My last blog entry was on September 17. Then I went to our annual Priest Convocation which lasted the whole week. Now I am back home in our beautiful little parish here in Central Pa. I mention this previous post because it was all about forgiveness. I even boasted that I couldn't wait to forgive. Well guess what...
In the course of the week I saw one of my brother priests with whom I have had difficulties. All those things I often remind people about a lack of forgiveness were made manifest in my heart and soul. I grew angry. I had a difficult time praying. I was extremely judgmental. I could feel my stomach tighten and my blood pressure rise. I don't know what went on in him, but my reaction certainly can serve as an object lesson on the results of either refusing or forgetting to forgive.
I say forgetting to forgive because I had forgotten all about the misdeeds I experienced at the hands of this priest. I forgot, that is, until we were in the same room together. The need to forgive is so very important to our spiritual, mental and physical well-being. I am would suggest that it is second only to our need for love. It is one of the attributes of the Divine Humility of God in Whose Image we are made. God Loves. God Creates. God Forgives. We, likewise, must love, create and forgive or we will become stymied in our growth or damaged in our being.
So... what did I do? Like a good Catholic I went to confession. I did my penance. I asked God for the grace to forgive my brother and anyone else I have forgotten to forgive. Looks easy when reading these words, but let me assure you it was very difficult. I spent quite a bit of time in front of the Blessed Sacrament asking Jesus to infuse my soul with His gift of forgiveness. I prayed for forgiveness for myself because I am sure that I was not 100 percent innocent in the situation with my brother priest. Then I prayed the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
As I meditated on the Passion of our Lord, the source of all forgiveness, I found the bitterness, anger and the desire for vengeance subside. A beautiful peace overcame me, and I knew that God had done it again. This peasant heart was set free. My pea sized brain was enlightened. And my soul and spirit rested in the arms of my Blessed Mother.
I still know what the priest did to me was bad, maybe even an evil abuse of his power. He may or may not have made his peace with God. I, however, know that my sin is forgiven and my joy is complete in Christ my Savior!