Luke 15:21

And the son said to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son."

The Prodigal Son is the image of the repentant sinner in Scripture.  It is tempting to talk at times of a "before" and "after" in conversion so as to represent baptism, not as grace, but as magic.  In such a false reckoning, we can fall into the trap of thinking that we don't sin anymore.  But the reality is that we do still sin.  Because of this, conversion is revealed to be an ongoing process, not a one-time shot.  To be sure, we are new creatures in baptism.  But the outworking of that new creation in our lives is a lifelong process.  And one of the Seven Streams of Grace by which that process is watered and kept alive is the sacrament of confession, where conversion continues and grows stronger.

Mark Shea


Mark P. Shea is a Catholic author, blogger, and speaker.

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