Sunday, Mar. 6th 2016

REJOICE – Sunday Reflection by Fr. Paul Sheller

Toward the conclusion of the fourth chapter of the Rule of St. Benedict, after outlining The Tools for Good Works, St. Benedict reminded his monks, “Never lose hope in God’s mercy.” This small yet incredibly powerful phrase comes to mind as the Gospel describes the younger son, having squandered his inheritance on an immoral lifestyle, is now found hungry, alone in a foreign country, and has lost all sense of his dignity.

Sadly, there are many people in the world who fall into similar despair because they have lost all hope in their lives. Without the virtue of hope, we don’t really believe God can bring us fulfillment, and we construct our own version of happiness out of greediness and our unbridled desire for power or pleasure.

The Prodigal Son’s decision to return home is similar to our choice to repent of our sins and confess our failings in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We feel sorrow for turning away from the Father and recognize how our sins have alienated us from God and from the image of God in which we were created. In the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we encounter a Merciful Father, much like the father who sees his son at a distance and runs out to embrace him. Through the grace of the Sacrament we receive the Father’s love and rediscover our true identity as beloved sons and daughters. The experience of God’s mercy leads us to a profound joy that is not to be squandered or kept selfishly to ourselves, but rather is to be shared with all whom we encounter.

During this fourth Sunday of Lent, also called Laetare (“Rejoice”) Sunday, it is well worth spending some quiet time with the Lord thanking Him for the mercy He shows us each day, and the great privilege it is to be called His beloved sons and daughters.

2013 Paul Sheller

Fr. Paul Sheller, O.S.B., a monk of Conception Abbey, was ordained a priest in 2013. He serves as the Abbey Vocation Director and Chaplain at Conception Seminary College. His range of hobbies include sports (cycling), photography, and stained glass.


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