Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Getting Rid of Narrow-Mindedness

A priest writes in a bulletin on his experience meeting someone from the past. They shook hands but the priest noticed from the facial expression, not all was well. No words on leaving the encounter brought memories from the past.

He remembered planting a lot of trees on the parish grounds and this individual was opposed. Since the priest thought he was in the right, he was angry at the opposition. No reconciliation or forgiveness, even after a long absence no healing. His facial expression remained with the priest and he felt deep sorrow for failure to reconcile

One day working in the parish grounds a man in his fifties joined him. Working together he asked him where he was from. He was from another parish but he was coming out to the priest's parish. The priest found this strange so he asked why.  The man was not too keen on speaking but because the priest kept on asking he told him the whole story.

He was a member of the nearby parish but the pastor liked to drink and was often late for morning Mass. One morning he was later than usual and the parishioners more than usually upset at the situation. After Mass, he told the priest to drink less. The priest gave no answer and quickly left the spot.

A few days later, a member of the pastoral council told him: "Why did you lose your patience with the pastor?  He doesn't even want to see your face again." The individual knew that these words came from  anger but they were hard to accept. His first thoughts were to leave completely but then decided to move his registration to the nearby church.

This made the writer think long about his own lack of forgiveness and made a new resolve. God always forgives, we don't have that kind of freedom. He goes on to quote some words from spiritual books that have helped.

* We must accept people with big hearts full of love. People have to live with the basic consciousness of 'It's okay.' In community we are dealing with all kinds of individuals they are all members of the same body why am I so narrow-minded, intolerant, ungenerous with the family community? When a person crosses me I am quick to respond. Why is that so often the case?

* Do not make demands. What I desire is that the other persons be different. I expect my demands to be what is. If what I expect is not realized, I'm upset.

* I must also forgive myself. You have to forgive others, but you also have to forgive yourself. This is the most important point in a forgiving heart. Sins in life often darken and leave wounds. Through deep repentance and forgiveness, we must remove the unpleasant feelings and accusations against ourselves for then we can forgive people with humble, healthy hearts.

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