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7 Secrets of Divine Mercy by Vinny Flynn

7 Secrets of Divine Mercy by Vinny Flynn

Author:Vinny Flynn [Flynn, Vinny]
Language: eng
Format: epub, mobi
Tags: Spiritual & Religion
ISBN: 9781681496887
Publisher: Ignatius Press
Published: 2015-12-15T05:00:00+00:00


SECRET 5

Prodigal Doesn’t Mean Bad

The very inner depths of My being

are filled to overflowing with mercy,

and it is being poured out upon all I have created.

Jesus to St. Faustina

As a kid, I had no clue what prodigal meant. All I knew was that the younger son in the famous Parable of the Prodigal Son (see Lk 15:11-32) was a real mess.

So, I just unconsciously associated the word with what I had learned about the younger son, and to me prodigal came to mean bad, rebellious, a real sinner.

Later on, I realized that the elder son was no bargain either. He was prodigal, too. And, much later, I finally realized that the story wasn’t really about either of those kids. It was about their father (who clearly represents God the Father). He was the one who was the most prodigal. To me, this story is, more than anything else, the Parable of the Prodigal Father.

So what does it really mean to be prodigal? It means to “squander” (derived from the Latin prodigere, prodigus, meaning “squander” or “lavish”). Used in a negative sense, it means to squander or waste money or resources, to be rashly and recklessly extravagant.

The Prodigal Son

Obviously, that seems a pretty accurate description of the younger son, who asks for his inheritance ahead of time and then leaves his father’s house and travels far from home. There he goes on a spending spree, having “a great time” as he wastes it all on loose living—only to suddenly discover that he’s not really having such a great time after all:

After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings and set off to a distant country where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation. When he had freely spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he found himself in dire need.

Lk 15:13-14, NABRE

In leaving his father’s house, he had lost all his money, all his possessions. But as Pope John Paul II writes in Rich in Mercy, he had also lost something of far greater value:

The inheritance that the son had received from his father was a quantity of material goods, but more important than these goods was his dignity as a son in his father’s house.

Rich in Mercy, #5

What the son gradually comes to, the Pope continues, is “the awareness of squandered sonship,. . . the sense of lost dignity. . . that dignity that springs from the relationship of the son with the father” (#5).

Realizing that even the pigs he’s caring for are eating better than he is, and that the servants in his father’s house possess the basic material goods that he no longer has, the boy decides to return to his father and ask to be treated as a servant.

To have to earn your living by working as a servant in your own father’s house would be a great humiliation, but, as Pope John Paul II points out, the son is willing to accept this because “he realizes that he no longer has any right except to be an employee in his father’s house” (#5).



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