Love and Forgiveness

We are all called by God to live a just life following the Laws of God, and I believe the most important, can be summed up in Love and Forgiveness. The laws of The Commandments; “Thou shall not steal, Thou shall not kill… speak of what not to do, and yes, we need to obey. However, they “don’t move us to love more; they just keep us from failing to love.

True love overtakes us and leads us to do more than we ever thought possible of ourselves. We can develop patience, forgiveness and kindness over and over. It allows us to Forget, truly Forget grudges and past wrongs. What God is asking of us, is no more than he is doing for us and our failings.
What are some small ways we can move forward showing our love especially for our neighbors, or those strangers that cross our path every day for a reason? And how can we show it whether they see it or not?

It is a love with patience for someone who doesn’t get it or is incapable of understanding. It is understanding someone who has a different opinion or perspective than we do. It is that act of kindness like holding the door for someone and smiling at them. A few kind words to someone you pass by, as that maybe the only person they have in their life that day to talk too. A compliment to someone you don’t know to make their day, or just a simple thank you. A kind word of “Keep Smiling” that always evokes a surprise and a smile from them. Hopefully, you have made their day!
An easy scripture to remember that you can carry with you all day is ‘You shall love.” (Romans 13:9) Yes, I fail at times, as there are people I have tried to live with what I have noted above. But in a particular case, I have failed for years with a certain neighbor. But, I am still called to keep trying as these situations ring true to me: “Make us know the shortness of life/that we may gain wisdom of the heart.” (Ps. 90:12)

I recently participated in the Year of Mercy by attending the ceremonies and Mass for the relics of St. Maria Goretti. A very moving time and an overwhelming experience of forgiveness. Learning how to forgive and forget. Many miracles of recent times were shared with those in attendance, and in this special time, it was impossible for anyone to leave and not further embrace Love and Forgiveness.
I am noting some very powerful words that speak to Love below by Etty Hillesum:

“There is a passage in the Bible from which I always draw new strength. I think it goes something like: “He that loveth me, let him forsake his father and mother:” Last night I had to struggle again not to be overwhelmed by the pity I had for my parents, since it would paralyze me if I gave in to it. I know that we must not lose ourselves so completely in grief and concern for our families that we have little thought or love left for our neighbors. More and more I tend toward the idea that love for everyone who may cross my path, love for everyone made in God’s image, must rise above love for blood relatives. Please don’t misunderstand me. It may seem unnatural-and I see that it is still far too difficult for me to write about, though so simple to live.”

(Words by Etty Hillesum from Amsterdam, Holland and put to death in Auschwitz.)
And as the time ended with the ceremony for St. Maria Goretti, the Saint Child who shows us how to forgive, a speaker ended on this powerful and reflecting note. For those who pray the Our Father every day, and does not subscribe to forgiveness as we are asked, the speaker said: “I dare you pray for forgiveness; yes I dare you to pray for forgiveness.” As it goes in the Our Father, “give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespasses again us.”

So how do we ask God for forgiveness, when we are not willing to forgive. We will see.

Conor
Find A Way!!

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God is loving and merciful; not sensible

Matthew’s gospel, (18:1-5, 10, 12-14)

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them, and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me… See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that in heaven their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven. What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.”

Is that the sensible thing to do? Leave 99 sheep and look for 1 and put the 99 at risk. In today’s world, do businesses that loses 1% focus on the 1%, or try to maintain and grow the 99% of his business? Many would say the sensible thing to do would be to managed the 99% and forget about the other 1%.

What about the parable of the Prodigal Son who takes his inheritance and squanders it away on fun, foolishness and prostitution? He ends up with nothing, whereby; he has nothing, “not even scraps that dogs get from their Master.” He is forced to go back home to his father and what does the father do? Does he lay in judgment of his lost son, or when he sees his son coming home, throws a celebration, slaughters the fattest calf, gets the finest clothes for him and welcomes him home with no questions, or no judgments of his actions? Is that what most people would do in the same situation?

Is the father acting sensibly? Just as our Lord was not acting sensibly, or doing what we might have done in the same situation, the Prodigal son’s father was not acting sensibly. He was doing what Our Lord expects us to do; to show love and mercy to all under all circumstances. No questions and no judgment of their actions!

God is asking all of us to be childlike; not childish. He is asking us to be humble, loving and trusting in Him, as children do with their parents. God is a God of love and mercy and that is why He had to find the lost sheep. That is why the Prodigal Son was welcomed home with love, mercy and understanding and no judgment of his actions.

How can we stop being sensible with those around us? How can we eliminate an eye for an eye when someone does something to us? That may be sensible or make us feel better getting even with others, but being sensible is not what we are call to do. How can we criticize people, judge people when we ourselves, are not judged by God?

The God of Love and Mercy.

Time for us to work on our changes?

Be Childlike; not childish.

Conor
Find a Way!