Thou art baptised, thou art illumined, thou hast been anointed with the Holy Chrism, thou art sanctified, thou art washed: in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.Today marks the fifth anniversary of my entry into Christ's Church. On the 6th of February, 2006, being the 19th of February by the civil calendar, I received the double Sacrament of Baptism and Chrismation. This was to have been at Pascha of that year but, for particular reasons, was brought forward to the Sunday of the Prodigal Son, itself a very fitting time for being received as an adopted son of the Father.-from the rite of Chrismation
This year, the Sunday of the Prodigal Son falls tomorrow, and in preparation I have been reading the homily of St Gregory Palamas on the Prodigal Son. He makes some very good points about the detail of this parable that I had never previously considered, and makes me realise just how much I have inherited as a child of God. When I, as a result of my baptism, am able to stand with my brothers and sisters and cross myself, and sing 'Our Father', I am claiming all that is promised to the children of God who are adopted through the grace of baptism. The kingdom of God, the riches of heaven, the promise of growth into the life of God: I find this astounding once again, and it is in the Liturgy that I find this in its fullness.
There are two points in this homily that touch me most. St Gregory points out that the father in the parable only divides his estate into two portions: one for each of his sons. Nothing does he hold back for himself, having no need of such and being filled with generous love for his sons. It is only we who are in need of the grace that emanates from God. The second is that the Son demands of the father what he has no right to even request. The inheritance that is alotted to him is given only because of the father's loving generosity and is his. It reminds me of how much of what is good is often taken for granted and how little I sometimes acknowledge the source of these things.
I was also pleased and not a little disturbed to find elements of St Gregory's homily that bear directly on my struggle of faith last year, as though he himself had endured the same thing. Of course, it is perfectly possible that he had.
In any case, five years have passed, I have been relieved of many romantic ideas and like to think that I have grown a little amidst the numerous failures, thanks to those who have looked after me and guided me. I look forward to seeing where the next five years take me.
Having foolishly abandoned thy paternal glory, I squandered on iniquities the riches which thou gavest me. Wherefore, I cry to Thee with the voice of the prodigal son, saying, 'I have sinned before Thee, O compassionate Father. Receive me as one repentant, and make me as one of thy hired servants.'-Kondak from the Sunday of the Prodigal Son