MEDITATION OF THE DAY
Forgiveness from the Heart
The mercy we practice in family life takes many forms. We encourage, we support, we carry one another. But the most necessary form of mercy is the ability to forgive. It’s not always easy to forgive, but it is necessary. If there is no forgiveness in a couple’s relationship, if there is no forgiveness among family members, problems start to multiply. Sufferings of all kinds develop and create walls that separate us from each other. On the other hand, if day after day we forgive, ordinary relations remain possible and love can always be reborn. Forgiveness is not always easy; it is one of the most unselfish acts of love. Forgiveness can also be one of the greatest acts of freedom—the freedom to love even the one who has done you wrong.
When it is hard to forgive, this is a grace we must ask for. Sometimes our human strength is not enough and we must ask God in humility and prayer. Sometimes it takes time to receive this grace, and this is normal. When we’re very deeply wounded, receiving this grace can take time and a lot of prayer, patience, and humility…. It is difficult to say, “I forgive you.” It is easier to forgive the way Jesus does. When Jesus forgave his enemies on the cross, he turned to the Father and said, Father, forgive them. They know not what they do. When we find it too hard to say, “I forgive you,” we too must turn to the Father, because in the end only God can really forgive. We have to turn to the Father and say those words of Jesus, “Father, forgive him—or forgive her—because he (or she) doesn’t know what he (or she) is doing.”… To forgive, we have to go through the heart of the Father. This is the source of forgiveness. It is not in me; it’s the heart of God, and that’s where I have to go looking for forgiveness.
Father Jacques Philippe
Father Philippe is a French priest, a member of the Community of the Beatitudes, and a renowned spiritual director. [From Real Mercy: Mary, Forgiveness, and Trust, Maria Masterson, Tr. © 2016, Fr. Jacques Philippe, Scepter Publishers, Inc., Strongsville, Ohio. www.scepterpublishers.org. Used with permission.]