March 8th to 14th: The Elder Son

Readings:
Rembrandt and the Elder Son
The Elder Son Leaves
The Elder Son’s Return

Welcome! Before us is another week of rich exploration through which Henri takes us to a new understanding of ourselves as the Elder son, and leads us once again to lay our hearts before God.

1) Henri writes that both the younger son and the elder son needed healing and forgiveness and to return home to the father’s love.  “…it is clear that the hardest conversion to go through is the conversion of the one who stayed home.” (p 66)
a) Have you ever been lost while at still home?
b) Now that we have read about both the Younger and the Elder son, do you agree with Henri that the the hardest conversion to go through is the conversion of the one who stayed home? Have you experienced this in your life?

2) “Complaining is self-perpetuating and counterproductive… Once the self-rejecting complaint has formed in us, we lose our spontaneity to the extent that even joy can no longer evoke joy in us… joy and resentment cannot coexist…” (p 68)
a) Henri links our complaining with the self-rejection.  Have you experienced this?
b) How did you turn from self-rejecting resentment and complaining to acceptance of the Father’s love and the resulting joy?

3) Henri points us to the great hope of liberation from such resentments.  He gives us the very important reminder that “I can only be healed from above” and that “Jesus is God’s way of making the impossible possible – of allowing light to conquer darkness” (p71, p82).  He encourages us that we can prepare ourselves to be found and brought home through the disciplines of trust and gratitude.
a) In order to practice trust, how can you regularly remind yourself of the truth of God’s love for you.  How can you claim it? (We also talked about this last week).
b) How do you understand the discipline of gratitude?  Have you found a way to choose gratitude every day?
c) Henri reminds us of the Estonian proverb that says “Who does not thank for little will not thank for much.”  You are invited to choose something in your life, and share your sense of gratitude today.

4) Henri touches on his relationship with his father.  He recognizes he was looking to his earthly father for a kind of love that could not be found through an earthly relationship.
a) Do you have such a relationship in your life?  How might you take a step towards releasing that expectation, and instead opening yourself to a true dependence on the divine Father who says “You are always with me, and all I have is yours” (p78).
b) How might this free you to give and receive love?

As always, there is so much to be explore in this text.  We very much look forward to hearing from you about whatever comes up for you as you read and reflect.

In gratitude,

Ray and Brynn

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54 Responses to March 8th to 14th: The Elder Son

  1. Ray Glennon says:

    Thanks to each of you for the beautiful and supportive sharings this week. It is a blessing to join with you on this inspirational Lenten journey.

    I am writing from the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s Msgr. O’Dwyer Retreat House where I’m helping to lead a Confirmation retreat for 30 young people. A key part of my talk this afternoon was the story of how I found The Return… after Mass in Singapore and I also brought along the framed poster of the pointing that my wife and I recently purchase. It was largely as a result of participating in the Lenten book discussion that I was able to share my story with these young people, and for that I want to say thanks to each of you.

    In our reading this week, I certainly experienced and understood the resentment that can result from a “need to please” and feeling burdened by obedience and duty. And in my case, it was ultimately the built up resentment and anger of the Elder Son that led me to rebell and to act out as the Younger Son that I described last week. Now over a decade later, I have not completely overcome the need to please and the desire for affirmation and that can certainly lead to resentment today.

    Having been the Elder Son both before and (I hope) to a lesser degree after my Younger Son period, it is my personal experience that it is easier to return home as the Younger Son. And I hope that I am moving toward living as the Father.

    Time for bed. Tomorrow is the final day of our Confirmation retreat.

    May the Lord give you peace.

    Ray

  2. Dr. Connie says:

    I have been keeping up with the reading of the posts and am inspired by beautiful sharing and insights
    Twyla your prayer the reference to hypothermia and your prayer touched me deeply.
    Beatiful comments everyone, Bob you are in special thought and prayer, too many wonderful points to mention, but thank you all.

    How great is God and how blessed are we that in Henri we can have on line community.

    As it was mentioned last week, it is interesting to think of ourselves in each of the roles in the painting or in the story. I have been the younger son, and the older son. I think I hate to admit to the older son more because his story is not resolved in the parable. He is on the outside looking in filled with self-righteousness. What a lonely place to be, and no matter how he might try to convince himself of his righteousness he must be in pain. As Augustine says” Our hearts are restless until they rest in you” So too of the older son. We are made for relationship. On page 76 Henri talks about the impossibility of self-redemption and self- healing. On Pg 82 He says ” I can not forgive myself. I can not make myself feel loved….nor can I create communion on my own….. I am lost. I must be found and brought home by the shepherd who goes out to meet me.” The lesson here for me is to think not about being to on guard for being “right” or being ” good enough” or “not good enough”. It is not about that at all. I need to keep remembering my who I am can only be found in my relationship to the one who calls me the Beloved.

    On another note I was speaking with a friend and she told me about a sermon that she heard the Prodigal Son and that the Preacher pointed to the delivery of the message by the servant as well. “Your brother has come, and your father has killed the calf we had been fattening, because he has got him back safe and sound.” I did not hear the sermon personally so I can not comment specifically. But my take on my friends comments were about the choice of language of the servant. It is not the language of inclusion. WE had been fattening the calf and YOUR FATHER killed it because HE had gotten HIM back sate and sound. We can think about another role. How to present information to others, with language of inclusion or not. With language that promotes community and unity or not. This prompt me to be ever mindful of language.
    God Bless

  3. Bob Brittain says:

    I have read all of your posts with gratitude.
    I have read and re-read several times the replies to my last post by Holly, Joni, Cheryl and Josephine, to whom I have been unable to respond because I didn’t know what to say. Every time I re-read my post and your replies I weep. They are tears of loss and regret mixed with tears of gratitude for your concern for me and my family and your direction. Thank you so much. Each a gift of your inner self. God has used you.

    Holly,
    Thank you for your words of encouragement. Your reference to ‘walls’ really spoke to me. The wall I constructed was out of fear. Fear of rejection, rejection from my son, which has remained in me all these years. Your reference to separation by death, is very real to me, as I was recently diagnosed with bone cancer, however the specific type of which has not yet been determined, and although the I am hopeful, there is no way I want to leave without our son knowing in his heart the depth of my love for him.
    It is one thing to write the letter, it is another to give him the letter.
    I desire the pain in both of us to be healed while we are both alive, and sooner rather than later. I no longer want to live in fear.

    Joni,
    Your words to pray for courage and to include a covering letter and then leave it in the Lord’s hands…Let Go and Let God… reverberated in me, in my spirit, as the absolutely right thing to do. I don’t have the need to discern the ‘right’ time. I have already wasted too much time. Let Go and Let God!

    Cheryl,
    You encouraged me in your reply “We only ever have the present, tomorrow is not guaranteed. I suspect your son is looking for an open door, do not be afraid, take a chance” affirmed Joni’s direction.

    Josephine,
    You amaze me. With all you have and are enduring you place me and my family before the Lord. I have a picture of you in my mind doing this. I am praying for your intentions along with you.
    I grew up Anglican and converted to Catholicism just prior to marrying my wife. Two of the best choices of my life!! I didn’t have an understanding or relationship with Mary, the Mother of Jesus growing up. Many years later I was attending a Novena and as I returned to my seat I started to well up. As I knelt and prayed I couldn’t understand why tears continued to uncontrollably flow down my face. The hymn was an old Catholic hymn about Mary and I realized Mary was telling me in my inner being that she was my Mother. So when you “sought the help of the Mother of Jesus who knows the pain of separation, to bring about the healing and mending the broken relationship” this meant and spoke a great deal to me.
    You also said “Courage” and your scripture references flowed through me and what came to mind was a little ‘childish’ type bookmark that I have had in my Jerusalem Bible for several decades which assures me (all of us) “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” ! I am filled with Peace and gratitude.

    So to each of you, Holly, Joni, Cheryl, Josephine, and any of you that offered prayers for me and my family, I am so very grateful.
    This weekend I will be writing a second letter to our eldest son to accompany the letter I wrote 24 years ago but did not give to him and mail them together to him Monday, with the hope it speaks to his heart and soul and there will be healing, but I am letting go and letting God.

    This section about the Elder Son, has spoken to me in many ways, but I thought writing the above was more important than writing a reflection on it. Really, I feel that I have lived this section this week. Thank you Lord.
    Bob

    • Sr.Josephine Berchmans FMM says:

      Bob,there is nothing to be surprised about praying for you and your family. At this juncture in my life Prayer is the only ministry I am able to do. Your anguish and pain deeply touched me.I am continuing to pray for your family and you and wish with all my heart that healing you are longing for will be given to you sooner than you expect.
      Since you mentioned that you are a catholic I mentioned Mary.I believe and rely on her powerful intercession. As God looks kindly on a broken spirit, she will speak for your need to our all loving God. She has worked wonders in the lives of those who call on her with trust.She will definitely hear our prayer.
      May God hold you in the palm of his hand and may Mary enfold you in her motherly love. SHALOM!
      Thanks for praying for my intentions.

  4. Sharon says:

    I am responding as I had not since the first week. I have been reading and I must say that I am more of the younger son. I had my rebellion and see how wonderful home is now. My real home in the Father who loves me unconditionally.

    This week is difficult…in a very different way, because I live with an elder son…who fits to a tee Henri’s description. That might sound harsh, but it is really painful and sad. And I probably sound condemning. But God is merciful and full of grace and He is showing me how to extend grace and mercy. Perhaps the younger son was given the same opportunity to extend as he received it himself so freely from his father. He was now able to extend it. What a paradox that the younger rebellious brother can become the one who shows and gives grace to the older!!

    I appreciate Henri’s honesty and vulnerability in this section on the elder son. “The elder son stands outside this love, refusing to enter. The light on his face makes it clear that he, too, is called to the light, but cannot be forced.”

    And yes, I am experiencing this “hardest conversion” right now in my home watching, waiting, praying, extending grace and mercy. We are part of it. And it cannot be forced. How to respond to someone who is struggling to receive when they feel as though they have it and afraid to open and receive more or something that looks different than their way. Henri mentions the struggle with receiving for the elder son several times. I know I cannot be a substitute for God’s love. And pray that the Father’s love will be manifested to my loved one so uniquely by the Father that there will be no uncertainty that it is from Him. Thank you for being able to share in a community who is so gracious and full of mercy.

  5. Joni says:

    Questuin 3. Henri points out the great hope of liberation from such resentments…”Jesus is God’s way of making the impossible possible–of allowing light to conquer darkness…
    a. In order to practice trust, how can you regularly remind yourself of the truth of God’s love for you?
    One way I try to practice trust and claim God’s love for me is by starting my day (usually while brushing my teeth 🙂 !) with a simple prayer. The first part I made up, the second part was a gift from a dear friend and is tucked in by dresser mirror in my bedroom so I can be reminded of it often!
    Unfortunately I let this good habit drop by the wayside for many months-but thankfully it is coming back to my life as part of my daily routine. It goes like this:
    “Abba, thank you for the gift of my life. Thank you for loving and accepting me as I am and calling me to become a truer version of the person you have called me to be. Thank you for forgiving my sins, please teach me to forgive others of theirs.
    My past Oh Lord lies in your mercy, my present is in your love, my future rests in your providence. All that I am and all that I have is yours O Jesus thru Mary, your loving mother. Amen.
    b. How do you understand the gift of gratitude? Have you found a way to choose gratitude each day?
    For me, gratitude is the art of looking beyond my own self and life circumstances to recognize God’s presence in the world and the people around me.
    I am becoming much more sensitive to the simple beauty of nature.
    c. Henri reminds…of proverb: “Who does not thank for little will not thank for much.” You are invited to choose something…and share your sense of gratitude today.

    I have found and become a part of two new communities this Lent–this Book Discussion Blog and a smaller group–at the suggestion of a mutual friend, we are attempting a new approach to Lent. It’s called “Lent: Sweet Thankfulness.”
    Both of these communities are very much a blessing in my life right now.
    4. Henri on his relationship with his father…He recognizes he was looking to his earthly father for a kind of love that could not be found…
    a. Do you have such a relationship in you life?
    Yes, I think I had that kind of relationship with my mother. Fortunately I was able to come to a point of acceptance and peace with her before she went home to God 20 years ago.
    Today I think I need to become more sensitive to accepting the love my husband offers me–without expecting him to be able to completely fill my need for unconditional love. Only God can do that.
    b. How might this free you to give and receive love?
    By releasing those I love from my unrealistic and impossible expectations I hope I learn to acknowledge, embrace amd accept the love they have to offer.

    • Elaine says:

      Joni, you always address the questions and your moral dilemmas from so many angles. Thank you. I would especially like to know the angles you have used in your “Lent: Sweet Thankfulness” approach.

    • Liz says:

      Joni,
      Your prayer is one of TRUST. Thank you for sharing. It’s a good way to pray as we do ordinary daily activities. When I open the curtains on the window near my computer, I pray words from Psalm 119. “Lord, be a light for my path and a lamp for my feet.” Those few words remind me who is my Guide. I recall someone said, there are two ways to rise in the morning:
      1)”Good Lord, it’s morning,” with a sigh of exasperation
      2) “Lord, it’s a good morning.” with hopeful expectation.
      Your prayer fall into #2 group! “Abba, thank you for the gift of my life. Thank you for loving and accepting me as I am and calling me to become a truer version of the person you have called me to be. Thank you for forgiving my sins, please teach me to forgive others of theirs. My past Oh Lord lies in your mercy, my present is in your love, my future rests in your providence. All that I am and all that I have is yours O Jesus thru Mary, your loving mother. Amen.”

  6. Rodolfo says:

    Q-1
    Agree with Henri that the hardest conversion to go through is the conversion of the one who stayed home, because one must confront the false self that one has usually spent a lifetime constructing and nourishing, while trying to return home through one’s virtuous self.
    And to add more complexity to the challenge, Henri mentioned that in the case of resentment (and probably pride, anger, bitterness, jealously, etc.) is not very easily “distinguished and dealt with rationally “, hence the difficulty; here is where I believe psychology is really limited, because its principle is about dealing with the self/ego, while in the case of a true conversion it only occurs when one recognizes his/her own poverty and limitations with the help of God.
    I have experienced this challenge in my life. For example, while following my “cursillo method” of piety, study and action, almost “religiously” in my daily life, interacting with my wife, and daughters, I am sometimes full of rigidity, bad humor, and selfishness. I want to be a witness of Christ for them, but I failed, and many times I forget to let Christ act through me. Figuring out that it is not about me, but about allowing myself to become an instrument of Christ has taking me all my life to conquer.

    Q-2
    Complaining is an outwardly projection of our deep wounds. As the saying goes: “compare and despair.” I am able to accept myself through complete trust in God, which by the way, it is one my biggest failures and sufferings of my life.

    Q-3
    The discipline of gratitude can be exercised through the recognition of Christ in my “neighbor”. It implies, then to trust, to allow myself to become wounded in my tiny acts of love, making a little leap of faith.

  7. Ann says:

    Is amazing to read all your comments and the insight from each one is so profound.

    I have a complete view when I ponder again on Henri’s reflections – the two sons and the father.
    I felt more for the elder son. He has to live with his Father and get real with his daily life. Working and living together takes a whole different perspectives. He is in a position just like what we all as Christians – get real with living out our faith. We struggle with exercising grace and kindness to others and towards our own Heavenly Father. We failed miserably like the elder son. We angered easily by all the challenges, trials and tribulations. We blamed our Father for making life so miserable for us. And we don’t experience the Father’s love and grace anymore. Is a real challenge to live out our Christian faith in this fallen world. Henri reflections remind me to look to God and not to self. Die to self and experience the grace and nearness of God in our life. The busyness of our lives (ministries) had robbed our joy. Instead, we grow in bitterness and resentment towards the closest people that love us like our Father.

    The youngest son in the picture depict a moment of joys. A picture of someone finally returning to God – accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior. The experience Peter had at Mt transfiguration – celebration and rejoicing. Mountain top experience is different from in the valley.

    Henri’s reflection brought me to a different dimension. I am not sure it make sense to anyone.

    • Christine says:

      Your reflection made perfect sense, Ann. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. They expressed in new ways some of the things I’ve been pondering and helped me see some of those ideas triggered by Henri’s writing from a different and clarifying perspective.

  8. Christine says:

    I’ve been pondering Henri’s reflections on the light and the darkness and their significance in the painting and the parable of the return of the prodigal son. Question 3 points out Henri’s belief that healing involves “allowing the light to conquer the darkness.” On page 82 Nouwen also writes about the elder son making choices that have placed him “outside the light.”

    As I was reading chapter 5, I considered the question that Henri posed, “Can the elder son come home?” I wrote at the bottom of the page, “Step into the light.” I was thinking the light was there being offered, but a forward motion, a step, was required to get home to that light.

    As I read a bit further into chapter 6, I was surprised to see that Henri also wrote that God doesn’t force his love on us and we are “free to make our own choice to stay in the darkness or to step into the light of God’s love.” God called the elder son and calls me into his light. To fully answer God’s invitation, the action of stepping out of the shadows into that light is required.

    When I looked at the person in Rembrandt’s painting who Henri identified as the elder son, I saw someone who had worked steadfastly to keep his father’s household, farm, (institution if you will) running. He had taken care of the details and seen to it that his father’s house stood strong and prospered in the years his brother was away. He didn’t seem like such a bad sort to me. He was just a guy doing what he thought was expected of him.

    Henri pointed out that there is light on the elder son’s face in the painting, but it is not quite the glowing golden light that shines on the father and younger son. It is “flat” as Henri puts it. Perhaps, then, the light on the elder brother’s face is the type that comes with self-regard and self-sufficiency. I think he is proud of how well he has done with his institutional tasks. He is dressed in fine clothes and holds a staff that to me is indicative of his leadership position. I equate it with Aaron’s priestly staff in Exodus.

    Then, I looked more closely at the elder brother. I thought he looked a bit stern, yet mildly curious about the scene before him. His clasped hands seemed to indicate he was holding back. Perhaps part of that posture indicated that he was holding his emotions in check. His well-shod feet were planted firmly on the ground.

    I began to get the feeling that the elder son had busied himself so much in caring for the house of his Father that he had lost sight of the Father himself. The true light emanates from the Father, not from the structure the elder son worked so hard to maintain. Within the frame of this painting, it seems the elder son is looking more closely at his Father than he has in a long time. It seems the time has come for him to make a choice. He can choose to take a step away from his security and pride in the worldly structure which he has built up and cared for and take a step toward the haven of light and love that his Father freely offers.

    The Lord’s words to Paul came to my mind: “My grace is sufficient for you.” I considered the light that emanated from the father in Rembrandt’s painting as representative of that grace. For the elder son, that first step from self-sufficiency to the sufficiency of God’s grace will require courage and trust. Yet, once he allows himself to relinquish his self-direction and control and his misdirected attachment to that which he has built, I suspect that he, like his brother, will melt into his Father’s embrace. He will experience the joy of being cared for by his Father. He will discover a renewal of his own love for his Father as well. He may then be able carry out his earthly duties in his Father’s house with the joy of that love in his heart and the light of that love illuminating his way.

    So what does this have to do with me? Is it time for me to take that step out of the shadows and into the light?

  9. Tom Accardi says:

    One of the best insights for me in the book was the elder son being lost. I had never reflected on that at all, but the “lostness” that stems from “judgment and condemnation” of our fellow human beings is relevant to all of us it seems – certainly it fits me. I find it hard not to judge and evaluate others by my yardstick. I now understand the concept of “the glaringly visible resentful, proud, unkind selfish person that remains deeply hidden.”
    Finally, for me, I think one of the most significant lines in the book can be found on page 71: “There is so much resentment among the “just” and the “righteous.” There is so much judgment condemnation, and prejudice among the “saints.” These are very sobering thoughts that certainly warrant my sincere contemplation.

    • Joni says:

      They certainly are sobering thoughts, it is a great gift to me to be able to tackle these hard realities as part of this wonderful community and not on my own…I would be quickly overwhelmed.

  10. Marianne says:

    1) I think our human condition makes it inevitable that we are going to be lost while at home at times. It is far harder to experience a homecoming as an older son because it takes a lot of honesty and a lot of self awareness. Particularly in marriage it is easy to think that you have all the right ways of behaving and believing. One has to have the grace to examine our own motives and actions. You can’t both be right and compromise.

    2) If I think I am great and without sin, I think I am entitled to everything. It’s not until I am humbled by noticing my imperfections and need of the Father that I become grateful for what He sends my way. I underlined the sentence p. 63 that “The Return of the Prodigal Son is a work that summarizes the great spiritual battle and the great choices this battle demands.”

    Another point that hit me was in viewing Christ as the Younger Son……He must have been so happy to get back to heaven after fulfilling his mission here on earth. Heaven will be a nice protected, safe community.

    To me, possible a good summary for the whole book is p.. 75. Participating in these book studies has helped me come into closer communion with Jesus. This has helped me in my journey with Cancer. “What I do know with unwavering certainty is the heart of the father. It is a heart of LIMITLESS mercy.” That’s not to say we can do whatever we want. That is the reassurance that when we have become lost while at home, that Jesus knows who we are. He knows how we are made and still made the decisison to die for us. Romans 5:8New International Version (NIV) But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

    4) unfortunately, there will always be people who we are disappointed with. Again, claiming my own brokenness helps me overlook the brokenness of other people in my life. This frees me to accept what they can give and to look elsewhere for the things I still need to receive from another earthly human being. Once I gave us my specific ideas about how love should come to me and from whom, I became more aware of the love that was shown to me. This love was able to meet my needs.

    It’s very important to forgive those around us for not being God, because others will need to forgive us at some point for our imperfections. Blessings on your day. Marianne

    • Sonya says:

      Very thoughtful words. Thanks for expressing them. You have given me much to consider today. Blessings to you with your health as well.

  11. I felt sadness when looking at the elder brother. He seems so lost and excluded from what’s happening between the father and his younger brother. Seemingly excluded from love, although his father assures him that he is not.
    I think jealousy is a devastating feeling; thinking that someone else gets the love you want to have so badly but don’t get, can make you feel lonely and abandoned.
    I was five when my younger sister was born. I never knew that I was jealous, but later I understood what I had felt. My sister emigrated to a faraway country. I stayed nearer, and always thought or felt that my mother loved my sister more than me.

    I see jealousy in the elder brother’s posture, maybe well masked, but still visible, standing there, maybe fighting the feelings inside. I can see this because I have been there; I know that place.
    Jealousy doesn’t attract other people’s love. On the contrary, it closes the own heart and keeps other people at a distance, despite the desperate need for love.

    Pondering on the difference between the two sons, I can see how the younger son had nothing left but love; and the elder son has everything but love. And I became aware that it is the father who loves both. He sees no difference, or at least feels no difference. His heart is broken enough to open itself for love towards both of them, no matter how or from which side they approach him.

    Imagining what the elders on needs to step forward and join his father and brother, I can learn from my own experiences. Deep down inside me there was a reluctance to admit and fully accept that in order to be a part of a family means also being a bit less of an individual “ego”. All of my life I used to expect others to confirm my being good or acceptable. I had to learn to bow my head, and admit that I am less, being “less” meaning that I am “under construction”, not yet finished, not knowing whether I ever will be. I can join now my famliy in love, without hesitation and without demanding expectations. In loving my myself as a human being I can letting in the love for and of God.

    • Joni says:

      Janna, I love the concept of “being ‘under construction’ not yet finished, not knowing whether I will ever be.”

      It offers hope, without self-judgement. We are each works in progress; may God be blessed!

  12. Brynn Lawrence says:

    I continue to be amazed and deeply blessed by each of you, and your insightful, honest and encouraging sharing. Thank you!

    To the many people “tracking” with us who just haven’t found the words to share (yet?), I want you to know your presence is appreciated as well!

    • Art says:

      Thanks, Brynn. This is my first post. I live in AZ and work as a full-time missionary with an evangelical para-church organization. My main responsibility involves promoting deepening spirituality and prayer among our team of about 50 workers who raise funds to help provide tools for the church worldwide to share the Gospel in people’s heart languages.
      I read Henri’s book a long time ago and remember realizing how I never saw the elder son as an equally, if not more significant, aspect of the story God wants to convey. I totally identify with him as my current journey over the last decade has been one of “homecoming” from many years of trying to earn God’s acceptance through faithful service.

  13. Joni says:

    Complaining is self-perpetuating and counter-productive…we lose our spontaneity to the extent that even joy cannot evoke joy in us.
    a. Henri links our complaing with self rejection. Have you ever experienced this?
    Yes, although I would not have described it this way at the time.
    I do know that when I am complaining it is always somebody eles fault! Peeling back the onion a bit, I can see where the true roots of the pain lie in my own self-rejection and lack of love of self.
    b. How did you turn your self-rejection etc. to acceptance of the Father’s love and resulting joy?
    Oh how I wish I could answer this is in the past tense, as if I had conquered self-rejection, resentment and complaining once and for all.
    Not so, but through baby steps over the years I have come to see my sin and experience God’s forgiveness at ever deeper levels.
    The grace of God and wisdom and patience of Spiritual Directors has been key in enabling me to see with new eyes and be open to the loving embrace of my compassionate and merciful Father. I am very grateful.

    • Jan greene says:

      Self rejection, now those are the words! Trying, always trying to be good enough but being less aware of that and how guarded that has made me. Protecting from fault or shame keeps me away from really opening up. I am praying to be open to the Father’s presence and loving acceptance. It helps to write this!
      Blessings and thanks for your insights!

    • Anne says:

      I love the clarity of this understanding, and appreciate the long journey you have endured Joni. I too have been there and continue to see how my lack of self-compassion interferes with my stepping into the light. I am grateful for Henri’s reminder that the way out is to trust and gratitude- timeless reminders- as life continues. Willingness, for me has been instrumental in the transformative process I am still experiencing. Blessings, Anne

  14. Sonya says:

    I read the Elder Son anticipating I would find myself there. I always have tried to be good enough to be part of my family because of my dad. When I was a pre-schooler he told me to pack my clothes and say good-bye to my mom because I wasn’t good enough to live with them. As a child I had no idea what might be going on, but I recall that I was determined to find a way back to Mommy. Eventually Daddy cooled down from something, I never knew what even years later asking my Mom and older sister. They recalled the incident but not what caused it.

    It influenced my life attempting to always be good enough. As an adult and becoming engaged to a loving man, I had the feeling something was holding me back from truly trusting him. The memory flashed into my mind and I cried.

    Yet during most of my life I tried to always be “good enough”. In my home filled with a loving husband, and children and beyond that, my loving mother-in-law and mom; as well as a prayer partner always beginning her prayer by taking to us Our Father and climbing on his knee; I grew to understand a loving Father, and saw my dad as also an abused child.

    Thus resentment was alive and well in my life of being “good enough”–lol! Something ugly always grows in us humans its seems.

    Reading this section I saw myself and my resentment. Over the years I was resentful of those working with me who took advantage of their jobs by sliding and others had to do their work. Or especially I’ve noticed how I really resent those in the news who earn huge salaries and at the same time behave so selfishly. Then I think of those who have extreme wealth and are generous. I wonder (and resent) why these others with their blessings of gifts allowing them to earn huge salaries, spend it all and sometimes go into bankruptcy. (Probably God isn’t finished with them yet! I have to remind myself of this.)

    I can remove “log in my own eye” in these cases, yet I’m sure there will be another case where I am just as blind. However, for now with this book, I’ll work on my resentments. Blessings to all!

  15. Elaine says:

    As an eldest, I am the classic example of the one who had to take responsibility for younger siblings and household duties and to set “a good example.” And while sometimes in my teenage angst I felt underappreciated, I came into adulthood without lasting resentment because I was blessed with an earthly father who never ceased to demonstrate that I was much loved. When I say the “Our Father,” I remind myself that my heavenly Father embodies all of my dad’s best qualities to an unimaginable nth degree.

    While Henri’s book rightly focuses on the parallels between the forgiveness of God and that of the father in the painting, I have reflected on the possible problems in the father’s earlier relationship with his elder son. In his grief for the lost son, had he taken the dutiful son for granted? Had the two of them had silent meals together, each one preoccupied with his duties on the farm? Had he taught the elder son to live a joyful and grateful life? Had the father regularly embraced the elder son or expressed his appreciation? And most importantly—before even turning to the “fatted calf” prepared for the younger son’s homecoming—did he turn to the older son with the same level of warm intimacy with which he accepted the prodigal? Had the elder son developed resentment because he lacked the maturity to understand that his father’s trust in him to manage the farm DID tacitly express his love and his appreciation for the elder son’s competence and loyalty? Certainly the father offers redemption for both himself and his sons in the end, but how had the relationship gone so wrong in the first place?

    Perhaps the estrangement is related to a lack of communication and appreciation. In any case, the parable speaks to me on several levels: as my parents’ child, as an eldest sibling, as a parent myself, as a coworker who has grumbled about colleagues not carrying their share of the workload, as a supposed Christian who nevertheless lets the mundane affairs of the day interfere with prayers of gratitude for the gifts my heavenly father has provided. Am I listening to others? When people grumble or look unhappy, am I attempting to walk in their shoes and understand why? Do I show appreciation?

    • Kikuko Hilbun says:

      Sonya, thank for bringing up father’s relationship with the elder son. I had this question in my mind but no one brought it up. I felt that my question was due to my warped mind with anger and resentment like the elder son. P72, Henri says, “complaining that comes from a heart that feels it never received what it was due.” I was 4 1/2 when the battle of Okinawa happened. My father carried my older brother on his back while we were running from cave to cave. I asked my father, please carry me on your back. I am tired, scared. The response was if you do not run for your life, American soldiers would come and kill you! I had no choice but run after them crying. Tried to be a good girl so my parents would think that I am important too. Failure to be loved by parents brought complaining which Henri says, self perpetuating and counter productive. I wish Father of Prodigal son was more sensitive to the needs of the elder by giving him a kid to have fun with his friends, or sending a servant to notify him the return of younger son. Am I too critical of Father? Ultimately, we have choice to make: to be in the light or remain the darkness. I hope elder son will choose to come in the house to honor Father.

  16. Twyla says:

    #1#2 #3 #4 : Well, I thought and thought about this one…I literally prayed on this one for days….I asked The Holy Spirit to “help me”…
    Oh the light shined on me alright…
    In this parable, I would be the OTHER elder son…
    As per usual in this life I have MY OWN category that wasn’t mentioned. 🙂
    By that I mean…
    I would be Running to receive that wayward younger son right behind the Father…
    I would be SO thrilled….. For it would have been an answer to my prayers….
    I find, I worry about others all the time… I pray for the lost messes of people Quite easily….. When I see any suffering or waywardness…. I cry…. I am moved to help in actual actions….
    and pray…..Pray all the time… 2 am 3 am I will wake up in tears feeling The Holy Spirit asking me to pray for someone.
    What makes ME stop being depressed, angry or sad, IS and ALWAYS has been taking care of Others.
    Any sickly plant, stray cat, dog, child, baby ….. adult…. I am the one who can’t resist helping them every last time.

    …….. But b4 anyone, thinks I am pretty “holy”….
    Better take a looksee at MY specialty sin !!
    I can’t stand THE Elder Sons of this world….and If I am spiritually honest, I will just admit it, I practically hate them.
    My thoughts on this parable are : Can’t the Elder son see the happiness on the Father, that he claims to Love ?
    Does that Elder Son really want his beloved father to be sad, and the other child never make it back home just to satisfy the elder son’s need for Prideful superiority ?
    Isn’t he happy FOR his Dad, that he “loves so much” ?
    And
    What of his younger mess of a brother…..Did the Elder brother REALLY want the younger brother to suffer and die because of his sins ???
    Would he really want his younger brother to be in hell and never be redeemed to Their Father again ? Would the Elder son REALLY resent the small victory of a lost sinner coming home in shame & guilt a totally broken and wounded person and wanting another chance ?
    Pretty Much….. YES to that one ….. And that is the Elder son.

    … That those who are the Elder Sons of this world are “wounded hurting souls” too if not MORE than the clearly messed up wounded ones…… Pride, Cold Cruel Resentfulness, Hard heartedness meanness, Unforgiveness, this too is suffering….

    But, The Elder sons are just wounded in such Exhaulted ways……
    THOSE people I have a hard time loving and running to “help them” and pray for them… BcuZ frankly they never seem to ask for help or want it anyway. They have no need for it.
    Outwardly at least.

    Elder Sons are the ones who always seem to Mercilessly hold back from ENCOURAGING people when they most need it. Prideful and competitive and resentful of others for their little victories in life. People die of hypothermia quickly, and The Elder sons of this world seem to inflict Spiritual Frost on those that are shaking & suffering already out in the cold.

    And, so there….. I’ve said it. This CLEARLY is my Specialty Sin.
    I can’t stand the Elder son.
    Funny too, bcuZ I AM the Eldest child in my own family…and now, I am a Mommy, a Wife, a Pediatric RN, and a Caretaker of all that is weak and innocent…. those beautiful and needful things in this life…. I always have been A caretaker.

    So what can I do…. To come “home” better ??
    I am aware of my own need….. To Come Home To Papa God, To Abba, so HE can tell me to relaX ….
    and just come into to Joy and Love, and leave fear and Worry …
    and not let that turn me into the resentful one myself… resenting those that can’t love or show mercy as easily.
    Looking AWAY from “self” and looking TO JESUS…. Is The. Only. Way. I can do that, or anything…
    I just can not overcome MY Specialty Sins with out JESUS.
    Jesus, is the only one who can deliver me from my own sins.
    It’s WAY beyond me….
    Jesus keeps on making me see… It is way beyond me, it IS OUT of my league….
    REST in HIM.
    And so…. After all these years of fighting this sin, I find myself praying :
    “Jesus, by a decision of my will I forgive ( fill in the blank ), I am asking for you Jesus to forgive them for Clearly they know not what they are doing.
    And Jesus, BLESS THEM and HELP THEM.
    And forgive ME Dear Jesus, for this prayer being so hard for me to pray for them.
    OH and P.S. Jesus, I AM Your Girl, help me to ONLY work for YOU…and NOT for Myself.
    AMEN
    …… This is how, I am able to come Home to The Father, bcuZ, if I let this hatred & resentments of my own set in and take root…. I too…. Won’t make it “home”. Lord God, Have Mercy, on ME a sinner… And help ME to to ALWAYS have Mercy on ALL the other sinners….. Even the Elder son Sinners…. For YOU Love every last one of us…..Sinners, and that includes ME.
    AMEN.
    🙂

    • Joni says:

      Beautiful, beautiful sharing; thanks so much. Your honesty with yourself, God, and us is so evident, I am blessed by your words.

      Really needed to hear this tonight because I have spent most of my day being very resentful towards a co-worker and not a bit shy about sharing my opinion!
      🙁
      Lord have mercy.

    • Elaine says:

      Twyla, I am especially struck by your words: “People die of hypothermia quickly, and The Elder sons of this world seem to inflict Spiritual Frost on those that are shaking & suffering already out in the cold.” We see this lack of empathy all the time in decisions made for political reasons, in the acquisitiveness of our consumerist society, in the mentality that success means climbing to the top of the corporate ladder. Thousands of people regularly protest and work for human rights, for example ,but too often seem helpless to thaw that “spiritual frost.” You encourage me to heat up my prayer life in this regard. Thanks.

  17. Stuart Dimock says:

    Have I ever felt lost at ‘home’? Sometimes worship can get to be flat when I am harboring some unrecognized sin or unrepentant attitude. When I harbor a grudge or nurse a perceived slight and begin to get bitter I am so far away from the Father that worship stagnates. It can be so hard to let go and let the Holy Spirit in to do the cleaning. Does anyone else struggle with this?

    • Joni says:

      Oh yes, I’m right there with you. It seems the more I try to let go, the more the thoughts stick with me….like old fashioned fly paper….you get all tangled in it!

    • Elaine says:

      I totally agree, Stuart, and this blog has been such a good place to find help with this struggle. Just a thought: After this Lenten blog has ended, would anyone like to continue the conversation by posting comments on Henri’s daily reflection (if not daily maybe weekly)?

      • Bob Brittain says:

        I have received so much through this review and reflections of the folks involved, I would be interested in posting comments or reflections as they occur to me through Henri’s daily reflections.
        Bob

  18. Annie says:

    It’s been years since I first read Henri’s book as I am so pleased to return to it -with the support of others whose posts give me so much hope and encouragement. I very much identify with the elder son. I realise I like to please: be the good daughter and feel good about ‘being good’. There have been times I have flirted with the idea of becoming more like the younger son – but something maybe fear of consequences stopped me. When I look at the elder son I can feel his sense of loss and possibly his own surprise at the depth of unwelcome feelings he experiences – reflecting on him has helped me appreciate and engage with the struggle within and to find a way to feel and be at home again.

  19. Judith Bacon says:

    What a blessing to be a part of this Lenten study! I am God’s Beloved. Wow!

    Your question number 3 for this week intrigues me. You mentioned “practicing trust” and the “discipline of gratitude.” I may be strange, but I don’t think I’ve ever had to “practice” trust or that gratitude is a “discipline.” When you are as physically helpless as I am, faith, trust and gratitude are an essential core of being. There is so much in my life to be grateful for, each and every day. I am reminded of the Jewish tradition of each morning as we awaken, we are to give thanks to God for at least 100 reasons. How can we not have gratitude for God’s beautiful creation, His love and forgiveness? I am so grateful for God’s care of me through the helping hands of others in my life. Yes, each day is a struggle. But a positive attitude, an attitude of gratitude, and knowing I am Beloved of God certainly helps. Facing the future, knowing I will soon lose my beat friend and main caregiver to cancer, I need to keep my faith, trust, and gratitude strong, knowing God will help me to make the correct decisions and keep me in His care. There will be lots of tears and frustrations along the way, but He is with me.

    For those who would like to be the Hands of Christ to others, reading James Howell’s book YOURS ARE THE HANDS OF CHRIST, might help inspire such actions. There are so many of us grateful for such hands.

    • Sr.Josephine Berchmans FMM says:

      I absolutely agree with you Judith when you say,
      “I don’t think I’ve ever had to “practice” trust or that gratitude is a “discipline.” When you are as physically helpless as I am, faith, trust and gratitude are an essential core of being. There is so much in my life to be grateful for, each and every day.”
      “But a positive attitude, an attitude of gratitude, and knowing I am Beloved of God certainly helps.”
      “There will be lots of tears and frustrations along the way, but He is with me.”

    • Elaine says:

      Just beautiful, Judith.

    • Kikuko Hilbun says:

      Thank you Judith for beautiful, encouraging words.

  20. Joni says:

    1. ..both older and younger sons needed healing and forgiveness to return to the Father’s love…it is clear that the hardest conversion to go is the conversion of the one who stayed at home.”
    a. Have you been lost while still at home?
    Although I never recognized or named it like that, pondering it now I think that this has been the case in both my personal family life and in my life as a member of the Catholic Church.
    b. Now that we have read…both brothers do you agree that the hardest conversion to go through…is of the one who stayed home?
    Yes, I agree because I think it’s harder for the stay at home child to see his or her need for conversion.
    Have you experienced this in your life?
    Again, even though this is my second read of this book, I’m realizing through this study that I brushed over many of the deeper nuances of this story.
    So, now that I am taking a second look I recognize the resentment that has been a part of my life at various stages. I am sure it will be a continuing process. One of the thoughts that came to me recently was my reaction towards people of Faith traditions different than my own.
    It’s a bit shocking actually-because I would never have thought of describing myself as resentful or prejudice against those of other Faiths but much of what I have been reading this week has been giving me cause to pause and re-examine my own heart.

  21. Gilly B says:

    What is home? When we were far off you met us in your son…….knock and the door (to home) will be opened unto us.
    Henri’s writing helps me see more clearly through Christ the opportunities to knock at the door and see that waiting embrace of the Father .
    Sometimes I stray away as the younger son ,sometimes I resent as the elder son or am just a bystander watching without commitment. In each present moment when the light from beyond the door is revealed by the son I catch a glimpse of home.
    Thanks be to God for the glimpses of light we each receive, the healing of his son by our forgiveness and the incarnate Spirit we then receive to reflect the light into HIS world.

  22. Sr.Josephine Berchmans FMM says:

    Q 1a) yes. As Henri says in the Book whenever I was felt/complaint that I was not getting my due; what I justifiably deserve, I was lost. I was wallowing in resentment.That state surely was far away from Home even though I was physically at home.
    b) Certainly, I agree with Henri that the the hardest conversion to go through is the conversion of the one who stayed home.
    I have experienced this some thirty years ago. To others everything was going well with me at that time. I just completed some important task and was seemingly rewarded with a pilgrimage/study tour outside the country. But it was far from the truth. Some persons have seemingly schemed against me and camouflaged it as the above. I was complaining, resenting. I wanted the “truth” to come out. I was at the mercy of my feelings. A little praise would elate me and any little rejection would deject me. It went on and on. I could not bring myself to accept that I needed to get out of this spiral through conversion. It took me years, much prayer and finally surrender to receive the healing and forgiveness.

  23. Cheryl Rusche says:

    This is my first post and I apologize for coming in late. I have been able to stay up with reading both the book and many of the post and am excited to become part of the conversation.

    I would like to reach out to Bob, and say how sorry I am for what your family is going through. My family experienced a like situation with my older sister and it was not until she became very ill (my sister) that they reconciled as my mother was caring for her at home. We only ever have the present, tomorrow is not guaranteed. I suspect your son is looking for an open door, do not be afraid, take a chance~

    1) Have you ever been lost while at home. My answer is a big yes – but where is home. It could be in my parents home (years back), or my own home , including immediate extended family, or work, or Church, etc. It is sometimes difficult to feel at home in the temporal world, being pulled in so many directions. It is sort of like being in two different realms at the same time! In reading about the Elder Son, I find myself relating to this person much more than the Younger Son. Although being responsible is the smart choice, I envy the spontaneity of the younger son – I want to be both but minus the bad behavior. But in reality, even if I’m like the older son, I still need to go home – I have a long way to go to follow in Jesus’ path – that of a humble servant.

    • Ray Glennon says:

      Welcome Cheryl and thanks for the post. Never a need to apologize for being late — whenever anyone posts is exactly the right time.
      Ray

  24. Isn’t this just beautiful! ~ What a guide we have in Henri……
    Yes, I have felt lost while still at home.
    It is grace that enters to show me how I am loved and forgiven with an unforgettable mercy. This is something I can count on.
    Often, I must accept not being accepted. Just like these two brothers; each in their own way.
    But they both have the same heavenly Father! What a joy ~ no matter what goes on, Jesus is with us pointing us to the Father.
    I am just so grateful

  25. Ray Glennon says:

    From Bob Brittain
    I am so grateful for all your sharing of your faith/life journeys. I would like to tells those that especially touched me, how you did so and express my gratitude, however as you can see even my posting is late.

    This ‘younger son’ section has been a chapter of tears for me. As I mentioned in my introduction although I started to read The Return Of The Prodigal Son several years ago, I noted from my highlighting and notes, I never got beyond the first section of ‘The Younger Son Leaves’, (actually the first two pages). And then I chalked it up to the busy-ness of my life in those years.
    When I re-read these first pages describing what the younger son’s leaving meant I realized this was not about my busy-ness, it was possibly because it was so close to home. (interesting I should express it in this way ‘so close to home’).
    To clarify, when I recently cleaned out our attic, my wife found a letter I had written to our oldest son dated December 16, 1991 and at the time she suggested I should read it. Not knowing the contents, I told her to leave it for him to read after I passed.
    As I again re-read those same pages of the prodigal, I thought I should read the letter I had written to our oldest son and again, as it has several times since when I recall that unforgettable event, my heart broke and I wept for what I had caused.
    As I wrote in the letter “I don’t think I could bear the rejection”. I read the letter apologizing for how I behaved and for what I said, acknowledging I was to blame, and asking for undeserved forgiveness, I realized in the written letter, I was the ‘younger son’ begging for another chance from our 17 year old son, who was ‘the father’.
    The further tragedy was that I didn’t have the courage to give the letter to him.
    Six months later our son moved out of our home after he graduated. The result is a distant and strained relationship between him and my wife and I. Although he and I hug and say we love each other, we don’t know the ‘inside’ him and he doesn’t know us now. And the pain is present in my heart and the longing to know that he knows I do love him lingers. Like I said in my letter ‘I know some day you will forgive me in your heart because of the good person you are’. But my hurt and shame remains and I don’t know what remains in him. I hope he has forgiven me, but I don’t see signs of that.

    In sharing this with my wife, I have decided to ask the Lord to lead me in discerning the right time for our son to receive the letter, which I now know is not after my passing. I still carry in me the fear of our son’s rejection, and I don’t want to cause our son any more hurt.

    ‘Turn away from sin and return to the Gospel’ – the words sometime spoken when placing of ashes on our forehead on Ash Wednesday came to mind. This implies me ‘doing’, however what I read in this section is me being willing to surrender myself to receiving the unconditional forgiveness of God that is always present. We have lost 24 years of relationship with our son as a result of my inaction I pray for the Grace to be willing to surrender and to trust.

    • Holly says:

      Bob, I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about your post. I was consumed with thoughts about our human longing and it being part of the human condition. I grieved for broken relationships between family and friends, knowing that few are able or willing to write the letter you have prepared for your son. These relationships will likely remain broken and a deep hurt and longing will continue in the place of healing and reconciliation. The profound sadness of this is all the more powerful because I am of the age to recognize the fragility of relationships. The relationships are beyond repair because death has separated us, others remain broken because of pride, shame, embarrassment, self rightiousness or whatever wall we construct. All those walls seem so foolish at this point in my life. God has shown me this foolishness and has created within me a deeper and deeper capacity to love, accept and forgive. My longing remains but has lessened. I have come to believe God intends it to be a residual pain to remind us of the consequence of constructing walls.

    • Joni says:

      Bob, your post has touched me deeply as I too went through a period of estrangement with my youngest daughter. Although it did not span years, those months of my not being willing and/or able to bridge the gap are still painful as I too was the one at fault.

      So, my heart and prayers are with you and I would urge you to pray for the courage to send the letter soonest! Maybe even add a cover letter to catch him up on where your heart was then and is now. After that, the only thing left is to Let Go and Let God.

      A few months ago my Spiritual Director recommended that I pray for the DESIRE to desire God’s mercy and compassion TOWARD MYSELF.

      It has been an interesting endeavor, I highly recommend it at this very sensitive juncture in your journey. God Bless!

    • Sr.Josephine Berchmans FMM says:

      Bob, though I saw your post yesterday itself, knowing my utter helplessness before such pain and anguish, I want to place you, your pain and your longing for healing before the Lord. your wife, son and you were very much in my thoughts and prayer. I prayed for you all before the Eucharistic Lord (we have adoration of the Blessed sacrament everyday in our convent chapel) and sought the help of the Mother of Jesus who knows the pain of separation, to bring about the healing and mending the broken relationship. Courage! Psalm 34 assures us that the Lord is close to the brokenhearted. (18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
      19 A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all;) What is not possible for us humans, IS possible for the Lord. Like Prophet Habakuk, let us Trust and leave everything in the hands of God
      (A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet.
      17 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,
      18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.
      19 The Sovereign LORD is my strength; )
      I will continue to keep you in my prayer. God Bless!

  26. Doris says:

    Coming home to the Father is a gift – we are embraced with love. Then there are those moments where life does not live to our expectations, we become discouraged wonder where is God. We sense His presence within us and incredible joy comes. Jesus is God’s way of making the impossible.

    Do I prepare myself for those moments when life falls apart – somewhat, I have learned I am God’s child and I pray. I pray that He will walk with me on the path that is impossible, I trust Him. He comes – but admittedly not always the way I thought it should be. Like a child we want it our way – not His way, and that is not the way our Lord works. Why do I think I am a His child – I asked Him to come into my life and be my Lord and Saviour. I surrendered my life to Him – is this easy, not always, but it is the only way to God and His forgiveness. If we do this joy will be
    restored to our soul. I came to know God’s love and presence through a kind pastor and a loving family – you see my earthly father died when I was ten. We have to look for the joy in Jesus – during or worst moments we can have peace knowing that while we err He will never forsake or leave us. Since knowing the Lord and walking with Him I would not want another way. Easy it is not – worthwhile YES….!

  27. Nancy says:

    a) Have you ever been lost while at still home? b) Now that we have read about both the Younger and the Elder son, do you agree with Henri that the the hardest conversion to go through is the conversion of the one who stayed home? Have you experienced this in your life?

    When I first read the question and tried to formulate an answer in my mind about how I felt about being lost while still at home, I thought perhaps every person feels this at one time or place in their lives. It is especially poignant that as Christians, we who are in the arms of a loving God often feel this.

    And I especially question how our own children who are so loved by imperfect parents can become estranged from us, setting themselves apart with no communication from those who love them. I can only claim the scripture in 2 Timothy 1:12:

    Still I am not ashamed, for I know (perceive, have knowledge of, and am acquainted with) Him Whom I have believed (adhered to and trusted in and relied on), and I am [positively] persuaded that He is able to guard and keep that which has been entrusted to me and which I have committed [to Him] until that day.

    For I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I’ve committed unto Him against that Day. I do know that my daughter is entrusted to God, and I have committed her to Him. That is my confidence, that scripture, and I hold onto it this Lenten season. Go in peace.

  28. Ray Glennon says:

    There were several comments added on Saturday afternoon and evening to last weeks’ post on The Younger Son. If you haven’t seen them, you might want to check them out. http://wp.henrinouwen.org/rgroup_blog/?p=743#comments However, please submit any responses to those comments or any new comments here in the post for this week to make sure that everyone sees them.

    Looking forward to a great discussion this week.
    Ray

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