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Catechism of the Catholic Church

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1439 The process of conversion and repentance was described by Jesus in the parable of the prodigal son, the center of which is the merciful father: 37 the fascination of illusory freedom, the abandonment of the father's house; the extreme misery in which the son finds himself after squandering his fortune; his deep humiliation at finding himself obliged to feed swine, and still worse, at wanting to feed on the husks the pigs ate; his reflection on all he has lost; his repentance and decision to declare himself guilty before his father; the journey back; the father's generous welcome; the father's joy - all these are characteristic of the process of conversion. The beautiful robe, the ring, and the festive banquet are symbols of that new life - pure worthy, and joyful - of anyone who returns to God and to the bosom of his family, which is the Church. Only the heart Of Christ Who knows the depths of his Father's love could reveal to us the abyss of his mercy in so simple and beautiful a way.

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Where this paragraph appears in the Catechism:

TABLE OF CONTENTS

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PART TWO: THE CELEBRATION OF THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERY

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SECTION TWO: THE SEVEN SACRAMENTS OF THE CHURCH

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CHAPTER TWO: THE SACRAMENTS OF HEALING

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ARTICLE 4: THE SACRAMENT OF PENANCE AND RECONCILIATION

Notes for the above paragraph:

37 Cf. Lk 15:11-24.

English Translation of the Cathechism of the Catholic Church for the United States of America © 1997, United States Catholic Conference, Inc.