Praise be Jesus Christ. Praise His Holy Name, now and forever! He who was, who is, and who always will be! Praise Him for His Goodness and Mercy, Love and Justice. Praise Him always.
Thank You God Almighty for Your forgiveness! Thank You for Your promptings to break chains of resentment and anger. Thank You most especially for the gift of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Forgive me Lord any unforgiveness, resentment, or malicious feelings I harbor. Rid me Lord of my selfishness and the control I allow emotions to have that keep me from You!
I have been allowing hurt feelings to keep me from entering a particular physical place, although what caused the hurt feelings is no longer a pressing issue. I am so stubborn, and my temper and reaction to injustices linger and affect me deeply. I am also a slow learner when it comes to forgiveness and what that does and does not entail. Maybe it is not that I am a slow learner, but that forgiveness is a process – a long process – a process that often feels like progress is “one step forward and two steps back.” Maybe an issue is that forgiveness does not include forgetting what happened, and then reliving the hurt, and then forgiving again and again and again. Maybe an issue is that even when I have forgiven, there may never be trust again. Maybe an issue is that although acts that require forgiveness can be forgiven, I still feel like when I needed someone the most, I was abandoned, and that is a wound that is deep and raw. Maybe it is that there was never an apology or acknowledgement of what happened and how it affected those involved. I do not know, but God does!
Praise be to God that He does not abandon or give up on me, despite my hot-headedness and slowness to understand. Because of my nature, I sometimes think he has a special stash of two by fours set aside just for me. He hit me with one as I drove by that physical place just this week. Then He hit me again on my return trip! Ouch! He spoke to me in a way only He can.
“How much power are you allowing that past situation to have over you now? How much longer will you allow what happened then to keep you away from this place that I know your heart desires to revisit even if only in some small capacity? Who or what are you allowing to control you?”
Well, He got my attention! No one “controls” me! I am way too stubborn for that! Then He poked me a little more. I proceeded to my appointment only to have someone share with me a particular suffering they are experiencing. Every fiber in me needed to intercede for her and her family because that is a calling of mine. Intercessory prayer holds a special place in my day to day faith life, and I know when people are in crisis, prayer is sometimes elusive because trust is all that you can give to God in many moments like this woman is enduring.
On my return trip, I decided that I would at least stop at this physical place and just stay in the car and pray. Seems like a small insignificant step, right? Well, all the Holy Spirit needs is a crack in the door to come rushing in. Just parking was a huge step in a gesture of forgiveness. Woosh! The Holy Spirit rushed in, and before I knew it, I had left my car and was entering that physical place!
I know I have a long way to go. I have been to confession more times than I care to admit for the same stinking sin, yet each time, He reminds me, “Forgive them again.”
With what do you struggle? What process seems too hard or too long for you to conquer? With what two by fours has God had to hit you lately? What small steps or acts have you been inspired to take recently? Share, share, share your praise. Share your thanksgiving. Share your repentance. Share your struggles, and share your victories. We are not in this battle alone; we are the Church Militant, and we must encourage our fellow warriors.