Pass It On #43
Now is the Time to Forgive
by Catherine Doherty
Forgiveness is one of the urgent spiritual needs and action of today! Truly there is no use beating about the bush. No use to hide behind rationalization. No use sharpening any kind of argument, philosophical or theological — man-made arguments!
Now is the time to forgive. Begin with oneself, for one must always begin with oneself to forgive oneself, for the Christians on the North American continent are guilt-ridden, and because of it often attack the ones before whom we are most guilty, in order to rationalize ourselves out of the dead end street to which we have come.
The Lord said, “Love your neighbour as yourself”. Which means we must love ourselves first, for we are, in a manner of speaking, our closest neighbour.
In order to love, one must forgive. For one cannot love the object of his hostility, his anger, his hatred, his un-forgiveness. Yes, we must begin with forgiving ourselves as our Father in heaven forgives us.
Simply, most sincerely, and with grave humility, we must acknowledge our sins before ourselves. This means that we have to go into the very depths of our own souls and bring them all forth, and after having begged forgiveness from God for them, forgive ourselves.
For how often have we gone to confession, been forgiven, but have remained uneasily, tragically guilty of those very sins that we have confessed to God, not trusting, as it were, either his love or his trust of ourselves or his forgiveness.
This is the hour in which we begin to understand that we must love one another, and that means forgive ourselves and everybody else!
It might seem utterly idiotic, stupid, irrelevant, to write an editorial on the Second Commandment and implore men across the world who may never read this editorial to begin to forgive.
Yet before our world in shambles, where greed rises to bare-faced openness and nobody even tries to conceal it... where evil means are used to ensnare and subject men to men... where all dams seem to have broken down, and the sticky, bleak and black waters of evil rise higher and higher across our cities and country, what else is there left to talk about but the Second Commandment of the Lord: to love God and love your neighbour. And that demands forgiveness; that demands mercy and compassion. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”
It is true that forgiveness, mercy and compassion may and probably will lead to the axiom of Christ — “Greater love hath no man than he lay down his life for his friends.” But then it would be most wonderful to die trying to forgive and love, than to die with hatred in your heart. To be able to forgive and love, or love and forgive, means to pray.
On the threshold of this Fall let us ask Miriam whom we call Mary, the Mother of God and of men, who loved and forgave... and forgave and loved the humanity that killed her Son, to teach us how to pray, how to love, how to forgive.
Adapted from Restoration, September 1973
Beginning Again: Recovering Your Innocence and Joy through Confession
by Catherine Doherty, with reflections from the Catechism of the Catholic Church
After sin, can love be rekindled, innocence renewed, joy restored? There is a great miracle in God, a great gift of God — what is lost can be restored! Using the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the writings of Catherine Doherty, Beginning Again will show you the healing joy and spiritual restoration that awaits in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Click here for more information.