the resentful parts of us to the reconciling love of our Prodigal Father. We die a little each time we acknowledge the fact this reconciliation is not the result of anything we can do. The reconciliation will come in God's time not in our time, nor unfortunately, according to our schedule. We will have to spend way more time with our rebellious and resentful selves that we really ever wanted to. (At least that is my experience.) This dying is a Paschal Death, bringing with it new life. With this new life comes the experience of a new freedom. A new vitality has entered our lives.
Again O'DONOHUE writes,
"When you awaken to your incredible freedom, the walls of your inner prisons gradually become the thresholds of your new life, your place of new growth".
This new life of real freedom, is God's Ashling, God's dream for you and I. His dream for you and I, is a live to be loved in His reality. "In Him we are to live and move and have our being”. Let us then entrust ourselves, without reservation, to the loving, compassionate embrace of our Prodigal Father. It is real scary to say "not my will, but your will be done". He will take us at our word.
Through the desert of our weakness, and our brokenness, we will be guided ever so gently, to that Promised land were all things, are being made new. In this new, and unfamiliar land we are in the process of becoming, one. We are in the process of becoming, whole. We are in the process of becoming, holy. Yes, it is a painful process. Yes, we enter this experience of dying and rising again and again (Lent is every year). Each time we experience the abandonment at an ever deepening level. We will cry out from a different place , "my God, my God why have toy abandoned me". We enter the fullness of our participation in the dying and rising slowly. We have to gradually prepare for the ongoing immersion into the Paschal Mystery. We must also be prepared for a deepening of the celebration, and all that comes with that. The peace, joy, and love that is beyond our expectation, and our ability to understand. There is a radical
transformation, and transfiguration taking place in us. What that is, is none of our business. Ours is to enjoy, to celebrate, and so fulfill Our God's fondest dream for you and I. We are to be the ongoing, living, breathing, contemporary reality of His BELOVED son, Jesus, who is the Christ.