The parable of The Prodigal Son is as famous as any story coming from the lips of Our Savior Jesus Christ, and yet many only see half of the story! Likewise, this wonderful story provides us with yet another illustration of how the true Faith fits into the whole ecumenical disaster.
Two For One
Every reader of The Prodigal Son focuses on the son who demanded his inheritance, abandoned his family, and went off on a downward spiral of selfish greed, lust, and sin.
We all watch as the wayward lad comes to realize his errors, feels remorse, and humbly returns begging for morsels instead of demanding rights and privileges. Finally, we anoint the father a combination of saint and model parent as he forgives, forgets, and celebrates a son who had all but stabbed him in the back. The messages of respect, self-control, conscience, moral structure, remorse, forgiveness, mercy, and unconditional love are obvious and powerful. Despite these famous themes, most of us only see half of the lesson in this parable.
The contrast of the son who left is the one who stayed and continued to obey and serve his father. While the leaving son went wild, the staying one seemed a model of obedience and gratitude. However, at the end of the parable we see that this son who stayed was full of jealousy, anger, resentment, superficiality, and perhaps even hatred.
One must ask if he stayed with his father because he wanted to or because it was the right thing to do or if he only did so as a means to an end of getting his inheritance, of scoring points with his father. Perhaps the sin of his brother coupled with the reaction of his father was enough to reveal what was really in this other son's heart. Maybe the first son was outwardly lost but at least subsequently interiorly remorseful while the second son was outwardly obedient and dutiful but interiorly resentful and selfish. This parable, then, is more the story of two prodigal sons rather than one, and of a father whose love for both sought to bring both back in different ways.
We are all aware of the ecumania which is sweeping and which threatens our true faith. Perhaps the parable of The Prodigal Son tells us something about this threat to our salvation. Maybe we can see the father as our Heavenly Father epitomized in His True Catholic Faith, ever loving, merciful, forgiving, and seeking the salvation of His children provided that they return to Him in sincere remorse and resolve to obey and serve Him once again. Perhaps the first son represents those who have strayed as lost sheep following other so-called religions lured by wolves and deceivers pretending to be guides to good and benefit. Like that first son, these people have lost the passion and fervor for their faith. They have allowed themselves to become restless, seeking excitement and earthly passions rather than spiritual structure and guidance. Intoxicated by the evil one, they have rejected the true faith and moved toward greener pastures full of poison ivy ready to strangle their salvation. Hopefully, they will realize the error of their ways and humbly, remorsefully return seeking the embrace of the true faith once again.
The second son, on the other hand, represents those who claim to remain in the fold but actually are full of resentment, displeasure, selfishness, and personal agendas. Instead of supporting and enhancing the love and unity of the family of God, these people are like cancers from within who poison the waters of the true faith with their agendas and distorted beliefs. Just as the second son claimed to be a true son of his father as opposed to the abandoning son, these people pretend to be true Catholics because they still call themselves so and because they receive The Eucharist somehow, regardless of their interior state or its color and form. Just as the second son by his actions and thoughts sought to twist his household his way, so too these people seek to twist the true faith into their version of it rather than outright reject it as the first group does. Just as the second son may have been more dangerous because of his sinister and treacherous pretenses and true intentions and motives, so too this second group may be far more dangerous and damaging to the faith because of its poisonous and despicable effect on the faith and on those sincerely seeking to follow that faith.
Ecumania tells us that we must respect both sons because their intentions, thoughts, and actions are not malicious but merely an effort to "find themselves", to "be human", to seek their "human integrity", to find their "inner divinity" and to become "better people".
Ecumania tells us that it would be wrong for the father to impose his views and beliefs on either son, but that he should merely embrace both as they are. Ecumania would tell us that the return of the first son is not a surrender or admission of wrong but a desire to "come together as one" with his family. Conversely, since this return does not imply a surrender or admission of wrong by his son, the father should see the return as an invitation to "unite" with his son and find common ground on which both can leave peacefully. The ecumaniacs will tell us that the father will achieve nothing by confronting or imposing things on the first son since to do so would be intolerant, narrow-minded, and divisive. Likewise, they will tell us that the second son is merely expressing himself and has every right to vent his inner feelings. For the ecumaniac, this coming together of the father and both sons is a mutually equal, three-way compromise all in the name of unity and peace. Instead of seeing a loving, merciful father bringing back two wayward sons to the fold, the ecumaniacs see three family members putting aside what divides them to unite as one. No judgments, nobody is wrong or right, just unity would be the key idea in the eyes of our ecumaniacs. Look how many parishes push "unity of the community" as the reason why everyone must go along with what really is the agenda of tolerance, diversity and a sell-out of the True Faith.
Confusing Mercy with Compromise
Since the ecumaniac argues that all religions should be respected equally and no religion should see itself as above or better than the others, the resolution of the parable of The Prodigal Son is akin to a labor union settlement wherein all sides compromise and sacrifice something to create unity. Conversely, true Catholics should see this parable as two lost sons who need to feel remorse and seek the forgiveness of a loving, merciful father and return to the fold or be lost forever. This is not some three-way encounter group, but two sons, who owe obedience, love, loyalty, and respect to their father realizing their error and returning to the father's household and the father's rules. There is no socialism here where everybody is equal. Rather, two have a duty to respect, serve, and obey the third person, who is the father. In the same way, Christ called on us to call out, to seek, to open our arms to the lost sheep as the father in the parable did. He did not tell us to sit down with the lost sheep and hammer out a deal acceptable to all parties in the negotiation. Just as children should obey, respect, trust, and be loyal to their parents, so too we must obey, respect, trust, and be loyal to our true faith as the touch of our true Father in Heaven here on earth. Just as the parent who pretends to be an equal with his children often presides over subsequent chaos and disorder, so too there will be and there is chaos and disorder in this household which seeks compromise, negotiation, and equality where the Word and Will of God Almighty dictate otherwise.
Where true faithful see mercy and love, the ecumaniacs read compromise, total equality, and freedom of expression. Again, if the father and the children are equals, then what has the father gained through his experience as a parent if he is no better than his children? If a child can dictate terms to his mother, then what authority can the mother claim if that child can veto her voice? The Commandments tell us to honor, respect, and obey our parents, not to compromise, settle, and dictate to them. The Scriptures tell us to love, care for, and consider our children, not enter intense strategic meetings with them.
Just as the child is not the equal authority of the parent, so too the lost sheep are not the equal of their shepherd nor are those distant through a false religion equal to the one true faith since then that one true faith would fail to be one and true. One Father created one people and that one people should honor, respect, and obey that Father through one voice in Christ and in no other way, for Christ is the only way to the Father. Freedom of choice and free will, then, is not freedom to choose among several ways to salvation but, rather, the freedom to choose salvation or perdition!
The parable of The Prodigal Son is a popular illustration for forgiveness, mercy, remorse, repentance, and unconditional love. However, in considering the two sons we may see that the one who stayed at home left much to be desired in his attitude, motives, and reactions. Likewise, we may see this story as representing two kinds of lost souls in relation to the one true faith as represented in the father. The first group has left the fold seeking earthly and selfish treasures among man-made beliefs. The second group, perhaps more dangerous than the first, has seemingly stayed in the fold while creating disunity, confusion, and revolt from within. Christ calls upon us to call for, seek, and embrace these two groups if they return to the one true faith. However, just as the father would be remiss to compromise his beliefs and moral codes merely to get his two sons back into a united household, so too our one true faith must never compromise itself to please its lost sheep. Ecumania tries to paint all of this as some mutual settlement among equals. The one true faith tells us that our Heavenly Father and His One True Faith must stand their ground and lovingly wait for our return, not in compromise, but in obedience, respect, and remorse. Ecumania would have the father exclaim, "we have found each other" while the one true faith will accurately reflect Scripture for they "were lost and now are found".