The Miracle of Forgiveness
The renowned English poet Alexander Pope stated: “To err is human; to forgive is divine.” Frequently and in unequivocal terms, Jesus has reaffirmed the indispensable obligation of all to forgive those who offend us, to pray for our enemies, and to do good to those who hurt us! This is the ideal we strive for, but how difficult it can be! To attain this lofty spiritual goal, we must fervently pray for the gift of God’s grace, the virtue of humility, beg Our Lady of Sorrows to attain for us the grace to forgive, as she did, and most importantly, spend time meditating on the Lord Jesus’ Passion and Death.
To forgive our enemies, to pray for them and to love them goes far beyond our fallen human nature. We desperately need God’s overflowing and abundant graces. Saint Augustine says that we are all beggars before God. Therefore, we should beg Him for the grace to forgive and trust that God will bestow His abundant grace upon us. It is also important to respond to God’s grace of mercy and forgiveness immediately, so that vindictive thoughts do not fester in our minds. Another efficacious spiritual weapon is that of humility. If forgiveness proves laborious and near impossible, then call to mind your worse sin and reflect on the fact that God forgave you as soon as you begged for His mercy and forgiveness in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Pray to Mary, who except for Jesus Himself, suffered more than any human person, as she heard and witnessed her only Son suffer and die on the cross, after being brutally mistreated. In spite of this, Our Lady of Mercy, forgave from the depths of her Immaculate Heart. May she attain for us the grace to forgive and be merciful, as she was! The most convincing motivational force to compel us to forgive those who offend us, is the serene contemplation of Jesus hanging on the cross, shedding every drop of His most Precious Blood to save all humanity, but in particular my own immortal soul.
As we continue our Lenten journey, let us ask the Holy Spirit to bring to light any trace of unforgiveness for past hurts, which may still linger in the depths of our minds and hearts. Then, through fervent prayer to our Savior for the gift of His grace and the intercession of our Mother Mary, offer wholehearted forgiveness to all! What relief! What comfort! What joy! What a miracle! It is a gift you give yourself!
God love and bless you always!
Sr. Kathleen Fitzpatrick, IHM