Beloved One

Fourth Week of Lent

Lord, as I sit here with you, quiet my heart and mind. In the stillness, stir in me a deeper sense of your love that invites me to come as I am with all that I bring. As we reflect together, may your unconditional welcome open my heart to you and may I rest there.

As we journey through Lent, we do so slowly, purposefully. May our senses be awakened as we mindfully walk towards the cross and then the empty tomb attuned to the Lord’s voice.What do we hear on the way when we encounter brokenness within ourselves and others in the gospel story? We pause to notice and to contemplate, to do as Walter Burghardt SJ writes, “to take a long, loving look at the real.” We take our time in order to genuinely see.  We do this mindful of God’s unconditional love for us. We look with honesty, not to beat ourselves up, but to seek forgiveness and wholeness. We listen for God’s invitation to us said with love. 

As you read the scripture below, you are invited to read it slowly and prayerfully. As you read notice who in this parable you are you drawn towards. How do they touch your own story? What is your need or longing as you read?

The Return of the Prodigal Son
Rembrandt c. 1661–1669

Luke 15:11-32

“Then Jesus said, “There was a man who had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the property that will belong to me.’ So he divided his property between them. A few days later the younger son gathered all he had and traveled to a distant country, and there he squandered his property in dissolute living. When he had spent everything, a severe famine took place throughout that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed the pigs. He would gladly have filled himself with the pods that the pigs were eating; and no one gave him anything. But when he came to himself he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired hands have bread enough and to spare, but here I am dying of hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired hands.”’ So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him.  Then the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly, bring out a robe—the best one—and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!’ And they began to celebrate.

 “Now his elder son was in the field; and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. He called one of the slaves and asked what was going on.  He replied, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has got him back safe and sound.’ Then he became angry and refused to go in. His father came out and began to plead with him. But he answered his father, ‘Listen! For all these years I have been working like a slave for you, and I have never disobeyed your command; yet you have never given me even a young goat so that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came back, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fatted calf for him!’ Then the father said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.’”

Prayer of Response
Loving Parent,
I am aware
You see me
and know me
as I am
with all that I struggle with
and all the ways I get it wrong
And yet
You see me
not as damaged goods
But as one you deeply love
You give me freedom
Even when it hurts me
Yet you don’t stop
for me
to enter your loving embrace
once again
to rest in your presence
as your beloved
son and daughter
to see myself
to live as
your beloved one
created in your image
I carry you within.
Thank you loving parent
Thank you.

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