Session #9

How to Love The Ones Who Give Us Crosses

Download the handoutDownload the hand-out for this session, Loving the Prodigal Son – Pope Francis.pdf. It’s a print-out of the text from Pope Francis’ homily that is quoted in this video.

The following video unpacks the Pope’s message, revealing how the merciful father in the parable of the Prodigal Son shows us how to deal with our loved ones who reject us, who reject the Truth, who reject faith in Christ.


For personal reflection:

Considering the “prodigals” you know, describe the different parts of the Prodigal Son Parable that you have experienced:

(1) Watching them make wrong decisions.
(2) Watching for clues of a turn-around.
(3) Embracing their return.

How would you like to handle each of these stages?

One participant answered it this way:

I have been trying (maybe too hard) to find a way to share my happiness with my adult daughters by example and joy, not pushing them to come back to the Church. They have all left the Church because priests who were close friends turned out to be — well, you can read between the lines. They did never hurt my girls physically, but spiritually…. I was no help, I was weak and at a loss back then too.

My oldest is taking care of her father (a good kid, even after the hell he put us all through). Now he is a lonely, old man who had three wives divorce him. I have forgiven him and suggested to my daughter that she try to get him back into the Church). I am nudging her (in helping him she will be helping herself) toward trying the parish she lives in. It looks like an active faith community. My youngest drives me on my errands and sometimes to my appointments with my priest (he’s my spiritual director). After listening to this session, an idea came to me to just ask her to come into the church, without pushing her to attend Mass yet. Hopefully she will feel what I did when I first entered the doors. Another seed from your talk that prayerfully will grow in the souls of all my kids and the prodigal ex-husband.

Another shared this:

This session provides the essential point in reflecting God’s mercy in our lives. The parable of Prodigal Son, which was explained in unique way by Pope Francis, brings me a new light to love the ones who give me crosses.

The main reason I am taking this course is to get some guidance how to face difficult people in my life in Godly ways. Those people, who are described as the “prodigals” in this session, are people with whom I interact the most in daily life. The closest persons are from another religion (Moslem); they don’t believe in Christ as Lord and Saviour.

I would like to share my experiences with my father, because this takes most of the time in my life, and God has used this trial to mold me according to His will.

I watch my father make a wrong decisions as he lives in adultery with a woman, converting her from Catholic to his religion. They even performed an informal marriage (sirri). My father thinks that his decision is right and feels really proud about it.

He also has made false accusations against my mother and me, by mentioning that his marriage to my mother was illegal; hence I am an illegal and rebellious daughter. At first, it hurt us (my mother and me), but little by little, God has guided and taught us that it is He Himself Who hurts the most, and He took all the hurt to the cross and into resurrection. He teaches us how to love my father unconditionally.

We notice that when we increase our tension against my father, the situation becomes worse. When we act humbly in the treatment of my father, and lowering our tones, the situation become more conducive. Hence, we learn that we need to show him the unconditional love which God has taught us. We need to show him the face of God’s mercy, which is always ready to embrace his return at anytime. And this is impossible to do by ourselves, but with God, nothing is impossible.

Currently, we are waiting for his return with opened arms. Somehow, God put it deep within my heart that my father will return to us, and I believe he will be saved by God’s mercy. Even though we still cannot see it, we just trust Him. We believe that God will make everything beautiful in His perfect time.

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