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December 13, 2012 / Ronald Chapman

The Prodigal Son

De Franco smiled warmly at him. “You see, God does not need you to believe in Him to use you. He only requires sufficient openness in you in order to act through you.”

The words stopped Pitcairn in his mental tracks for what felt like a very long time. “I need not believe?”

“Of course not. At least not in all the rules and dogma. There was that fine moment in the gospels when all a man had to do to receive a miracle was to act with enough faith to touch the hem of the Master’s robe. That’s all you’ve done, Kevin.”

A feeling descended over him. It was the same feeling he had felt with the Dalai Lama.

The priest looked at him with obvious kindness. “You just received the miracle of atonement. I can see it in your eyes and feel it oozing from you. It’s unmistakable.”

Pitcairn stared at him, then the story rushed forth. He told him of his experience on that long ago day when he was struck sober after an interaction with the Dalai Lama. Then he described in great detail the murder he had committed. All the while de Franco offered only kind expressions. When the pouring forth was complete, Pitcairn collapsed into his seat, drained by the outpouring.

After an extended silence, he looked at de Franco. “Aren’t you supposed to give me some kind of release now?” he asked with an uncomfortable wince.

The father roared with laughter. “You need nothing from me. You could never fall from Grace except in your own thoughts. That’s the teaching of the prodigal son … which is your story, Kevin. Welcome home.”


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