The Prodigal Daughter

“Be gentle with yourselves,” Erik, our director, told us as we began our 8-day silent retreat. After a few more instructions, he sent us off to pray with scriptures that spoke of God’s enduring, present, and attentive love for us.

During my first one-hour prayer periods, I meditated on Psalm 139:1-18 and Isaiah 43:1-7. The wonder and truth of God’s love for me felt welcoming. The next day, Eric asked me to take a couple of prayer periods praying with special moments from the past year and spend another one praying with a few particularly painful moments. Together, God and I returned and lingered in those times of joy and sorrow. Tears came easily; I felt deeply loved.

Erik asked me what that was like for me.

“God sees me,” I said. Perhaps it was the tone of my voice, but I didn’t need to explain how complete and compassionate God’s seeing of me was and how wonderful that felt.

Erik suggested that I pray with the parable of the prodigal son. “Hold on to the grace of being seen and ask for the grace of confusion,” he said. “By that I mean, the surprise we experience as we discover that God loves us even more than we thought.”

When I prayed with the prodigal’s story, I was struck by how the young man wasted what was given to him. I thought about the wasted opportunities I’ve been given–specifically, opportunities to love. I miss those opportunities when I’m stuck in a NO. In that place, I don’t see past what will make me feel good.

I imagine myself returning to the Father who is waiting for me. He sees how often I get stuck. He knows how much I want to love.

He embraces me and kisses me; he is relieved and glad that I’m home. He puts a ring on my finger and calls his servants to get me a robe and shoes. “Prepare a feast!” he orders. Then he reaches into his pocket and says, “Here are more opportunities to love.” He opens his wallet and thousands of opportunities fly out.

He can see the “Why?” on my face.

He laughs. “Because you’re my daughter!”

It isn’t a reward for the opportunities I have taken to love. Nor is it because I need to make up for what I’ve done wrong or need to get this right.

He showers me with gifts simply because I am his.

But while he was still far off, his father saw him
and was filled with compassion;
he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him.
–Luke 15:20 (NRSV)

* * *

Love Mischief for the World

Erik Sorensen, SJ, flew out to Vancouver from Montreal this July to direct an 8-day silent retreat for the Jesuit Spirituality Apostolate of Vancouver (a group of spiritual directors who lead people through the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises in Daily Life). Erik grew up in Red Deer, Alberta and completed a degree in aerospace engineering. But instead of pursuing a career with NASA or a prestigious engineering firm, he joined a religious order. His desire to love God has led him on a number of adventures including the Canadian Canoe Pilgrimage from Midland, Ontario to Montreal, Quebec to promote reconciliation with the first peoples of Canada.

What love mischief are you and God doing to care for the earth?
Let me know and I will include it in an upcoming post.

Credits and References:
“Angel of Healing” sculpture by Susan Lordi. Photo by Anne Davis 773. Used with permission.
Prodigal Son FranzMayerstainedglass  Creative Commons
Photo of Erik Sorensen used with permission.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2019.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without permission from Esther Hizsa is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided there is a link to the original content and credit is given as follows: © Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim 2013-2019.

About Esther Hizsa

Esther is a spiritual director and writer. She lives in Burnaby with her husband, Fred, and they have two grown children and two grandchildren.
This entry was posted in Prayer, Praying with the Imagination, Reflections, Stories and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to The Prodigal Daughter

  1. audreyhoehn says:

    Thank you for this. I needed it 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi, Esther! I appreciate your “Pilgrim’s Progress”! Thought I’d let you know that a friend gave me the Angel of Healing ornament some years back. Very sweet. Hope you and your family are well. God bless, Joy ________________________________

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Esther Hizsa says:

    That’s so cool. Yes we are doing well. I hope you and your family are doing well too.


  4. Donna says:

    Thank you for this Esther! What a relief and delight! My lost opportunities to love do not disappoint Father, He doesn’t groan and express disappointment. Rather, He gives me more and more opportunities! I am SO thankful!! Hope that you are having a lovely summer. Blessings, Donna


    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: The Best Day Ever | An Everyday Pilgrim

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