Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Forgiving Father in the key of F

The return of the prodigal son by Esteban Murillo
I shared this story last Sunday in my homily. It is actually the story of the prodigal son, or better yet, the Forgiving Father, written with emphasis on the letter F, all clean words from start to finish. So fasten your seat-belts, and here we go.

Francis the Foolish felt a filial fondness for his flawless, fastidious father, Ferdinand the Fourth. Following one February fortnight, Francis, feeling footloose and frisky, this featherbrained fellow forced his fond father to fork over five hundred forty five farthings. Fleeing to foreign fields, Francis finally frittered away his fortune on fickle females, firkins of foaming ale, freeloading friends, and feasting fabulously.
Finally facing famine and fleeced by his fellows-in-folly, he found himself a feed flinger in a filthy farmyard as a forlorn farmhand.. Footsore and fairly famishing, he fain would have filled his flaccid frame with foraged food from the fodder fragments. "Fooey, my father’s flunkies fare far fancier," the frazzled fugitive fumed feverishly, frankly facing facts.

Frustrated by failure and filled with foreboding, fortunately the frazzled fugitive fled forthwith to his faraway family. Falling fatigued at his father’s feet, he floundered forlornly, and feebly phrased his feelings: "Father, I have flunked and fruitlessly forfeited family favor . . .forgive me" But the far-sighted and faithful father, forestalling further future flinching, frantically flagged the flunkies to fetch forth the finest fatling and fix a feast. "Fetch a fatling from the flock and fix a feast for Francis. Faster! Faster!"

Francis' feisty, fault-finding brother Frederic frowned upon his father's forgiveness of Francis' former philandering.His fury flashed but fussing was futile. The far-sighted father figured, "Such filial fidelity is fine, but what forbids fervent festivity? - for the fugitive is found! Unfurl the flags. With fanfares flaring, let fun and frolic freely flow. Former failure is forgotten, folly forsaken. Forgiveness forms the foundation for future fortitude."

The far-sighted father, forestalling future family fissures flagged his flunkies. "Fetch a fatling from the flock and fix a feast for Francis. Forthwith. Fall to! Faster!"  Frederic the Feculent, Francis' feisty, fault-finding brother, frowned upon his father's forgiveness of Francis' former philandering.
"Filial fidelity is what fathers are for, Frederick," said Ferdinand with feelings flowing. "Forsooth, the fugitive is found, so what forbids festivity? Fly the flags freely, amid fifes, fiddles and fanfares... FLING A FEAST!"And the faithful felt that Francis' former foibles should be freely forgiven. Francis, face flushed, foreswore frippery forever more by faithfully following his forgiving father Ferdinand, with his frater Frederic finally feasting with the rest of the faithful.

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