By Bishop Kevin J. Farrell
Publisher of The Texas Catholic
“Where there is injury [let me sow] pardon”
The teaching of Christ requires that we forgive injuries, and extends the law of love to include every enemy, (Matt. 5:43-44) yet to forgive for many of us is both difficult and onerous. I suspect our emotional struggle with a bruised ego is the principal reason.
On the other hand forgiveness is liberating for both the forgiver and the forgiven. It is a double blessing. Shakespeare put it well: “The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath. It is twice blessed: It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.” (Merchant of Venice)
Forgiveness is an action that flows from the virtue of mercy which Aquinas deemed the greatest of virtues because the others revolve around it. Jesus commands us to be merciful as the Father is merciful (Luke 6:36)
It is, of course, often as difficult to ask forgiveness as to give it. Once again our egos are involved as well as guilt and shame. Beyond that is often the seeming inability to forgive ourselves.
We are reminded at the consecration of every Mass that Jesus shed his blood for the forgiveness of our sins. (Matt. 26:28) To deny forgiveness is an affront to God the great reconciler.
In one of his first homilies after being elected Pope, the Holy Father said “the joy of God is the joy of forgiveness.”
To bring pardon where there is injury is to spread the joy of God.
Bishop Kevin J. Farrell is the seventh bishop of Dallas. Read his blog at bishopkevinfarrell.org/blog.