My daughter just finished a very special trip with her grandparents. Ten days visiting Washington, D.C.; seeing godparents; enjoying some new clothes; but most of all enjoying a different vision of the world she lives in. She learned a great deal about where she comes from on my side of the family. My daughter lives a very virtuous life, and is a role model for me her Dad. Her selflessness for living God’s law is impressive. While she was gone though, her absence let me think about how God’s relationship with each of us in the story of the Prodigal Son. This story is always about the tale of the two sons, but it also gives us a deep insight into the love of God for each of us.
In the previous excursions of my children with grandparents I never had a child who was at the age to explore life away from the family. This time though, my daughter took a trek to the outstanding Christendom College in Front Royal, Virginia. There she met one possible destiny. She saw shelves and shelves of great books. She sat in classes where she had more of the Shakespeare memorization complete then the students (recent homework at Regina Caeli), and also experienced a class knowing she was not yet ready for it. When she was done she found a great college, and felt it could be a home away from home for her.
My young lady left, and seriously contemplated the next phase of her life. Thankfully for me, her description of why included the statement “They really try to live out our Catholic faith there dad.” In the story of the Prodigal son, however, the boy wanting to live in man’s world chooses to live by his own rules. He leaves the father, and the father knows he may never come home. This faithful father also realizes the son may also forfeit a home in heaven for his soul, and this fate would trouble the father even more than a failure to return to the family home.
When the father sees his son coming home repenting of his sins, he rejoices. He hugs and adorns his child with all he can. While the physical return home is good, the father knows a repentant son will be with him forever in the paradise of heaven. Since tradition teaches us the father is symbolizing God the Father, we know the human joy and love we see pales to the love God has for us.
So when my daughter returned I rejoiced in having my faithful and true daughter in my care once again. I also thought of the Father in the Prodigal Son. Here a son, who was dead to him, returned home. The son showed repentance, and demonstrated his embrace of the Lord’s ways. If my joy was immense, I could only imagine the joy and love God poured forth into the moment when sinners come home.
What an awesome God to believe in, and see reflected in natural law throughout history.
First sunrise shot in about ten years!
Back in June I was able to get up to the mountains of North Georgia. It was hot, but a good time to explore a little of more of the state. One opportunity I received was the gift of an early rising to meet the sun. Watching the earth go from black through its purples, reds, orange and full daylight was a simple pleasure. What a gift from God!!
If we believe the Bible, God’s Grace and Wisdom abound on this earth. We also know God pronounced humanity good at our creation. So what keeps us from finding these two tools needed to help us navigate the world in harmony with the Father’s will if our nature is inherently good? We all know it is the noise of the world preventing us from finding God in the silence of our own hearts and lives.
Noise comes in many forms. Lack of sleep, too much TV, too much Facebook, illness, threats to our livelihood and our families just to name a few. The challenge to quiet the noise requires solutions unique to our individual identities. For introverts prayer will come easy. For sanguine temperaments simply standing still long enough for grace and wisdom settle in your life may be the challenge of a lifetime. For melancholics not falling into despair when challenges smack your life may be the constantly renewed roadblock of a lifetime.
For each person there is a solution though. It just takes the time and dedication to find it. The examples of saintly and holy lives abound in history, and even in modern times. We just have to look for them. Then when found we have to take the next step and act to apply the lessons in our own lives.
In the quiet of quite a few vacation timed desert morning walks, I was able to quiet my mind enough to get to church on a weekday for mass and confession. It was wonderful. The grace and wisdom revealed saved me once again from wrongheaded paths. I know I will need to seek yet more grace and wisdom for many a coming storm, but it was reassuring as always a minor miracle appeared when needed.
I hope you find your path to points of grace and wisdom today as well.
If you ever get a chance to look at a list of the top ten toys history ever created…you will not find last year’s Christmas craze on them. You will instead find toy cars, soldiers, trains and digging supplies for boys. For girls I am sure you will find dolls, stuffies and all their accessories. I know there are exceptions out there, but the reality is you will not find many! This is what kids play with!
So here we have Uncle Micheal’s trucks out back one more time. At home we have the matchbox and airplane toys from both myself and my brother…and even my uncle (or my kids Great Uncle). These toy trucks and planes are universal hits. When built American tough, like a child, they will last generations.
It got me to wondering…if toys go from generation to generation why don’t we look closer at lessons from the past. I’m sure what God said 5,000 years ago or 2000 years ago really still has some staying power. It might help us in our present circumstances!