Excessive, Extravagant, Reckless

Prodigal: Adjective

Excessive, Extravagant, Reckless.

“He ran”. (Luke 15:20)

Recently in my 6th grade class, we studied the parable of the Lost Son. Before reading the story, I asked the class what they remember about the scripture story. There were points of the son wanting his father’s inheritance, using all his money, eating with pigs, and then wanting to go back to his father. After recalling all the details of the story, I showed the class a video of a man’s perspective of the parable through slam poetry. Slam poetry is a type of poetry that expresses a person’s personal story or struggle in an intensely emotional style. It is very powerful, sincere, and moving. There were three videos with three different slam poetry perspectives: The Lost Son, The Older Son, and The Father.

In the video of The Lost Son, the son articulates passionately his experience. His words were intense as he describes his thought process of being lost, broken, and dirty. At one particular moment, he sees his Father in the distance. He sees that he is running to him. He shouts, “Dad Dad, why are you running?! Like you never run!” At this comment my class began to laugh. He goes on to say, “And how do you still recognize me? I’m dirty, I’m stained.”

Throughout the rest of my work day, the rest of my week, and possibly, the rest of my lent- my heart keeps repeating the words “He ran”. My track coach in high school used to make us run at a certain rate during practices. He would give us percentages to run at. We were told “This sprint is only 75% effort, 50% effort, 100% effort”. We had to learn to gage our running and the amount of effort we put into each sprint for training.

This parable is a reality of the Father’s love for us. Time and time again, the Father gives a 100% sprint to meet us. Every time there is even a mere glimpse of our hearts turning back to Him, he sprints. This doesn’t mean God just sprints to us once or twice or ten times, but constantly. Over and over again I fall and miss the mark. Over and over again, He sees me turn even the slightest bit and is in a full on sprint to greet me. He doesn’t give 75% effort because this is the thousandth time I’ve turned back. He doesn’t even give 99% effort because He knows I may leave again soon. He is only capable of choosing to give 100% in his sprint to meet us. His love for us is excessive. His love for us is extravagant. His love for us is reckless. Through hills and valleys, miles and miles apart, he sees us turn around and he runs to us.

For the rest of Lent, I challenge you to know this truth. I challenge you to know that He runs to you every time you return your heart to Him. I pray that He gives you the grace to experience the love of this action.  I hope you envision Him sprinting towards you from miles away. May each step of His sprint make you feel truly wanted, pursued, and cherished. Our Father’s love for us a reckless love- and he does not grow weary.

Briana CiancibelloBriana is a Catholic Doctrine teacher at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel school in Cleveland, OH. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Theology and Catechetics from the Franciscan University of Steubenville, OH and is excited to use these skills to bring her students closer to Christ and His Church. “My soul has been refined and I can raise my head like a flower after a storm.” -St. Therese