Thursday, March 2, 2017

Forgiving an Act of the Strong

The editors of a bulletin for priests recall a story they heard at a meeting some years ago of the Focolare Movement. (A movement following the inspiration of Jesus: 'May they all be one' respecting diversity and focusing on dialogue)

A young woman who attended one of these meetings tells the group of her difficulty in carrying out what she knew to be her calling as a Christian and how difficult it was to live that life.

One day she came across the words in the Scripture to love your enemy and meditated on the words. No one was an enemy but there were many who she did not like. One person, a senior in the company she worked, hurt her feelings and for some time they were avoiding each other. Yet she knew this was not the Christian thing to do.

She began to plan on how to remedy the situation. She hadn't greeted the person for some time so that was her first step. The next day on entering the office at work the first person she met was the individual she was going to greet, but as soon as they met,  nothing came out of her mouth and the person quickly averted her eyes. To decide to love another is difficult but to put it into action is more difficult.

That night while praying she was not going to give up her desire to show love and the next day on her way to work and on the bus she kept mumbling to herself 'good morning, good morning' over and over again. That morning before she opened the door of the office she again repeated to herself: 'good morning'.  Entering  the office and seeing the person she very awkwardly uttered: "good morning!" The individual with a puzzled expression and bewildered acknowledged the greeting.

The next day she practiced again but this time it was much easier. She continued to make the effort to greet the person without much difficulty and gradually they began to speak.

One day when they were drinking coffee together they began to talk and the individual mentioned how they had been estranged for some time... "but thanks to you we are talking again"... The person was curious in knowing what prompted her to make the effort to return to the relationship they once had. I am a Christian and she needed to start living like one was her answer.

The incident is a very simple and common event in our lives. The editors mentioned this because it was an act of the will to overcome the emotions that paralyzed her. Feelings are difficult to overcome.  

We live with many different people. We bicker, dislike, give and receive scars but to say sorry is difficult. We end up losing many acquaintances hurting and being hurt and slow in asking for forgiveness to heal the estrangement. To humbly lower ourselves and overcome our self-respect is a monumental task all necessary to find peace in our own hearts.

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