If something so bad as death is possible, so must it be that something so good as resurrection is possible. If death is possible, so must resurrection be.
Our pet, who we affectionately called ‘Wizdom Cat’ (maybe an ironic play on her lack of foresight - she once tried to jump into a painting), recently went missing for about three or so days, and then without warning, she came back through the door Sunday morning as if nothing had happened. We loved on her, let her roam around in the living room instead of the annex where she stayed, and pet her. It was a delight to have her sweet, innocent, and curious little self back after those three missing days of uncertainty
And then, on the Wednesday after her return, my sister suddenly came into my room to tell me she had been hit by a car.
It seemed like a joke. It was the bounce back to the worst and seemingly impossible case. No! Not after that sweet and joyful reunion! Why now? Why after experiencing her loss and return?
It felt like a rug had been pulled out under me - a cat-sized rug. Her sudden death brought up a whole wave of connected emotions and flashbacks. It was like the straw that broke the back. I was left rattled and reeling after the shock news.
I tossed and turned that night. Eventually, I fell asleep and woke up the next day, cried some more, and indulged in my sadness because I tend to grieve very heavily upfront.
As I languished depressed in bed, I decided to read up on Catholics and pets and read all the different perspectives on it. Some don’t think pets will be with us in the afterlife, and some do. In the midst of this, I found some really heartwarming resurrection legends** of St. Francis of Paolo raising animals from the dead through God’s grace, even a little fish from a pond he loved but who had been cooked. It was just the tender sweetness and hope I needed.
The story also brought me back to what I had done in the past for greater grief when a human loved one had died. At some point in that old grieving process, I had the thought to pray to God for a miraculous resurrection. After all, Jesus had said we would do more wonderful miracles than he had during his time in ministry - and so I put the ball in God’s court with that act of faith.
And when the prayer wasn’t answered, I was disappointed, but I also felt… at ease. Because I really felt then that if God wanted this person to come back He would bring them back. And it could happen any second, any moment, any hour. Anytime he could answer the prayer and do it if He knew it for the best.
Somehow, in a small way, this approach gave an insight into the joyful expectation of reunion. I don’t see the future - perhaps it could happen in my lifetime! Perhaps with Jesus' Second Coming if that were to happen when I am alive.
With this thought to help take things one day at a time, my loved one can stay on an errand, an adventure, or a trip and return any day. The days will not stretch so long knowing the bigness and possibility of God, the mysterious variable of goodness, and unexpected joy.
I don’t know if this is helpful thinking for everyone. I think it could seem a little fantastical and inappropriate and unhealthy to think this way, but I think that knowing God is miraculous is the antidote to surviving the insanity of death – after all, death is already an inappropriate thing. Inappropriate things require unusual thinking and miraculous solutions.
When I think about the miraculous and mysterious nature of God, I can better understand that there is something so much bigger and more wonderful than what I see going on. While my movement of little joys and happiness on earth such as petting our sweet cat is good, there is a fabric and change and movement of God that is running and working all things for good as the world runs towards heaven.
Who knows how He will answer my prayers for a miracle? In the meantime, I can put the responsibility of lasting joy and fulfillment into His Hands as He works all things out for good. And I can let my life and my loved one’s lives be held by a God who I believe is truly out for ultimate happiness in the end and loves all creation - for he would not make what he hates. And so creation, even little cats, will give him glory by playing in and exploring the eternal fields and forests.
Even as time rolls on, and the bite of sorrow from this dulls and softens, a new sadness might come, but through it, I will be able to remember the miracle prayer when I need it, glance heavenwards for another moment, and believe that God can.
The timeline of life will culminate in the joy of reunion in heaven, in the best and perfect timing that God chooses. Until then, the reward won’t have to feel like a long wait, but just on the other side of the door.
* “Time is but a shadow, a dream; already God sees us in glory and takes joy in our eternal beatitude. How this thought helps my soul! I understand then why He lets us suffer…”
-St. Therese of Lisieux
** St. Francis of Paolo resurrection legend: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_of_Paola
Hayao Miyazaki’s The Boy and the Heron is a sweeping, startling orchestra of beauty, whimsy, and melancholic horror.
While The Wind Rises felt, ten years ago, like a gentle coda that left the audience with the sense of Miyazaki gently moving into retirement, The Boy and the Heron shares a drastically different tone that also explores death and the meaning of life. It seems that another retrospective of life was in order for Miyazaki, as he explores a story with more auto-biographical components.
The Boy and the Heron follow Mahito, a young boy who loses his mother in a tragic hospital fire during the Pacific War. A few years later, he moves to the countryside to live with his father and pregnant stepmother/aunt, Natsuko. He struggles with this change and the memory of his mother, holding feelings of grief that are often wordlessly represented.
The Boy and the Heron is a mix of the grotesque and beautiful. In search of Natsuko and his mother, Mahito wanders through a purgatorial landscape of imaginary and real creatures. Along the way, he uncovers family secrets and a stream-of-consciousness dreamscape unfolds.
The background art in the movie was fascinating, at once whimsical and sophisticated.
Joe Hisaishi’s music soared. It was evocative, thrilling, and rich with emotion. Perhaps his best score.
The animated acting was superb. Mahito, the main character, spends most of his time crouched on all fours, silently escaping notice from his father and stepmother, or trying to enter a narrow crevice in a mysterious tower. The amount of detail put in it needed an attention to reality that most animated movies don’t give. It is details like this, though, along with beautiful scenery, that helps take a quiet moment into something of rapt viewing.
After the movie, I talked with the others I watched it with. We agreed that it was a little long – or maybe the story felt a little longer than it should have. There was a rustling in the theater seats a little more than halfway through the movie. One of our party thought it was because it didn’t get us as invested in the emotional arc of the main characters.
Even so, right off the bat, the story jumped into the action and swept you along with scenes rich in engaging detail. But somewhere along the way it started to go off in turns that set up newer and newer arcs that had no emotional connection until you might wonder whether the movie would be another hour or end suddenly and abruptly.
I think, in the end, the thing that The Boy and the Heron left me with an unresolved aching from my desire to see a movie that explores death from the perspective of meeting a loving God at the end of a journey of life. It felt empty in that regard, but the way Miyazaki resolved Mahito’s journey to coming to terms with his mother’s death was still beautifully done. You can see how much Miyazaki loved his mother through this film and its female characters.
So will this be Miyazaki’s “heron song”? To the joy of all Ghibli fans, it doesn’t sound like it.
But perhaps a light-hearted Kiki’s Delivery Service is in order next.
A few weeks later, after a long day at work, Dante made a pot of tea and knocked on Solomon’s door. There was no answer. He opened the door and found it empty. Usually, he was in his room by the evening.
Dante searched the manor until he finally came to the garage and found Solomon at the edge of it. He was sitting in a wooden rocking chair and staring at the view.
“Solomon,” Dante asked, “Would you like some tea?”
Solomon shook his head slowly, still staring at the end of the drive. He had declined in the past few weeks and no longer visited the sheep, which was sad for him. Sir Wortham didn’t expect him to do any more work these days, and Dante and Mrs. Brewer helped him with most things. Solomon rarely ventured from the house and instead would watch the world go by from his window. It was a surprise to find he had ventured to the garage and pulled out a chair.
Dante came and stood over him to watch the view. The smell of rain permeated the atmosphere. Great darkish clouds gathered in the sky. Eventually, water began to fall and sprinkle in the driveway.
As Dante pulled up a chair, Solomon smiled at the view. He turned a little and looked over at the droplets that formed on the tall grass next to the wall. “This is heaven, isn't it?”
Dante stopped adjusting his chair. “It does look like it.”
There was a great pause and then Solomon spoke, almost to himself, “This... it has been a good life.”
Dante reeled as if a brick had hit him in the chest. He turned and looked at Solomon, critically. He looked old, gaunt, and tired. He stared off into the distance, with a far-off look in his eye, as if he no longer belonged to the world of the living.
There was a long pause, and then Solomon added, thoughtfully. “The veil feels very thin tonight.”
Dante paused and considered the breakfast Solomon had refused this morning. Finally, he asked, “Solomon... are you dying?”
Solomon took a long, considerate pause, as if it took longer to recollect his thoughts. “I think so.”
Dante didn't know what to say at first. “I will send for the doctor.”
Solomon barely shook his head. “No. It’s time. I am ready to go home.”
Dante did not say anything to Solomon now. It bothered him that he was ready. He tried to think of something to say – to make him want to stay? - but there was nothing. Solomon was now traveling into the world of the things unsaid.
A little mouse ran across the garage and planted itself at the end, watching the rain with them.
Seeing the mouse made Dante think back to tending the lambs with Solomon. Something tightened in his throat and chest. He stood up and hugged Solomon in his chair. He slowly dropped to his knees, his arms still clasped around the old man, and took in his scent of cinnamon and coffee.
“Can I do anything for you?” Dante asked, quietly.
“No... I have everything I need…” Solomon smiled at him and squeezed his hand.
“Will you miss us?”
Solomon put his arm around Dante. “I'm going to be so close to you, Dante. So close, it will be like a tight hug. Tighter than I have the strength for now. So don't worry.”
“I don't know how Uncle Harwood and Mrs. Brewer and I will make do without you. We'll all miss you. The tenants will miss you. They all love you. But, I think... I will miss you the most, Solomon.”
Solomon turned to Dante and looked at him tenderly with his old, watery eyes. “I will not be far. When you miss me, just imagine that I am out in the fields with the sheep. I’ll be there, watching you. Watching you enjoy life.”
“How could I enjoy it?” Dante asked honestly. “Without you. You don't have to die, yet.”
Solomon looked compassionately at him. “When your parents died, you were very young. That was years ago, but they have been watching over you ever since. When I die, you can be sad, but don't be too sad. That's no good. You have to take care of everyone here. They are counting on you. As your uncle has impressed upon you – you're a Wortham.”
Dante nodded and wiped his eye.
Solomon turned and looked up towards the sky. The rain was passing. “And I won’t be the only one watching you. God is always with you, and He loves you more than I can. And I love you very much, Dante.
But, as the veils thins for me, I can see how much He loves us. God… In His Trinity of Love… is our father, friend, lover, and advocate. He is faithful beyond what we have imagined.” He continued to muse. “We are to have faith in God in times of weakness and in times of strength. When we are weak, He is strong. And we think we are strong until we come face to face with something weak. A strong man is faint to face weakness. You can't deny human weakness. But it is not something to be ashamed of. God is strong, and we depend upon Him. He is endeared to us as a father is to a child. Realize it as soon as you can, and call upon Him wherever you go. Develop that relationship, that friendship with Him, and when it's your time to die you will find that you are simply going home.”
Dante looked up at Solomon. Any bit of fear left the old man's face, and he looked enveloped in the deepest of peace as if he were going to spend an evening with the closest of friends. A new understanding of why he was so calm came to Dante. He felt like he was just now understanding it.
Dante sat down in his seat again and gently took Solomon's hand. Solomon looked over at him with a loving, fatherly look. Dante remembered that look for the rest of his life.
They sat in silence as night descended upon the town and the stars came out. Then in a low, quiet voice Solomon began to murmur a hymn. Dante closed his eyes and listened. It was very low and deep, barely audible. Even hoarse but gentle. It was joined by crickets chirping in the distance.
When Solomon stopped singing, all became quiet. Dante opened his eyes and looked at Solomon. He was bathed in moonlight, and his eyes were shining from something Dante could not see. And, in that moment, he knew everything Solomon said to be true.
- The Sound That Never Ceased, copyright by Marina Baldwin
Trusting God is a battle all believers will have to fight for, at some point in their faith journey. Alongside the Sacraments, here is a list of ideas on how to grow your trust in God:
1. Be desperate
OK, so this one is not exactly a constructive action, but depending on your situation, this is a timeless tool God will use to draw you into His lap! You see, if you find yourself in a valley, you are in a moment in which God is giving you an opportunity to trust Him. Read the story of Hannah in the Book of Samuel for an example of desperate prayer and how God works through it.
2. Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with faith - that is why Jesus sent Him!
This is the mission of the Holy Spirit – to empower you with the gifts of the spirit, including faith, which empowers you to trust God. Jesus sent us the Holy Spirit after He went to the Father. He did this to empower us to walk in all the gifts we need to be holy and happy. God delights in filling us with gifts when we ask. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you the gift of faith!
3. Read stories of saints and listen to testimonies of faith-filled people
Immerse yourself in stories of saints and modern testimonies that will bolster your faith and put you in the mindset of faithful people and how they think. You may find that it is very different from the way the world thinks. Faith-filled people don’t think from a perspective of lack but of abundance and possibilities. For faith-filled people, dead-ends are God’s way of showing a new way, and not the end of the road!
4. Read stories of God’s promises for His people in the Bible
Trusting in God is an age-old story for His children. In the Bible, we see promises from the Old Testament, where Abraham is promised a son through Sarah, to the New Testament, where God promises Mary, through the angel Gabriel, that she will conceive the Son of God. A couple of my favorite (smaller) promise stories in the Bible include God’s promise to Simeon, and Jesus’s promise of heaven to the Good Thief on the Cross, who suffered on a cross alongside Him.
As you read these interactions with God, note that in all of them, God has a good end in mind. He does not forget His children, and He finishes what He starts. He makes good on His promises. He does not leave things unfinished. The process may be different from what you imagined or take longer than you expect (like for Abraham), but it is not left unfinished. God works for completion.
5. Offer a sacrifice of praise.
You can do this in Eucharistic Adoration, the quiet of your room, or anywhere you wish. Find a chapter in the Psalms that speaks to your current emotions and circumstances. Pray it aloud, and let the words speak to you. What verse in particular moves you and encourages you? Repeat it to yourself, and experience God's Heart for you, through it.
6. Pray for the grace to forgive – even if you don’t feel like it
Did you know that forgiving someone is an act of trust in God? It is a declaration that God will have the final say in a situation and that His love will prevail. Ask God today to give you the grace to forgive those in your life who have wronged you, and if that is hard, add the little line: “Even if I don’t feel like it.” And see how the weight lifts off of you.
7. Ask God for the next step and make a movement of faith
As you find yourself growing in love of God – a sign of faith and trust! - you might find yourself ready to take a step and ask God what He is asking of you next. Look at your situation and see how God might be using it. Are circumstances aligning in your life that might indicate a calling for you to change a situation or start a new project? Maybe to reach out to an old or new friend or make a move? If you have asked God, sat with the idea, and felt peace despite discomfort at the prospect, it is time to make a leap and know that God will catch you (and often in ways you could not have imagined!)
A year from now, look back at the leap, see how God worked, and thank Him!
When I worked as a waitress at a diner, we had a lot of regular customers. One of them would sometimes come in alone, or with his buddy, and they would share a booth in the front and drink coffee. One day, he came in alone.
It seemed like any other day. I came up to his booth. "Hey! How are you doing?"
"Good.” He paused, looking shell-shocked. “Well… not really. My mom just died. She drowned in her pool."
I was at a loss. There was nothing that could be said but to give my condolences and listen to him talk about the accident and get it off his chest. It sounded like a mix of a heart attack and a pool accident. I can’t remember the details, but it was sad and absurd.
Death is absurd in a stupid way.
I think anyone who has experienced loss could agree with the statement: Death is stupid. Death really shouldn’t happen, and we know it in our core. It wasn't the original plan. God didn't make death.
The diner team I worked with at that restaurant had, in their own lives, experienced more than their fair share of death and suffering. But they would listen to the highs and lows of the restaurant guests and would really know how to sit with their stories. Most of them had experienced enough suffering in life to know that they did not need to shy away from it.
While I worked there I heard bloody tales of Vietnam and experienced the sudden death of someone who I had worked with on the team. It was a two-year experience of growth for me, and characterized by a very strong mix of bizarre suffering and exquisite joy. While it was one of my most difficult jobs, if not the most difficult, it was, in many ways, the most joyful and prepared me for greater ease in my future jobs.
This brings me to the main thought of this post: Do our struggles and sufferings speak prophetically to our future and… within that... is it a prophecy of hope?
When you were growing up and through the years, what have been your experiences? What joys have you experienced? What struggles have you been facing and enduring?
Did you grow up in a tumultuous household? Maybe you learned diplomacy and will be able to negotiate between “nations”, in schools, in counseling, and on the playground.
Did you experience grief and loss? Maybe you learned how to find meaning beyond the material. A loss can make you sadder but wiser. It makes you learn, very quickly, what is essential. Petty things may no longer appeal to you.
What jobs have you held? You may not have had a passion for them, but how do you think you would have been a different person today if not for that job? In retail and customer service, people have learned patience, self-denial, and how to think of others.
Maybe your past suffering is preparing you for a future where you will be able to handle these things with ease and endurance. Perhaps you will be able to stand in those future situations of struggle long enough that you will be able to transform it into something beautiful, in your own life and in the life of others.
There is something about suffering that can awaken a capacity for deep joy if it brings you to trust the future that God has, instead of the sort of basic one you could come up with on your own.
“If God causes you to suffer much, it is a sign that He has great designs for you, and that He certainly intends to make you a saint.”
-St. Ignatius of Loyola *
The sainthood is the reward and joy. Sainthood empties you to experience God, Who is Joy.
One can only focus on suffering for so long. Even Jesus, in His Passion, looked forward to the joy it would bring afterward. There needs to be hope for something good.
It is possible that your suffering is preparing you for a future of fulfillment.
If you have a lot of suffering, it could be an invitation to trust and ask God to do wonderful things. That could even be having the faith to ask for inexplicable joy amid sorrow.
Maybe your loss has emptied you and you are now ready to be filled in a way you could never have been before. Because if you were already filled, you would never have asked for something greater and would never have gotten to know how great God is. You may never have come to love your “littleness” to use a word that St. Therese of Lisieux loved.
Perhaps you would never have come to love the fact that you cannot provide anything for yourself but that you have a God who can.
Never feel as if your life has been a waste. Even at the hour of death, a realization about how much you have wasted life is an even further invitation to throw yourself into the hope of a good God and a beautiful heaven. The pain of a realization can empty you so much that God can rush in and fill it in a moment if you let Him. Because He is so good and so tenderly close. You will have the option to believe in that at every moment.
And so, even if you are going through a hardship right now, look back at your past and imagine the possible good that could come in the future from your past experiences. And ask God for a filling of something new and wonderful with it.
Because your past speaks prophetically to your future and - if you let it - it is full of hope.
* Ref: St. Ignatius Quote: (https://www.catholicstoreroom.com/category/quotes/quote-author/ignatius-of-loyola-1491-1556/page/18/)
Jesus’ death on the cross shows that there is a value to the passion of sacrificial love. It is the basis for romance. After all, what is the point of an epic story without a madly-in-love, self-forgetful hero?
Romantic love thrives on inexplicable love for another and the possibility of loss. It thrives in the free will choice God has given us to choose him.
The will-they, won’t-they possibility is what makes romance - the all-or-nothing possibility. We have to have the possibility of rejecting God to have the romance of choosing Him.
Why is it that great love stories are told from the wild abandon of being willing to die out of love for someone?
In the song “Nessun dorma” from the opera Turandot the protagonist sings that he will tell his name to Princess Turandot only when his lips are on hers. The challenge he has given her is that if she can guess his name then he will die. If not, he will marry her.
There is no logical reason why he should fall in love with this cold-hearted princess and make a wager with death. But he falls in love with her all the same and hopes for her love.
True passionate love, such as Jesus demonstrates to us, does not pass quickly. It is deep and constant, not excitable and quickly fading. It treats people as sacred. And sacredness is the antidote to a cynical world.
Jesus’ death on the cross can be seen as a gesture of unabashed love and a demonstration of the way God operates.
And its beauty invites us to forget ourselves.
We see this self-forgetful beauty play out when there is unity in a good community, friendship, or marriage– people die to themselves and become remade in a new life and the sorrows of other possibilities are forgotten. The choice to love has been made and new life begins with peaceful joy - the reward of romance! And that is what we receive when we choose the God of Love.
And that is something worth singing about.
Would the Self-Sacrificing Hero trope have existed without Jesus and His radical sacrifice on the cross?
Throughout history, we see heroes in myths such as Gilgamesh and Hercules. They perform acts of bravery, but neither is the completely selfless hero for which the human race longed. These heroes were flawed and swayed by selfish desires.
In the Old Testament, you can see the longing for the ideal of a perfect hero and savior. As the people of Israel cry out for a king, we can perhaps see a tremor that was echoing through the ancient world, a wailing cry in their hearts for a Savior to come. One can almost see a vision of echoes of reaching hands – straining for the ideal and noble Savior.
The Old Testament has precursors to Christ and His nobility with figures such as Moses, Joseph, Esther, Judith, and the Maccabean Martyrs.
The direct ancestors of Jesus, such as David, who was a man after God’s heart – an imperfect but very faithful man - provide a precursor for the people of Israel. A little further back in the Messianic family line, we have Boaz, who, while no king, was noble, generous, and selfless. He was a man who expected nothing in return – another good precursor of his descendant, Jesus, to come.
Later on, John the Baptist became a zealous precursor to his cousin, Jesus, by living a life of asceticism and zeal for Christ and the Commandments of God. He paved the way for Jesus, for whom he leaped in the womb for joy when Mary approached bearing the Savior in her womb. This zeal carried John to his death.
And, at this time, at last – at long last – we have Jesus, the Son of God. His mission began around the time of John the Baptist’s death.
Fulfilling the perhaps unconscious desire of mankind, Jesus walked a new and lonely path that only the King of Kings could carve into perfection. One in which he would die of love for a people who may never love him.
And as He hung on the cross, He cried out to His Father to forgive His killers because they did not know what they were doing. Who could have that sort of compassion? The perfect hero – the Christ, the Son of God. He understood what we suffer with the consequences of sin and showed us a better way.
But, sorrowful enough to die, in the Garden of Gethsemane, we see His loneliness in this path. You can see how He longed for someone to join the path of self-denial. For even He was lonely, as only a noble king can be.
But, purely humble, He still set a new standard of how one should live. And the world was never the same after.
After He died and rose, people who would become saints took up their crosses and followed after Him, consoling His loneliness. Inspired kings, queens, knights, monks, and peasants took up their crosses and began to imitate the radical nobility of Christ through the priesthood, motherhood, knightly chivalry, small acts of servant love, and more.
These saints would come face to face with the Loneliness of God. And it would become a joy for them, in the same way it is exquisite to go through a storm with your beloved at your side - a delight in a shared struggle that looks at consoling the other and forgets oneself.
And so, with the image of Christ’s sacrifice, goodness and nobility in its purest form had now been seen and realized in man.
And it would leave the heart of man inconsolable and wounded by beauty. Eternally seeking healing.
What else could possess a knight to abide by the Code of Chivalry and the monk to forsake all worldly delights? What else but being left with the beautiful, gaping hole of Christ. A hole filled only with His Love.
When I was in college and working a part-time job, I went through a period in which I saw God as someone who created us but leaves us to our own devices, with some tools maybe and little instruction.
I did not embrace the idea of God being intimate with me and someone to have recourse to. I was busy trying to solve my problems and figure things out, and I wasn’t going to take the time to put God into the equation.
I tried to get knowledge for myself and not through God. And I explored approaches to spirituality outside of Catholic-Christian wisdom as a sort of arrogant response to Catholic arrogance. It was self-defeating at best.
But, in the course of things, I came around and leaned into seeing God as someone to relate to and connect with. Eventually, I came to understand the value of Praise and Worship and learned some things about this literal activity of praising God - an activity that invites the Holy Spirit to come and sit on His throne in Our Hearts, His resting place. And from this posture I have observed Him to impart:
- Curing of sadness
- A welling up of hope and joy
- Creative inspiration
- Detachment from the opinions of others
- The opportunity to fall deep in love with God
Movies and stories are a way of pulling together archetypes and natures.
When I was moved by a fictional character a year or so ago I went through a process. I explored the names of Jesus used in the Bible and noted the ones that the character reminded me of.
Maybe one of the names would be a literal job the character had like “Advocate”, “Commander”, or “Counselor." Other times it would be a character description like “Guileless." Whatever, at the moment, was speaking to me through that character, I attributed it to God. And it helped me understand and see a new – new to me - facet or dimension of Christ.
A few words from Song of Songs would also move me - in a way that hasn’t always grabbed me since. But, when I read at the time it evoked such a beautiful, tender feeling for me - the tenderness of God and His love for everything He touches and forms.
“….its interior lovingly fitted." - Song of Songs 3:10
Bible verse: NABRE © 2010. CCD. All rights reserved.
Then they praised the God of heaven in these words:
"Blessed are you, God, with every pure blessing!
Let all your chosen ones bless you forever!
Blessed are you, for you have made me happy;
what I feared did not happen.
Rather you have dealt with us
according to your abundant mercy."
If evil could win, the world would be absurd. The world would be absurd if God did not have the final say.
It can be very confusing when humans do evil things because we are all created in the image of God. So when our neighbor, the tangible image of God, does something wrong our innocent notion of the world is thrown into chaos.
If we make imperfect people idols, we become confused. And then it becomes hard to forgive and move on.
But, if we worship God alone, we can forgive people.
Because forgiveness is a declaration that God will have the final say in the situation.
When we order all things in our life under God, we can start to separate evil from good. We can separate the evil a person does from the natural good God made them to be.
Forgiveness is more of a confident confrontation with evil when we know its end and aim. It can separate the evil someone does from the potential for good.
When we forgive, we protect ourselves better because we know imperfect people are not God. But we can also pray for the offender to change for the better with that expectation and hope of the new and good from God. We can have hope in that good power of God that can inspire actions to Him.
And when you do that, the natural consequence is that you can still wish that person well. You can want them to have the greatest good, which includes true and deep repentance.
Because forgiveness is the declaration that evil will not have the final say.
Forgiveness is a declaration that God will have the final say.
And so in suffering, the consolation of hope is that evil and good are separate, and then God - who is pure good - will have the final say.
“Blessed are you, for you have made me happy; what I feared did not happen.”
Bible verses: NABRE © 2010. CCD. All rights reserved.
“Unforgiveness is a form of self-harm.”
Forgiveness is concerned with life and unforgiveness with death. Unforgiveness is tied to death because it is a slow-walked spiritual suicide – just what the devil wants.
Unforgiveness continues the wound from an original injustice, be it big or small, intended, or just an ignorant lie. After an attack, unforgiveness beats the offender to the next punch by attacking the wounded again, and often harder. It is self-harming control.
Forgiveness is accepting self-stewardship again under the love of God. Forgiveness is a God-given authority over oneself. God gives us each this authority, but when we do not forgive we give this authority away to Satan. Forgiveness is a detachment from the web that sin tries to trap one in. It is a knowledge of the intellect and choice of the will not to cooperate with death. It is hope in the loving power of God and anticipation of the new good that will come.
Thank you, God, for our unique lives that You have destined for good plans to glorify You who are Everything Good. We pray for the grace to forgive, even if we don’t feel like it. We pray to be freed of the desire to wound ourselves with unforgiveness. We pray for the grace to honor ourselves as children of God and to reject the lies and labels of this passing world's illusions. We as sinners ourselves kneel at the foot of the Cross and plead the protective blood of Jesus over us. Amen.
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