Today I am so thankful that God is a Merciful Father that loves us wherever we are. We are all prodigals. If we were "good", like the older son in the parable, we would not be able to appreciate the incredible love that our Father has for us. In His mercy, he longs for us when we leave Him and he still loves and protects us, even as we wander and squander His gifts. As we find our way back, He meets us with joy, not waiting for us to come up to the house, but running down the road and pulling us into an embrace.
He does this over and over.
The power of His Mercy, if we receive it with open hearts and allow it to work in us, begins to sculpt the rough edges and sharp corners of our hearts, as surely as an artist takes a rough stone and cuts and shapes it into something beautiful. We are changed by mercy. We become new every time we ask Him to forgive us and receive His sacramental grace. We are strengthened and lifted.
It isn't easy, and it isn't natural to see ourselves the way He sees us. Some of us are too prideful to go to Him, because it means letting go of our old way of life. Some of us are afraid of the changes that we will have to make and afraid that we will fall again (we will). Some of us feel like we are so unworthy that we can't even ask for forgiveness. Yes, we are all unworthy. There is nothing we can ever do to be good enough to be called children of God, and still He calls us. We will fall and fail, we will crawl back to the foot of the cross and beg for His forgiveness, and He will meet us and embrace us and rejoice with us every time.
We can separate ourselves from doing His will. We can refuse to live in the light. We can, through fear or stubbornness, refuse to turn back to Him. We cannot, however, keep him from loving us. He will love us and wait for us until we take our last breath.
He wants more than anything to be a part of every day and every moment. He wants to show us how beautiful life can be.