To Forgive is Divine

Friday of the 1st Week of Lent

If you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court with him. (Mathew 5:23-25 NAB)

Love of God and love for neighbor is Jesus’ summary of the Commandments. These two complement each other. He said, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40 NAB) As Christians, our life should be in agreement with God and with our brethren. Our Lord teaches a powerful lesson on reconciliation with others. We must be reconciled with our brothers and sisters, and must take care of this before God’s altar. This Gospel explains the ‘sign of peace’ at Mass as a sign of reconciliation. In the first letter of Saint John it is written, “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. This is the commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.” (1 John 4:20-21 NAB) Indeed one who truly loves God cannot but also love his/her brothers and sisters, which is everyone. Truly “if we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us.” (1 John 4:12 NAB) If we love and forgive one another, it is a divine act. God is acting through us and in us. His grace gives us the capacity to truly forgive, accept, and love others. He is made present and remains with us if we love and forgive one another.

Our speaker, during our retreat in college before graduation, shared to us about forgiving and forgetting. She posed a question to me and to my batch mates, “Is it possible to forgive and forget?” Two of my classmates stood up and shared their thoughts backed up with experience. The sharing became an emotional one since they shared personal and recent events that happened to them. After listening to them, I raised my hand in order for me to be recognized. I, too, wanted to share my reflections and experience. This was the gist of my sharing, “To forgive does not assure us of forgetting about what happened. The experience have been intense and brought pain and anger to the person concerned. Surely, it is never easy to forget it since the pain has wounded the ‘heart’ of the person. The beautiful thing here is this: when we forgive, we are able to accept the person and the events that happened even with the pain and wounds. We are able to go beyond the emotions and come to truly love the person. This is something that we are not capable of doing. Forgiveness is a grace from God that we receive and we can also give to others.” These words made my batch mates reflect. I shared with them afterwards a recent experience of forgiving a close friend since our elementary years after some conflicts we had. 

Forgiveness is a divine act. We cannot do it alone. We need the grace of God in order to help us forgive and love others. This is the expression of our love for God. Let us level down our pride and live in truth and humility. How? Through daily works of charity powered up by our prayer and connection with God. As Blessed Paul VI said, “We need above all to reestablish a genuine and happy relationship with God, to be reconciled with Him in humility and love, so that from this first basic harmony the whole world of our experience may express a need and acquire a virtue of reconciliation in charity and justice with men, to whom ewe immediately give the title of ‘brothers’. Reconciliation takes place in other vast and very real areas: within the ecclesial community itself, in society, in the relations among nations, in ecumenism, in the sphere of peace and so forth.” May this Lent be an opportunity to practice and experience how to forgive and to be forgiven. To forgive is indeed, divine.

Disclaimer: This section of the website is a personal creative writing of the author and does not necessarily reflect the official views, opinion, or policies of the Salesians of Don Bosco – Philippines South Province. For concerns on the content, style, and grammar of this piece, please contact us

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