rembrandt-return-of-the-prodigal-son11“And he arose and came to his father. But while he was yet at a distance, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.” (Luke 15:20)

By Logan Amster

So often I have been told, advised, by my spiritual mentors that I must “return to the Father” in renewal of my life in faith. The parable of the lost sheep in Luke 15 so poignantly illustrates our relationship with our Lord. We the sheep, ignorantly wander from our loving Father, our guide and caretaker. But the Father waits patiently for us, constantly offering renewal. The Lenten season offers a perfect sense of this renewal. In the light of the Gospel of Luke, let us return to the Lord, as his loving children and his servants, humble before him.

The parable of the lost son shows us what joy awaits our return to the presence of the Lord. Jesus shows how God  receives those who return, giving themselves truly and humbly to Him. The father does not criticize his son’s weakness nor castigate him for his mistakes; he adorns him and feeds him lavishly, celebrating his return home. Likewise, we share in Christ’s divinity through this renewal, and are given a glimpse at the love that awaited Christ on the cross.

The importance of Lent cannot be forgotten, especially in this context. We must do penance before the Lord this season and return to Him. It is a time for all of us to come closer to the Lord through simple penance—penance that is not a mere demonstration of obedience, but a giving of the self to Him. We give of ourselves seeking only His presence in return. But living in the Lord requires proximity, familiarity. We must be close to Him in both practice and spirit, and Lent gives us time to pursue Him more deeply in an invigorating celebration of the bounty of Easter that awaits us.

I continue to encounter the same truth that underlines my life in Christ: disciplined self-giving is difficult. Remember again, Luke 15. Even the eldest son gave into temptation and weakness, a son who was clearly good and faithful. Even those of great discipleship and faith are challenged by their weakness.

The Lenten season, every single year, is a time of joyous pursuit of the Lord. May we return to Him and seek Him more closely, preparing our hearts for the joyous Resurrection of His Son that awaits us at Easter.

 

Logan Amster is a Vice President at Alighieri Press and serves as an author and speaker.