Lectio Divina – 8
Fr Martin Kallungal
Reading “Then he came to his senses and said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have all the food they want and more, and here am I dying of hunger! I will leave this place and go to my father and say: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired men.” So he left the place and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity. He ran to the boy, clasped him in his arms and kissed him. Then his son said, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son’” (Lk. 15:17-21).
Reflection This passage is from the parable of the prodigal son. For a certain period in his life-time the prodigal son was not in his senses. He had everything in his father’s house; but, he left his father senselessly and sought for earthly pleasures which he soon found to be sickening and momentary. Soon hecomes to his senses and realizes his folly and the consequent fall from his lovely home into an ugly pig farm. He, then, decides to do three things: that he will leave his current location, that he will go back to his father, and that he will confess that he has sinned against the heaven above and his father down here on earth. The most important thing to be noted here is that the prodigal son did what he told within himself that he would. The prodigal son teaches us that mere penitential self-talk and any amount of rational comprehensive decision-making will do any good. A repentant sinner must rise up, move from the socio-psychological location of one’s sins, and confess not necessarily the particular sins but that his/her soul is diminished of the heavenly gifts of the Spirit. It is by humbling oneself that a sinner receives elevating grace.
Prayer O’ my heavenly Father, I have left our lovely home and ended up in his sad situation. And, still worse, I had been a very boastful sinner until I heard your living word today which opened the eyes and ears of my filthy heart. Father, I am no longer worthy to be called your son; at best, I could be one of your hired servants or slaves. Through baptism you made me your son, and through the theological virtues you graciously infused into my soul you made me your friend in Jesus Christ. But due to many sins I lost my sonship and your friendship. Father, finally, I am coming back home. Protect me in your embrace and cleanse me with your kiss.
Contemplation The one who saw you weeping within you and the one who heard your heart murmuring “enough…return” is coming to you. Listen to his silent speed steps. He is running to you so that you don’t delay in reaching home. Oh! He has found me and I find peace after a long time. I feel the warmth of His hands around my neck and the tenderness of his lips on my forehead. A heavenly fragrance envelops me. I can hear his gentle voice from deep inside me: “Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest.”
Action I will begin a new life by rising up and leaving situations of sins. I will go to the Church and make my confession. Although I have lost everything, I will confidently pray to my Father for mercy. Once again, I will start doing what Jesus has commanded so that I will cease to be a hired servant and become his friend one day.