At the beginning of 2012, I wrote a short list of goals for the next 12 months. In addition to 2012 being The Year of Forgiveness, I made it my year to find true love and full-time work.
I did safeguard against disappointment if these things didn’t happen. On separate sheets of paper, I wrote, “I surrender my inability to forgive those who hurt me”; “I surrender my need for a relationship”; “I surrender my desire for professional stability.” and put them into my God Box. It felt so good and so liberating to lay my fears straight into his hands and leave it all up to his will.
And you know what happened? Both of the intentions I set came to me! I knew that true love would come when I was fully present, open and ready. And it did—last June, I met the love of my life. And in the very last days of 2012, I was offered a job! After saying prayers of thanksgiving, I said a prayer for all CatholicMatch members to find their hearts’ desires too.
Regarding forgiveness, it was the best thing I ever did for myself. I found having new experiences and meeting far more people than I would have otherwise. I honestly think that if I hadn’t gone through the forgiveness process, I never would have been open to meeting my boyfriend. I think I’ve become less cynical, more trusting, and more lighthearted; and I’m much more capable of empathy, understanding, and compassion. Because of that, I’m also more forgiving – very helpful in a relationship.
Over the year, as I was contemplating what forgiveness is, I came across some wonderful quotes:
“This Blood that but one drop of has the power to win all the world forgiveness of its world of sin.” —St. Thomas
This really gets to the heart of what we believe as Catholics. And if we truly want to live out the life of The Christ, we want to do the same. We should all think about our own “one drop of blood” that we receive every Sunday; we too carry its power.
“Every time God forgives us, God is saying that God’s own rules do not matter as much as the relationship that God wants to create with us.” — Fr. Richard Rohr
I find this so helpful because it gives scale to the enormity and vastness to the unconditional love of God. Think about what that means – that’s how much God us. It does draw me closer to Him, as it should. It also added a dimension about what I could bring to my own relationships.
“Mercy bears richer fruit than justice” — Lincoln
” He who knows how to forgive prepares for himself many graces from God. As often as I look upon the cross, so often will I forgive with all my heart … For there are three ways of performing an act of mercy: the merciful word, by forgiving and by comforting; secondly, if you can offer no word, then pray—that too is mercy; and thirdly, deeds of mercy. And when the Last Day comes, we shall be judged from this, and on this basis we shall receive the eternal verdict.”
—Saint Faustina Kowalska
These quotes were very helpful in terms of forgiving those that hurt me. Yes, what they did was unjust. Yes, it was good of me to recognize it was unjust. But staying in that mindset is dangerous because it keeps us stuck in that self-righteous need to bear the grudge. Forgiveness reaps its own rewards; not only our peace of mind, but in living out the Word of God.
“When we see others as the enemy, we risk becoming what we hate.” — Bishop Desmond Tutu
“Look inside and see where the anger comes from—beyond the actual deed done to you. Often times we condemn in others what we hate most about ourselves. Everyone has different ways of showing their self-loathing. And while someone may have a different idea of how to show it, often it’s what bonded us to that person in the first place.” —Fr. John Delaney.
Again, this shows us how unhelpful and counter-intuitive it is to bear a grudge. I particularly like the idea that when we are unable to forgive, we become the same as the people who hurt us. Quite a powerful motivator!
As I found them, I wrote these quotes down on separate Post-its and placed them strategically on mirrors, the refrigerator, at my office, and on pages in my writing journals.
So there it is: forgiveness not only allows us to be better Catholics, but prepares us for the relationships we seek.
My wish for everyone on CM in the upcoming year is success in any areas of life. May 2013 be the year you live out your intentions, within God’s will.
Happy New Year!