FAITH AND FORGIVENESS
FR. KRZYSZTOF PAWLINA
Hatred, anger, lack of forgiveness – these are pains hidden deeply. Although they are not visible, they often come out from hide imperceptibly.
Some wounds are old, others are only a few months old. Being deeply hurt, deceived suddenly, sold deceitfully – they took a distance towards their relatives, friends or neighbours. Not only do we want to have anything in common with them, but we often feel grudge, anger or even hatred towards them.
It is impossible to live when being poisoned by hatred. A man is created not to hatred but to love. Hatred is destructive. It hurts people. It is contagious. When this disease is not being treated, it leads to spiritual death. However, many people, untreated from this disease, have lived with it for a few years or months. But then life in the human being starts to die slowly.
It can be similar with us. Being hurt by children, betrayed by our relatives, we got infected with hatred. In the beginning phase this disease may cause the sense of justice and even superiority. We close in ourselves, we have arguments. We make others feel that we are angry and we remain in this state. We go to church, say prayers, and even belong to a rosary group. We pray and we hate. Love and hatred live in one heart. Strange tenants…
We answer to others’ suggestions in this way: - I cannot. I want to forget, but this grief….it returns and I am not able to love or accept as I used to. So, it is necessary to get treatment from this disease, in order to regain the ability to love.
Every wound hurts. An unjust judgment hurts, a dishonest word and unsuitable decision hurt. Pain can be in two forms. It can be pain of emotions or pain resulting from a lack of decision of our will. The first one is connected with another one. For forgiveness done by act of will makes emotions disappear. Although it is not at once. But time is a friend of forgiveness. It slowly calms emotions, calms grief, so that hurt love would replace them.
Hurt, but love
What to do, what a bitter taste of hatred poisons our life? Clerics of the Seminary in Warsaw once had pastoral praxis in the house of Sisters of Mother Theresa at Grochowska Street. A big group of the homeless and unkempt men were gathering there. Clerics started their ministry towards these people with an hour adoration of the Holiest Sacrament. Later they washed their mentees and cut their hair, and dressed their wounds. Once I asked the superior sister: ‘Do they have to adore the Holiest Sacrament for an hour before their work?’ – they could have returned their seminary earlier. ‘They have to – she answered – otherwise they will not be able to touch the bodies of the unkempt people. They will be disgusted by them and will despise them’.
Adoration – Jesus makes a man able to do what is impossible in a human way.
So, there is such a doctor who can heal us from hatred. He knows the medication against prejudices. He can heal us even from grudge.
He was nailed to the cross – but he did not allow to be killed by hatred.
‘Father, forgive them because they do not know what they are doing’
How to forgive our relatives? Look at the Cross. Adore the Holiest Sacrament and ask for such a state of your soul which will allow you to say: I forgive.
Then your eyes will be filled with love. For, when love flows from the Cross, in the human heart forgiveness is born. We may have to wait for a suitable moment to say it loudly to those who hurt others. Although it is not necessary. It is important that our heart would reject hatred from the word ‘I forgive’.
Hatred and love cannot live together
Heart is the home of love. Therefore, it must be cleaned – with a prayer for those who hurt others.
One of my priest friends, being badly treated by a parish priest, is trying to live as if it did not touch him. Once I asked him how he is coping with this situation. He answered – once a week I celebrate the Holy Mass for him. And what? This Holy Mass does not allow me to hate him. Christ’s love is bigger than human vices and devilish malice.
We should not wait long to forgive. Firstly, because we may not have enough time to forgive. We do not know the date of death. We do not have much time. Secondly – long-existing hatred destroys the man.
We do not know why we are malicious, snippy, cynical, distanced. Even when we are smiling, it is not completely.
We give others what we are.
Being hatred – it is terrible.
Being love – it is Heaven.
However, we miss the Heaven on land so much. And only little is necessary to change everything.
A stone-like heart changes when forgiveness is born in it. Jesus does not refuse to forgive.
But what about the man?