Greetings fellow Network of Love Lovers!
I hope your week is treating you well. Tonight, I am thoroughly looking forward to seeing many old friends: today is my 21st birthday and I am having a party to celebrate. The party will also serve as a fundraiser for my efforts to run the Chicago Marathon for Team in Training, an organization that raises money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The party starts at 9 pm at Live Bar in Milwaukee (just off of North and Farwell) for anyone of age who may be interested in coming.
Real short this morning (I don't have much time...I really should put a few hours of work in at my job for the Archdiocese Vocations Office before taking off this afternoon to celebrate and be with friends!).
This morning, as I read the Gospel reading for today, I was struck by one line. The reading is from the middle of the famous sermon on the mount, presented in Matthew's Gospel.
"If you forgive others their transgressions,your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others,neither will your Father forgive your transgressions."
It reminds me of a conversation I had a few days ago at dinner with my parents. We talked about how our church needs to be a church of absolute reconciliation: reconciliation within, reconciliation without. The walls of the church need to be thin enough to allow whispers of forgiveness to seep through, penetrating the depth and soul of the institution the world knows as the Roman Catholic Church. Reconciliation can take place on an individual level and on a massive scale. When we say, "I forgive you" to a person who has deeply hurt us, we are saying, God, forgive them. Our words of forgiveness become words that can become tears of joy, as the pain drips down our cheeks, as we pluck the log out of our own eye so that we may see our sister or brother more clearly. That sister and brother, whatever they may have done to us, becomes the light of Christ. In a way, they become purified, just as we become purified, just as our Heavenly Parent is perfect and pure.
When we forgive someone, we forgive our self for our own hardness of heart. But this is not an easy thing to do. I know this. There are wounds in my own heart that I know need to be further cleansed, processed, ironed out. Here is a short little prayer asking God for the grace to be a reconciling person, to process and ultimately release those wounds:
Lord, I know there are flowers in the pavement and there are flowers in the park.
Lord, make these flowers that grow in our world today, instruments to weed out my own hardened heart.
May we all find the peace that reconciliation can bring. To my sisters and brothers today, I say "Peace be with you!" Today, let's all try to forgive a person that has wronged us. It might make our day feel more right---and may we shout, from the dark night of our soul, "bring on the bright light!"
peace and blessings.
your friend bob : )