Then He said, “A man had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of estate that falls to me.’ So he divided his wealth between them. And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living.”
I am the prodigal son every time I search for unconditional love where it cannot be found. Why do I keep ignoring the place of true love and persist in looking for it elsewhere? Why do I keep leaving home where I am called a child of God, the Beloved of my Father?
God has never pulled back His arms, never withheld His blessing, never stopped considering his son the Beloved One. But the Father couldn’t compel his son to stay home. He couldn’t force his love on the Beloved. He had to let him go in freedom, even though he knew the pain it would cause both his son and himself. It was love itself that prevented him from keeping his son home at all cost. It was love itself that allowed him to let his son find his own life, even with the risk of losing it.
Here the mystery of life is unveiled. I am loved so much that I am left free to leave home. The blessing is there from the beginning. I have left it and keep on leaving it. But the Father is always looking for me with outstretched arms to receive me back and welcome me home.
-Henri J.M. Nouwen
The Return of the Prodigal Son