All of us prodigal sons and daughters resist God's grace.
I cannot believe in the Eucharistic presence unless I believe I am prodigal. Insofar as I learn to believe this, God's loving presence can grow in me. I cannot start my return to the loving Father unless I am convinced I am a needy prodigal. However, to start the way back I need a trial of faith so that I realize in some small or big way that I am helpless. The situation will remind us of that critical moment when that famous prodigal son becomes a pig farmer.
Every one of us is prodigal. Human life is a continual departure from God. It needs to be a continual return to him. Even if I do not suffer pangs of conscience, the wound of original sin constantly makes itself felt. In my life there are always two directions — "from" and "to" the Father. That means conversion needs to be a regular event in my Christian life. "Conversion is never once and for all but is a process, an interior journey through the whole of life" (Pope Benedict XVI).
To believe in the Lord's presence on the altar means I need to remember I am prodigal. It is not easy because my constant self-satisfaction keeps telling me that although I am prodigal, I am already safely in the Father's arms. Yet the prodigal son had to leave before he returned into those arms.
He may not have been so far away that he couldn't be in touch at times. Maybe father and son were actually in close contact. They may even have embraced, but the unconscious attitude of the prodigal was always dormant within him until that great return.
Father Tadeusz Dajczer, "Prodigal Sons and Daughters." from The Mystery of Faith (Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2010).
Reprinted by permission of Paraclete Press. All rights reserved.
Fr. Tadeusz Dajczer (†2009) was ordained to the Priesthood in 1955 in Warsaw, Poland. He studied at The Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and established the Phenomenology of Religion department at the Academy of Catholic Theology in Warsaw. In the life of Fr. Dajczer, a decisive moment took place during his confession with St. Padre Pio. St. Padre Pio asked his penitent, with astonishment and great force, why he did not want to go toward God to the end. For Fr. Dajczer it was a shocking experience and at the same time, the beginning of a search for sanctity both for himself and for his penitents. He is the author of The Mystery of Faith: Meditations on the Eucharist, and The Gift of Faith, which has been translated into 26 languages. He is the co-founder of the Families of Nazareth Movement, which is currently present in 40 countries.Copyright © 2010 Paraclete Press
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