Archive for the ‘Forgiveness’

Dust to dust: a reflection on Ash Wednesday

The first time I celebrated Ash Wednesday in a Latino parish, I was overwhelmed. People were lined up around the block; they kept coming all day and well into the night. Old people with canes and walkers, middle aged folks, 20-somethings, children, teenagers. Some folks were well-dressed; others looked like they might be homeless. Most were silent, resisting the efforts [...]

My first (true) confession

When I was a kid, I went to confession once a week. It’s not that I was a huge sinner. I went to a Catholic grade school, and all the kids had to go once a week—whether we had any sins to confess or not. A friend of mine recently sent me an article in which he wrote that he’d [...]

Repentance: the art of staying on course

“You’re not making any sense,” I said. “Well, you’re not listening to me,” she said. My wife and I were having an argument, and it was not going well. I love to argue, but I don’t like it when the argument turns into a fight. I don’t like the hurt feelings and the misunderstandings. This time I was feeling stuck, [...]

How to forgive enemies—and loved ones

Immaculée Ilibagiza, a Catholic woman and native of Rwanda, is a survivor of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. In her book, Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust, she writes about how she hid for 91 days in a 3 ft. x 4 ft. bathroom with seven other women. At one point while hiding, she could hear the killers right outside the door. As she prayed for God’s protection, she realized God wanted her to forgive the men who were hunting her. Why do you expect the impossible from me? I asked God. How can I forgive people who are trying to kill me, people who may have already slaughtered my family and friends? It isn’t logical for me to forgive these killers. Let me pray for the victims instead, for those who’ve been raped and murdered and mutilated”¦let me pray for justice. God, I will ask you to punish those wicked men, but I cannot forgive them—I just can’t. (92-93) Unconditional love Eventually, however, Immaculée began to understand the power of God’s unconditional love. Relying on the strength and power of that love, she finally did forgive all of the killers. She even forgave the men who killed [...]