Tuesday adoration….a deeper forgiveness

What if Jesus had told Peter to forgive his enemy seven times, instead of seventy times seven times? (Matthew 18:22)

Seven times would have still been quite generous.  But we don’t have just a generous God, we have an extravagant, magnanimous, glorious and infinitely loving God.  And He desires that we imitate Him as much as possible with our entire being,  created so lovingly in His Own Divine Image.

I was thinking these thoughts today during Eucharistic Adoration….thoughts about how grateful I am that we have a God Whose Goodness is beyond all comprehension.

“Seek the last place….”   But Lord, what about a place in the middle?  No compromises.  Our God is Perfect Holiness, and Jesus calls us to “be perfect, therefore, as Your Heavenly Father is Perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)

Returning to my original thought, I began to focus on forgiveness.  I tend to think this is one of my stronger areas.  I don’t like to hold grudges.  That’s not because I am particularly charitable, but more because I really crave peace in my life, and so I try to avoid ongoing disagreements or being estranged from others.

Gazing at the beautiful white Host in the monstrance before me, I began to go over in my mind the people in my life who have hurt me the most.  I ticked through them all and then said, “Yes Lord, I think I have forgiven everyone.”

All alone with Jesus, I thought of how He forgives.  “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”  (Psalm 103:12)

And then gently, Jesus reminded me that although it is true that I hold no grudges, I do still find my mind sometimes wandering back to those hurtful places where I have been previously wounded….especially if that person has recently offended me again.

But Jesus wants Perfect Forgiveness….or at least a constant striving for it in this life.  We are still holding on a bit whenever we re-visit the memory.  An offense deliberately recalled is a debt not completely cancelled.

Jesus reminded me how much I rejoice that He forgives me so completely, even “forgetting” my sins, and He, Who has forgiven me so much, asks that I endeavor to generously forgive others the trifles committed against me.  For their debt is so tiny compared to mine.  I should consider it a privilege to have something to forgive, in imitation of my Lord.

And Jesus, without Whom I can do nothing made me understand that He will heal the painful memories together with me, for I must do my part and restrain my mind from returning to past hurts.  And He will do the rest.

In the midst of the above, I read a beautiful passage from Five Pillars of the Spiritual Life:

Forgiveness is also a primary manifestation of compassion and love, for it is truly a gift of self.  Recall that we need to forgive when someone has truly done us an injustice.  In a way, we own the degradation and the pain of that injustice; it is like a debt that we can hold onto forever (even though the other person might not acknowledge it or intend to rectify it.)

When we forgive, we let the debt go, and it is like giving away a prized possession, or , better, an important part of ourselves.  When we do this it truly manifests the highest degree of generosity for the good of the other and even the human community.  This is love………It puts the other ahead of us.

Five Pillars of the Spiritual Life
By Father Robert Spitzer, SJ
Kindle edition, Location 735-736
(emphasis, mine)

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8 thoughts on “Tuesday adoration….a deeper forgiveness

  1. Beautiful reflection. I have read so many articles (especially in marriage) that state how healing forgiveness is. Those wounded parts of us take some time to heal even though we have given forgiveness. I, too, do not like to hold grudges and forgive easily…but yes…I do think of things in the past that have wounded me…they are not small things by no means but still require complete forgiveness.

    I can tell I am tired today because I wanted to write something else but it left my mind : ) Have a blessed day!

    • Hi Theresa. Maybe you could add another subject to your homeschool curriculum….naptime. Sounds good to me; I’ll join you and Angelina 🙂
      It is hard to heal those hurtful memories, but I know the Lord so wants us to have the peace that comes from being healed. I think we slow down the process when we allow ourselves to keep returning to them…hugging that debt we are owed to us still. At least that has been my experience. Jesus is saying, “let go.” And I’m answering, “Not yet..” But I keep trying. Have a beautiful and restful weekend! God bless you always! xoxo

  2. Oh how I needed this today, Patricia. Forgiveness is the key to the peace we crave in our lives, isn’t it? But I find I fall short of the forgiveness God requires when I rehearse old injuries or respond to new injuries based on the past. Yet God is gracious to catch me in the middle of a rehearsal every time! Like today.
    I think I’m a little weakened from all the stress of caretaking and loss, but that’s no excuse..I must learn to guard my thoughts in this regard.
    Thank you for sharing from your time in prayer.

    Love and Blessings +

    • Caroline, you and your family are very much in my thoughts and prayers. I too “rehearse.” And then I ask myself, “Why?” Going back to the pain is only more painful. It doesn’t make any sense, but somehow most of us do it. It’s sort of like licking our old wounds. I’ve really been working on this for a while lately, and trying to stop that tape from rewinding and playing again as soon as I notice I’m going there. The Lord is so good and rewards our least efforts with His help and we make a bit of progress. It is so true that we can only have peace when we let go of the past.

      I like what Father Spitzer wrote about offenses committed against us being like debts that are owed to us…and we seem to treat them that way. But we must forgive the debtors even if they don’t “pay up.” Then, we are free to truly love.

      Take care of yourself during these difficult days. As you wrote in your comment to me on your blog…who will know us and love us like those who have always been with us. I remember feeling so orphaned after losing both of my parents…because I was orphaned. Thank God, we will see them all again!

      Love and prayers xoxo

  3. Patricia,
    You made an important point in your reflection about how God forgets our sins when we repent of them. I think that is the hardest part for us mere creatures~the forgetting. It is one thing to say and mean that we have forgiven someone, but I think the real test of this comes in the forgetting, if we are able to let it go and not go back to the hurt.
    I cringe when I hear people say: “I can never forgive this person or what they have done.” I don’t think they realize they are hurting themselves more than the person they refuse to forgive.
    Thanks for this beautiful reflection, and glad you had a nice hour with Jesus. 🙂

    • Karin, don’t you think our “remembering” has something to do with our pride? God forgets so perfectly because He is so humble and loving. Even after forgiving, we still hold onto the memory of those wounds.

      I too have heard people say that they could never forgive someone. I think, more than anything else, that sin of unforgiveness would terrify me at judgment. How could we expect Our Lord to forigve us…and He warned us that we will be judged as we judge others. And as you alluded to, such a person is really hurting themselves and keeping peace from their souls.

      Karin, I actually had two hours alone with Jesus 🙂 My 4pm prayer partner had to visit someone in the hospital, and no one else visited during that hour or the next! it was such a gift to be alone with Jesus…and to stay awake too! (I’m usually on antihistamines, and fighting sleep.)

      I hope your blog break is going well, but am so glad to see you still commenting. Keeping you in prayer…..

  4. I too have memories that still need some healing.
    Although I have forgiven the individuals concerned with painful past events..the emotions connected to these events are often lying just beneath the surface and can surpise me by how volatile they are.
    That is to say, the feeling of shock that whatever happened, actually happened.
    It seems to me that there is a kind of spiritual Post-Traumatic Effect Syndrome that can make our soul ill if we allow it to.
    I have to be very firm with myself at times and really enter into battle with my thoughts and memories.
    If I allow myself to give in to the pull of past pain I can be sucked into a dark pit before I know It.
    This is not what the Lord wants.
    And It does me no good to go there!
    Instead, I have to remind myself of the way the Lord was with me through it all and how He brought me through to be where I am today.
    blessings..Trish

    • Trish, so good to see you here! I hope you are doing well…I love visiting your blogs and enjoying the visual beauty, as well as your profound sharings.
      I know what you mean about those emotions right beneath the surface. We do have to be firm with ourselves not to “go there.” But what has helped me the most is simply to bring them to Jesus, and to ask Him to heal these memories. It does take time, but He deepens our forgiveness and leads us to pray for those who have offended us…and so makes us resemble Him in His Own Forgiveness. I was just thinking yesterday how the Lord makes us grow through suffering. It is a great mystery, but we truly become so much stronger, and wiser when we allow Him to accompany us through the fire. It is hard to forgive and forget, but so worth the effort.
      “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”

      Much love,
      Patricia xoxo

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