FORGIVE, AND YOU WILL BE FORGIVEN!
Lent is all about new beginnings; leaving the past behind us.
I write about it today because in Ireland, especially, we have
a wonderful way of double thinking. We will go to Mass and receive
the Eucharist and in every other way be model citizens, but
we can cherish and carefully guard old sores - sometimes for
years. If these sores involve family members, so much the better.
We can, of course, justify all this double-think by making an
exception, "they have been so bad, they can never be forgiven
for the wrong they did me."
All material things we must surely leave behind when "the
call" comes; and then we face the task of justifying before
God why we valued material things before people. We may have
differed about a will, a house or farm, over money; the wrong
may be real or imaginary, and lost many a night's sleep over
it. We may have bad-mouthed people over it and saw nothing wrong
with what we said. Why? because they are really bad people and
we cannot find words bad enough to describe the wrong they have
done. Obviously, "they" saw things differently and
perhaps the real truth lies somewhere in between.
Did I hear Christ say: 'Judge not, and you shall not be judged!'
Only He knows the full facts and we leave judgement to Him.
From the Cross did I hear Him say of those who had crucified
Him, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they
do" Every time we pray the Our Father we ask God not to
forgive us because we are unwilling to forgive others.
St. Paul was wise when he advised us never to let the sun go
down on our anger. Christ even told us that as we come to the
altar, if we are not at peace with our brother or sister that
we should turn round and first be reconciled. All the Gospel
evidence points in that direction. To-night why not go to bed
with a justifiably easy conscience - and sleep soundly! He or
she may not accept, but at least you will have done your part.