- For many in the LGBTQ community, the journey of understanding and acknowledging one’s gender identity and/or sexual orientation can be similar to a feeling of being “lost.” If you experienced such lostness, how did you “come to your senses?” Who helped you and what animated you to “return home” and own your LGBTQ identity and dignity?
- When you “returned home” as an LGBTQ person or ally, was there someone amongst your circle of family and friends who “received and welcomed” you in the spirit of the father in this parable? What form did that welcome take? Why do you think this person (or persons) was most welcoming of you?
- Beyond sexual orientation or gender identity issues, have you ever felt trapped in a situation of shame or regret that seemed too great to overcome? What prevented you from going home? What finally made you decide to do so?
- Have you ever exemplified the “father’s” healing love and forgiveness for someone? What was that experience like? Is there someone currently who needs you to take on that role?
- As an LGBTQ person or ally, who does the “elder son” represent for you? How do you extend a hand to the “elder sons” in your life or family who would prefer that you be absent or figuratively “dead?” How do you explain the “father’s” love to an “elder son”?
“You have to realize that you are called to become the father.” These words of Sr. Sue Mosteller seem most appropriate to the short film, below, titled, “The Real Thing” by Brandon Kelley.
Much like Rembrandt’s painting, this film centers on, as Nouwen says, the “hands of the father.” In them healing becomes tangible and through them, “not only the tired child, but also the worn-out father find their rest.”