[quote="Barbkw, post:2, topic:228726"]
First off, I want you to know that I'll keep your ministry in my prayers. You're continuing Jesus' work by bringing Him to these imprisoned people, people who Jesus also came to save from their sins. The story of the Prodigal Son (s) and your work there, and Jesus' Mission all come together inside those prison walls.
We all are sinners, however the incarcerated are often times faced with detention systems and living circumstances that place people on a wheel of perpetual aggression and negative behavior in order to survive.
I'm a wee bit addicted to watching episodes of Cops, Lockup, Bait Car, Super Max, Policewoman of ...etc.
"Lockup", the series that was filmed throughout a year in various prisons across the U.S., is very interesting.
I watched one episode on Lockup where the prison's minister had convicts (who were charged with murder & violent crimes) meet with a mother whose daughter had been abducted and killed.
The Prodigal Son (s) & Daughters parable is particularly difficult in prison settings. Many of these incarcerated people had no fathers in their homes and if they did, the dynamic in their homes may have been extremely dysfunctional.
I watched a father and son team on "Bait Car" being caught for grand theft auto.
I was listening on an EWTN program this week, where it was brought up that our biological fathers are not our fathers. God the Father is our father. Which might be helpful for incarcerated people to hear. Our souls are searching for and will return to Our Father.
Some thoughts on the Prodigal Son (s) & Daughters parable:
The Father in the parable was disgraced by both sons yet he met them both with empathy, compassion and forgiveness.
Jesus talked as well about the value of every lost sheep. That a good shepard would leave his entire herd in the desert, and walk out hunting for the one lost sheep. Once found, he would bring it back, reuniting the lost in celebration with the fold.
The parables talk about the value of every lost person and how it is possible with God to reconnect both with Him and with His family of believers.
St. Paul makes the comment as well, that even while we all were sinners; Jesus died for us. An action that humans don't tend toward. People will die for those they love, but they will not sacrifice for those who don't love them.
Jesus' parable asks us to draw back our internal swords that we many times use that harm our relationships with Father, neighbor / brother and with ourselves.
To do that, our hearts, minds and souls need continual conversion toward God and neighbor and a way to track that progress through a personal daily examination of conscience.
Fr. Altier's adult examination of conscience guide might be helpful for dealing with specific conditions and problems that prisoners face within prison walls (acts of commission and omission against neighbors).
Prisoners allowed visitation with family may find specific ways throughout their examinations that aid them toward building or rebuilding stronger family bonds while serving time.
The examination would also help those "tough guys" who continue to be reincarcerated due to their personal inability to forgive themselves and to find hope and recovery outside of the prison walls.
The retreat is a 3 day program based largely on the Cursillo model. The Prodigal Son is one of the early talks based as the first day is focused on "dying to Christ" and his redemptive Act of mercy on the Cross. During the afternoon of the first day we have a couple of priests added to the team of 12 volunteers who provide confession to the inmates. Typically this will last a couple of hours and is an amazing time.