Forgiveness from the Heart
Author: Father Barry O’Toole, LC | Source: Catholic.Net
Jesus said to his disciples: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you."
Introductory Prayer: Dear Jesus, too often I compare myself with others. It's easy for me to find or imagine my superiority to them. I ignore you and your great goodness. I forget that everything I have comes from you and that I can't claim the credit for any quality and virtue, although I would like to. I wish to keep this truth in mind and to have an attitude of genuine humility in my heart. Here I am, Lord, to know and love you more through prayer.
Petition: Lord, help me to forgive from the heart.
1. The True Battlefield: Although it is difficult, we can usually bring ourselves around to excuse an injustice we have suffered. We forget about what happened, and we try to move forward. However, it is more difficult for us to forgive when we look into our offender’s heart and refuse to turn a blind eye to the goodness that is there. Our hearts are a battleground for good and evil, and to forgive is to be willing to help both the offender and ourselves overcome the logic of evil. It is to wager on the side of good and to trust that goodness is ultimately more attractive to the human heart than the idol of evil. Christ always looked into the heart and wagered on the side of good.
2. Turning the Other Cheek: “For if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them” (Luke 6:32). Christian forgiveness involves waiving our claim to damages. It means turning the other cheek. It means giving up our cloak as well. Yet all this is relatively easy in comparison to giving over our good name, to proceeding in charity even when we will be misunderstood. Even here, we must waive our claim to damages, willingly die in the furrow, and patiently await the Father to raise us up again.
3. Going the Entire Distance: The Christian ethic is positive. It does not consist merely in not doing bad things but in doing good things; building up positively. We change the world little by not doing things. Christ was not satisfied with that. He gave up his tunic, he gave up his good name, and he gave up everything—to the last drop of his blood. So often we feel good about ourselves because we measure up to our neighbor; but it is not our neighbor with whom we must compare ourselves. It is God with whom we must compare ourselves, and he has shown us how to be fruitful: by paying our ransom with his own blood. In forgiveness and mercy, his generosity is without measure.
Conversation with Christ: Dear Jesus, help me to seek perfection in loving you and my neighbor constantly. I want to travel the path of generous love because it is your path, and you are the source of all my happiness.
Resolution: I will be the first to offer an apology or a solution to build unity in my home and workplace.