Saturday, March 14, 2020

Prodigal: A life deprived of grace, our divine inheritance in Christ

Thou seest how that the heavenly goods are given to such as seek them. Neither oughtest thou to think the father to blame, because he gave to his younger son. In the kingdom of God there is no age of weakness, neither doth faith wax infirm with years. He, surely, who asked, deemed himself of sufficient age. And would that he had not left his father! then had he been ignorant of the obstacle of his age! But after that he had left his father's house, and had gone into a far country, he began to be in want. Well is he said to have wasted his substance, who hath cut himself off from the Church!

He took his journey into a far country. No man can go farther than to abandon his own better self, to leave, not his country, but his morals, and, as it were, in an hideous fever of lust after the world, to divorce himself from the ties that bind him to holy things. Yea, he that turneth his back on Christ, banisheth himself from his Fatherland, and becometh a citizen of the world. But we are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God, since we who sometimes were afar off, are made nigh by the Blood of Christ. Eph. ii. 19, 13. Let us not envy the pleasures of them who remain in the far country. We too have once been there, but, as saith Isaiah, they that dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. ix. 2. And that far country is the land of the shadow of death.

But we to whom the Lord Christ is the breath of life, are alive under the shadow of Christ. And therefore it is that the Church saith I sat down under His shadow with great delight. Cant. ii. 3.The prodigal son by riotous living wasted all the gifts of nature. Take warning, O thou who art made in the image and likeness of God, lest thou waste the same by brutish wallowing. Thou art the work of God; say not to a stock: Thou art my father, Jer. ii. 27, lest thou grow into the likeness of a stock, as it is written: They that make them are like unto them. 
Ps. cxiii. 16.

- Homily by St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan.
Bk. vii Comment. on Luke xv

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