David Roberts, Ascent of the Lower Range of Sinai, lithograph, 1839
Station Three: Examination of Conscience
Had you desired it, I would have offered sacrifice, but you take no delight in burnt-offerings. The sacrifice of God is a troubled spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. -Psalm 51:17-18
Did the prodigal son examine his conscience or did he just realize he couldn't digest bean pods? Taking time to explore the conscience isn't the usual Saturday-afternoon pastime these days. But when you do, you careen around in a fun house hall of mirrors, seeing your soul squat and shrunken, elongated and emaciated, wobbling and shimmering in the distortions of your loves and passions. After the first shock character defects are not so frightening after all—they're funny— especially when the same mirrors surprise you time after time. A visit to the Labyrinth of the Deadly Sin helps correct interior chaos, re-positions the imbalances, helps you recover your true self waiting to be released from illusion.
For behold, you look for truth deep within me, and will make me understand wisdom secretly. -Psalm 51:7
Holy One, come to my aid.
Guide me, inspire me, instruct me, protect me, be with me as I go out and as I return. Amen
The Story of the Prodigal Son Continues
But when he came to himself he said, 'How many of my father's hired hands have bread enough and to spare, but here I am dying of hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired hands." '
So he set off and went to his father.
But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him.
Then the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.'
But the father said to his slaves, 'Quickly, bring out a robe-- the best one-- and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!' And they began to celebrate.