We Must Respond to the Father’s Love

December 11, 2014

There is a final aspect in the Prodigal Son’s grand return home that is often disregarded, but herein lies the key point. We are told that the son longed for his father, but it is clear that the father longed much more for his son. Indeed, the father watched from afar for news of his son and ran out to meet him.

Return of the Prodigal Son by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo

Return of the Prodigal Son by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo

Thus, in our longing for that Christian order, which is our Father’s house, we must also consider the longings of God, Our Father, and respond to His love. Alas, such sentiments of disinterested goodness are so foreign in our age that only promotes self-interest and advantage! We must include them in our plan.

An Ivory image of Our Lady and the Child Jesus.

An Ivory image of Our Lady and the Child Jesus.

We must be convinced that God desires our grand return home much more than we do. He watches from afar for the least sign of our cooperation to the graces that He so gratuitously bestows upon us. And when He finds effort on our part, He is not outdone in His generosity. He goes out to meet us and treats us as if we had never erred. He kills the fatted calf and orders a great celebration. Our return home becomes grand because of the Father to whom we return, not because of our own merits or efforts.

Our LadyTo the manly solicitude of a father, we must add the maternal affection of a mother who also intensely desires our good. It is not without reason that Christian civilization had as its cultural soul the devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. To her were directed the towering vaults of medieval cathedrals, the sublime Gregorian chant of monks, and even the best fruits of economic production. Around her we find united saint and sinner, rich and poor, old and young, learned and ignorant. To paraphrase the words of Saint Bernard, all “fled to her protection, implored her help and sought her intercession.” Her overwhelming desire to help “left none unaided.”

cathedral

Throughout these considerations of a socio-economic nature, we have made reference to the need to cooperate with the grace of God by being sensitive to His loving providence, by responding to His calling, or by prophetically discerning His designs. Here, we affirm the need for a holy and sacred alliance with God and recourse to Our Lady.

 

John Horvat II, Return to Order: From a Frenzied Economy to an Organic Christian Society—Where We’ve Been, How We Got Here, and Where We Need To Go (York, Penn.: York Press, 2013), 347-8.

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