People clapped, gasped and cried when a man pushed Father Joseph Terra into the room full of parishioners at St. Catherine of Siena on Monday.
Of course as Catholics that is what we are called to do. It is incredibly difficult to find forgiveness in such heinous acts but the priest is leading a good example of faith.
For many, forgiveness is a difficult virtue to master. When we learn the power and wisdom of forgiveness, we are bound to have reached an advanced level of spiritual maturity. Regardless the nature of any possible abuse that we may have endured, nor the severity of that abuse, full recovery from abuse cannot be achieved until we truly forgive our abuser(s). Any anger or resentment we hold within us, live and thrive within us, and become a part of our very self. We will never rid ourselves of this anger and resentment until we experience true forgiveness towards all. Seeing our tormentors suffer a thousand times over will only add to our own misery.
On the other hand, to endure unnecessary torment and misery is never righteous, but a perversion. Also, the righteousness of forgiveness should never involve our condoning abuse or any other forms of evil.
True forgiveness requires our valuing peace and love above all else. Experiencing forgiveness towards those who have wronged us resembles perfect love more so than perhaps any other human experience. Forgiveness involves recognizing and valuing the potential for love that exists within every human soul, including our own soul. Sins cannot be completely forgiven until we forgive, and find an inner peace with, everyone who has ever wronged us; for every ounce of anger and resentment that we hold against any other(s), there will surely exist an ounce of sin held against us – for harboring anger and resentment within our self is sin.
The Golden Rule states: “do unto others as you would have them do unto you!” Our forgiving everyone, especially those we consider our enemies or adversaries, is to demonstrate to God that we are worthy of His forgiveness. Likewise, to find love for all our enemies and adversaries is to demonstrate to God that we have suffered long enough with our anger and resentment, and we are ready to receive His love.
Again, to experience the true power and wisdom contained within the virtue of forgiveness is to develop great spiritual growth!