Our Grave Obligation To Forgive
By Monsignor Charles M. Mangan
The Parish Visitors of Mary Immaculate (www.parishvisitorsisters.org), an inspiring Religious Institute of Women whose Motherhouse is located in Monroe, New York, publish The Parish Visitor, a helpful quarterly magazine.
In the issue dated Fall 2005, there is on page 18 a beautiful reflection by the Most Reverend James Timlin, D.D., the Bishop Emeritus of Scranton (Pennsylvania), entitled “Love One Another.” This meditation derives from his Homily that was given on the first evening of World Youth Day—not a WORLD away, a retreat held August 18-21, 2005 on the grounds at the Sisters’ Marycrest Motherhouse attended by 95 young people in conjunction with World Youth Day in Cologne, Germany.
Let’s allow the Bishop to speak to us.
* * *
When the allied soldiers found the Nazi concentration camp at Ravensbruck where about 92,000 women and children died, they found a note tied to a rock alongside a dead woman and child. It is actually a prayer written by one of the women:
“O Lord, when I shall come with glory into Your kingdom, remember not only the men and women of good will; remember also those of ill will.
“But do not only remember the suffering they have inflicted on us. Remember the fruits we bought thanks to this suffering: our comradeship, our loyalty, our humility, the courage, the generosity, the greatness of heart which have become part of our lives because of our suffering here.
“May the memory of us not be a nightmare to them when they stand in judgment. When they come to judgment, let all the fruits that we have borne be their forgiveness. Amen. Amen. Amen.”
Those are the exact words of the prayer that was written on that note.
You look at yourself. Put yourself up against that kind of great love and forgiveness to see how far we have to go. How much road we have to travel to become people who can be so loving and forgiving under those horrendous circumstances, just like our Lord as He was being nailed to the Cross. “Father, forgive them,” He said. “They don’t know what they are doing.”
This is what we mean by “love one another.” It’s not easy; it never was easy to love your enemies, to love your neighbor. It’s not ever going to be easy. Yet, that is what we are called to be. To be people like that . . . to be young people like that.”
* * *
We can’t forgive our brothers and sisters unless we are first rooted in the grace of Christ. And what is the primary source of God’s sanctifying grace for us? The Seven Sacraments! When we receive the Sacraments worthily and often, we increase in conformity to Jesus Our Risen Lord.
We ask Our Blessed Lady to intercede for us before the throne of the Most Holy Trinity, that we may grow in the likeness of Christ Our King.
http://www.catholic.org , VA
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan - Official, 390 66616-1125
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