Holy Family

Holy Family

Friday, March 18, 2011

Feast of Saint Cyril

Good morning. In the Gospel for today we read where Jesus clearly suggests to us that forgiveness is a necessary and likewise deliberate act. “Go first and be reconciled with your brother.” (Mt 5:23) Jesus reminds us of something we should surely be aware of, that forgiveness is an intentional act and that it is necessary for our own happiness. Unfortunately this is a concept that is sometimes difficult to grasp living in a culture that offers little incentive for letting go of other’s transgressions. Yet, it is the very action we take when confronted with the wrongs by others or for that matter, any type of action or circumstance for which we have no control over that will ultimately determine our capacity for happiness. As a marriage counselor I frequently see this dilemma with victims of divorce. We live in a society where we can find ourselves divorced through no choice of our own and overnight discover our life devoid of meaning. Where they once saw themselves as a wife and partner in a home and family, victims of divorce awaken to a life that is unfamiliar and uncertain as a result of something they did not ask for or have any control over. How we choose to respond to being divorced or circumstances we did not sign on for makes a difference in our capacity to heal and move on versus finding ourselves caught up in a perpetual treadmill of bitterness and resentment. Viktor Frankl, a psychologist and survivor of a concentration camp in World War II, wrote of his experience. He tells of an experience of being able to discover goodness beyond the barbed wire of his internment at the concentration camp at Turkeheim. He wrote of an experience one evening where one of his fellow prisoners beckoned everyone outside to experience a particularly radiant sunset. “Then, after minutes of moving silence, one prisoner said to another, “How beautiful the world could be!” Frankl, in his book Man’s Search for Meaning, notes that the choices we make ultimately determine the meaning we assign to various life situations. Choosing to forgive is not an easy process, it often is a journey that ebbs and flows, and we often need to remind ourselves that it is not about condoning or excusing the wrong, but it is about freeing ourselves up to more fully appreciating our own world experience. Forgiveness, make no mistake about it, is difficult, and sometimes painful, but one thing that often makes a difference is our attitude toward the person or the wrong; choosing to no longer allow ourselves to be controlled by the wrong makes for considerable difference. It is likewise helpful to remind ourselves that we too have wronged others. If in the process of trying to forgive we are able to recognize that they, like our self, are a sinful person the process of forgiveness comes much easier. The choice we make to forgive and work toward reconciliation will make the difference in our being able to be fully alive and open to appreciating the fullness of life about us. Forgiveness is a choice, a choice we make to either open or remain closed the door to love and happiness. Make a great day!

Today we recall the good life, gifts, and works of Saint Cyril.

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