We all have them, they stick out in our minds like a sore thumb. We avoid them, we block them from our Facebook pages, phones, and make sure they know that we know that they know they are on the "list" that folks rarely get off. Yes, everybody has at least one of these varmints and they seem to be as much of an eye sore as the neighbor's overflowing trash set out a day or 2 early. When you discover them in the grocery store, you duck over to the next aisle and remain aware of their presence,then breathe a sigh of relief if you managed to check out without running into them. A nemesis to be true and they are hard to shake. There are moments in the day when they creep into your thoughts; the cursed event that spurred the disdain and those old feelings would rush back to the present as if it just happened over lunch. Sigh, and that's just a made up version, Rick Bragg-style, the real version is even more severe.
Now that it's Lent, we are given a task....or are called to task on this forgiveness thing. I've always heard the saying to keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Never really got that part and then when someone tells me that I'm supposed to pray for these lost and foreboding souls, well that is a totally new concept that I'm not quite ready to grasp, much less embrace. I don't know, call me stubborn, call me a bonehead, but when somebody crosses me; well there is a line to be sure. Isn't that a fact for everybody? Doesn't everybody have a line that once crossed is a declaration of war?
Last night, I was reading the meditation from my Magnificat after saying my evening prayers. Written by the late Monsignor Roman Guardini about Forgiveness. In this rather long and too to the point meditation, he talks about the things we are to overcome to forgive; I mean REALLY forgive. The sense of hostility we have and the righteous indignation that grips our egos, negates "genuine" forgiveness. As creatures, we are so "ordered that the preservation of the one depends on the destruction of the other." So we do all the things I list above and then some in order to protect ourselves from the enemy. BUT to forgive, as Christ tells us to forgive, we must relinquish these defense shields and let go of the fear and "risk defenselessness" toward this individual...hoping that inso doing we can rise to a higher level than ground zero in our hearts.
"But the crux of the matter is forgiveness, a profound and weighty thing."
Courage and a deep sense of intimate security is needed for this genuine forgiveness to take place. In the end, if with prayer and obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ, we can achieve forgiveness, real and genuine forgiveness; we can be the pardoner who is actually stronger than the fear-ridden hater."