Monday, November 13, 2006

Memorial of Saint Francis Xavier Cabrini

If your brother sins, rebuke him;
and if he repents, forgive him.
And if he wrongs you seven times in one day
and returns to you seven times saying, 'I am sorry,'
you should forgive him.

Luke 17:3-4

How often do we approach those we have sinned against and said we were sorry and meant it. Or said anything to someone who has sinned and rebuked them for their transgression? But how often do we forgive those who have repented.

I recall a time when I was working at a particular job, there was a time when it seemed all I did was apologize for some unknown transgression. It actually ended up my sorrow for the life I was living at the time, which was sin. And because of this I was seeking forgiveness from my peers and trying to find a way to forgive myself too. The sin needed to be removed for that to happen.

Anyway, what Jesus was telling us is to forgive no matter how many times a person comes and says they are sorry. We sin constantly and when we go to confession no matter how many times we go, we are forgiven aren't we.

But we have a bad habit of not forgiving. We have a habit of saying I'm sorry without meaning it. So when we do say we are sorry, how can we be when we are not sorry from our heart.

There is so much truth in forgiving those who sin against us. It frees our hearts to love our neighbor. It's hard to forgive those who sinned against us and took our innocence away. But I tell you that forgiveness is essential to life.

A Sister had taught me something very special, Jesus forgives us, but if we do not forgive ourselves or others then we do not believe in Jesus' forgiveness. It's true too, God forgives and Jesus teaches us that very thing in today's Gospel.

As a survivor of abuse myself, I have long ago forgiven my transgressor for their part. I had to forgive myself for the effects of that long ago transgression. This is someting that was taught to me, to forgive myself completely because I do believe in God, I was causing him hurt by not letting go and not letting him.

So today if anyone says they are sorry, forgive them and forgive yourself too.

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