‘He that saith unto the wicked, Thou art righteous; him shall the people curse: but to them that rebuke him shall be delight, and a good blessing shall come upon them.’
Truth is the centre of life. We should seek Truth both as individuals and as culture. Without this search, inner and external growth stops. ‘I will render to the man according to his work. I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; and lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down.’
There is an intrinsic connection between this ‘Truth as life-source’ and the story of the prodigal son. The great realism of the parable is that it is inevitable that one’s life grows in all directions. This is the mark of adulthood. We got entangled with so many unplanned situations, the story of others, and the consequences of their decisions. Life once centred on simplicity and security becomes like a ‘complex’, impenetrable forest. This complexity requires a centre: the ‘Truth’ of the book of Proverbs.
The prodigal son (whose life becomes utterly de-centred) recognises the need of returning. ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.’ He just defines his state. His recognition is repentance at the same time. Now he knows, again, that without this centre − Love as abode to share − existence ends up in utmost poverty.
These are verbal Icons, expressions of how the world is seen from Saint Augustine's..