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The Prodigal Future of the Prodigal Son


Of its very nature, a conversion is an experience of divine mercy.


An exquisite gesture of divine regard has taken place toward the uniqueness of our soul.  A lasting wisdom awaits us if we ponder deeply the actual cost of divine mercy — the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth for our own sins.  The reception of God's forgiveness for sins, his mercy toward our soul, implies always a remembrance of this cost.  Our own sins took him to the crucifixion.  When we lose sight of this connection, we falter in our understanding of divine mercy, missing its enormous impact.

According to Saint Thomas Aquinas, mercy is the supreme attribute of God and, for that reason, must be honored and loved in all its truth.  We have received it as a gift.  But like any gift, it ought not to be diminished in value because it has been extended so freely to us.  Rather, it should provoke a deepening humility in our lives.  The prodigal son was certainly consumed with shame and regret when he made his decision to return to his father.  The real test of his conversion, however, lay still in his future.  His taste of mercy on his arrival home hopefully led to a prodigality of humble gratitude that never forgot the embrace of his father on that day.  Humility of soul will always remain strong in a soul that understands the mystery of mercy.



haggertyFr. Donald Haggerty. "The Prodigal Future of the Prodigal Son." Conversion: Spiritual Insights into an Essential Encounter with God (San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 2017).

Reprinted with permission from Ignatius Press.

The Author

haggerty1Fr. Donald Haggerty, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, is currently serving at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. He has been a Professor of Moral Theology at St. Joseph's Seminary in New York and Mount St. Mary's Seminary in Maryland and has a long association as a spiritual director for Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity. He is the author of Conversion: Spiritual Insights into an Essential Encounter with God, as well as Contemplative ProvocationsContemplative Enigmas: Insights and Aid on the Path to Deeper Prayer, and The Contemplative Hunger.

Copyright © 2017 Ignatius Press
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