Lent 2012 Ash Wednesday



“The Prodigal Son” Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn

Turning away from attachments signifies a change of heart. In the Parable of the Lost Son (Luke 15:11- 32), Jesus portrays vivid images of the human experiences of being lost, of loving and forgiving, and of nearly incomprehensible compassion.  I will start Lent by reflecting on the lost son at his point of turning away from the madding and maddening world of sensual attachments.

Luke 15:14-17

14 When he had freely spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he found himself in dire need. 15 So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens who sent him to his farm to tend the swine.16 And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed, but nobody gave him any. 17 Coming to his senses he thought, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger.


When my physical being aches for food, I search for food. I find no food and I discover that self-will has left me destitute. Digging deeper, I realize beneath the longing and the need for food, I long for something more basic. Where do I turn to find an embrace that welcomes, warms, and feeds my soul and my body? If I think I have nowhere to turn in the world, I look beyond the world. I look within and find the open arms and loving hands of my Creator, waiting silently, patiently, and with infinite mercy in my true home. Thinking from my most basic being, I decide to turn toward the only home I have ever known.

The long journey is not over. In one way, it has just begun. What I think waits for me exceeds my powers of imagination. I take a shaking step away from all I thought would feed, but only left me starving and alone.

I am going home.

Read about Rembrandt’s painting that hangs in the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia.


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