SATURDAY II LENT: You carried this rebel on your shoulders, warmed him against your heart, washed his wounds.
I shall get up and go to my father… (Lk. 15:18)
You are my special benefactor and applied your merits in an altogether special way to me; my generous friend, you forgot all my acts of ingratitude to help me as powerfully as if I had been always faithful to you; my tender father, who carried this rebel on your shoulders, warmed him against your heart, washed his wounds.
Eugene de Mazenod’s experience of being the prodigal son (EO XIV n. 95
O most tender and most loving of all Fathers! You are willing to receive this prodigal child, to change my affliction into joy, and misery into happiness. Who can sufficiently admire such an excess of goodness! I detest from my soul my past disorders…Sincerely do I desire to return to you my Father: all my thoughts, affections, desires, and actions, shall serve this day as so many steps towards my return to you.
(The Catholic prayer book and manual of meditations)
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Sometimes we might just have to admit to a deep struggle taking place within ourselves. Sometimes a particular phrase or word might derail the best of our intentions and hopes and it would seem easier to turn away and give up than to admit defeat.
I hold the image that Eugene shares of a tender father who carries Eugene (a rebel) on his shoulders, much as the shepherd who finds the lost sheep carries it back to the flock on his shoulder, protecting it from the elements and washing its wounds.
Today, all that I can seem to admit to is an internal struggle and to ask the Beloved to carry me, allowing him to witness my weakness and love me. I think of the small drawing of child holding out her heart to Jesus and saying it is all that she has and being told that is all that Jesus wants.
It is hard to offer my weakness and sin, my brokenness…