How to Stop Being the Prodigal Son


Palma_il_Giovane_-_Return_of_the_Prodigal_Son_-_WGA16916Today’s Gospel from Luke is one many know and love; the parable of the prodigal son. This is a great reading to meditate and reflect on during Lent. I’m not going to ask you if you’ve ever been the prodigal son or daughter. I’m going to ask you this:

How many times have you been the prodigal son or daughter?

Every time we sin we distance ourselves from the Father. It is then our choice to keep the sin or bring it to our Father in Heaven. During Lent it can be a very good time for us to reflect on the certain areas in our lives we need to work on.

  • Do I spend more time on my phone, computer or TV then spending time with God?
  • Do I generously give to others when I have more than what I need?
  • Do I indulge myself with things that bring me farther away from God instead of closer to Him?
  • Do I shy away from the truth when I should fearlessly stand up for it?

These are just a few of the many things that can harm our souls and make us become the prodigal son/daughter. Thinking about these things can be a good examination of Conscience (CCC 1435-1498). It is a good thing to be able to root out our sins. When we do so, we can better prepare to fight the temptation of a particular sin the next time. We should never be afraid. Jesus’ mercy is always there, ready to wipe away all our offenses and imperfections. St. Therese of Lisieux left us with some very beautiful words on the mercy of Our Father:

“I know how much He cherishes the prodigal child who returns to Him. You may truly say that if I had committed all possible crimes, I would still have the same confidence; I would feel that this multitude of offenses would be like a drop of water thrown into a flaming furnace.”

Our sins are like a drop of water thrown into a flaming furnace. When I hear that it gives me such an accurate description of Jesus’ mercy for His very unworthy daughter. His love for me far surpasses my imperfections. When I feel ashamed about being the prodigal daughter I can also look back to the gospel when Jesus said, “When his father caught sight of him he was filled with compassion. He ran to his son and embraced him and kissed him. For his son had been lost and now he was found.”

How beautiful it is to think how the Lord embraces us when he sees us returning to Him even after we have hurt him repeatedly. Nothing you do will ever be unforgiveable in our Heavenly Father’s eyes.

Have you been the prodigal son or daughter lately? Return to Him in the sacrament of Penance this Lent and your sins will be vanished like a drop of water in a blazing furnace.


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