Unconditional Love 3 Minute Retreat
Unconditional Love

James Martin, SJ shares his reflection on today’s retreat:

I know I’m supposed to feel awe at the father’s unconditional love in the Parable of the Prodigal Son, and most of the time I do. But sometimes I feel more like the second son: angry that people who don’t “deserve it” might be the recipient of God’s forgiveness.

When I think about people who have mistreated me, or are mean to me, I think, "I hope they have to pay!" But my conflicted response points out an important part of this story: God’s love is not like our own. We can try to understand it by looking at, say, a mother’s love for her child—unconditional. But God’s love goes even farther than that. It’s prodigal—in the sense of being lavish, over the top, even wasteful.

And that’s a good thing, because all of us are in need of that forgiving love at different points in our life. So the parable could just as easily be called the Prodigal Father. Or the Prodigal God.


James Martin SJ

James Martin, SJ

James Martin, SJ, is associate editor of America magazine and a prolific author, writer, and editor.

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Books by James Martin, SJ

A Jesuit Off-Broadway

Behind the Scenes with Faith, Doubt, Forgiveness, and More

An Off-Broadway cast has plenty of questions about life and faith - and Fr. James Martin, author of My Life with the Saints, is just the right person to offer some answers in A Jesuit Off-Broadway.

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Mi vida con los santos

En Mi vida con los Santos James Martin, SJ nos presenta una conmovedora experiencia respect a su relación con los Santos—desde María, la madre de Jesús, hasta San Francisco o la Madre Teresa—y la manera personal en la que ha side dirigido por los heroes de la Iglesia a lo largo de toda su vida.

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Lourdes Diary

Seven Days at the Grotto of Massabieille

Fr. Martin's illuminating and humorous account of seven busy and gratifying days at Lourdes is a vivid description of a place with a special, mysterious spiritual presence.

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