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

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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A Jesuit Off-Broadway

Center Stage with Jesus, Judas, and Life's Big Questions

Theater and theology share the stage in Fr. James Martin’s A Jesuit Off-Broadway, the true story about the making of a celebrated play.

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Awake My Soul

Contemporary Catholics on Traditional Devotions

A contemporary look at traditional devotions from well-known Catholic writers.

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