Did you ever hear people say that they are going out to find themselves? The prodigal son did that. And he did find himself. Sigh. So what? Big deal? Who was he before he went out to find himself? A freak-boy just so ready to treat his father like he was already dead? Yep. Great to come back to a self like that, huh? Wow! I found myself! Sigh.
His planned confession to his father says it all: selfish as ever. Sure, he plans to say that he did sin (which is great) and that he doesn’t deserve to be the son of his father (and that’s great too), but then his plan continues with a plot to get some bread just like the hired servants.
Its just so great that the father of this prodigal mess shows him such love of a father to a son that the prodigal son can’t continue beyond the confession of his sin and unworthiness. He father says, in fact, just to rub it in, that he, the father, found him, the son, and brought him back to life from life worse than death.
His father found him. When we are found by our dear Lord, that is when we come to know who we are, that is, those whom our dear heavenly Father loves just so very much. Then we can say we have found ourselves, for we can say who we are in relation to God, who finds us for us. Instead of going out to find ourselves, let’s just go before Jesus. Father, I have sinned against heaven and you. I’m no longer worthy to be called your son. Let’s put different words on that:
Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. My last confession was …. Since then, I accuse myself of the following sins: …
Then, receive your penance, a word of encouragement, and join in the heavenly Banquet of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Be a son of our Father. Be found by the overwhelming love of the Father. Be found to find yourself.
How do I know all this? Alas! The days of youth spent without salvation. Finding oneself just doesn’t work. Really. But now, thanksgiving, which is just so incredibly very wonderful. Real rejoicing.