“'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.' But his father ordered his servants, 'Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Take the fattened calf and slaughter it. Then let us celebrate with a feast.” – Luke 15:21-23
The spiritual life is essentially a homecoming. It is a coming home to the deepest truth of ourselves as loved by God personally, deeply, irrevocably. That we belong to God. Whether we have wandered afar in search of life or love beyond our spiritual home in the boundless heart of God (like the younger son) or have been lost in fear without ever going away (like the older son), God’s unconditional love is offered freely and fully. As the father who rushes out of the house to embrace both the errant younger son and the resentful older son home to the banquet, God yearns for us to rejoice in our dignity as Beloved sons and daughters.
Such homecoming involves a most daunting task: allowing ourselves to be seen as we are, without self-condemnation. While we long for such transparency, we harbor secret thoughts, feelings, and fears. We often think, “If people really know what I think or feel, they would run away.” Those guarded secrets can lead us to self-rejection, depression, and even suicidal thoughts and actions. They are the loud voices within that clamor “what you have done is beyond God’s forgiving love” or “you need to be perfect to deserve such love.” They prevent us from the grateful recognition that we are pure gift and precious in God's eyes.
Our homecoming involves allowing the inner voice of love beyond self-rejection to take hold of us and gift us with the courage to live as God’s Beloved children.
"What keeps you from homecoming? What helps you to realize that you are precious in God's eyes?"
inspired by Henri Nouwen
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