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Lenten Reflection: Forgiveness

During Lent, we realize the need that we all have for healing because of the effects of sin. The fact is that we all carry wounds we have received from being hurt by another. Even more significant is the damage we do to ourselves by hurting someone else. Tragically, the deepest wounds we inflict and receive are in relationships with those whom we love the most.

We hope for and expect God’s mercy. I am reminded of my nephew, who when he would miss a basket or lose a game, would yell, “Cut me slack! Cut me slack!” One of the Sisters in our community is fond of pointing out that if only we thought more about what we are saying when we pray the “Our Father,” and really took to heart all that we say, our relationships would be transformed. “Forgive us as we forgive those who trespass against us.” It should be a wake-up call to think of what we are saying—we ask that we might receive the same amount of “slack” that we have given to others.

Lent is the time to be honest about our failures and opportunities. I think of these lyrics written by J.D. Souther and sung by Don Henley:

“The more I know, the less I understand
All the things I thought I knew, I’m learning again
I’ve been tryin’ to get down
To the heart of the matter

But my will gets weak
And my thoughts seem to scatter
But I think it’s about forgiveness”

Forgiveness is is a more powerful healing agent than any medicine. With God’s grace, we can heal by forgiving others and ourselves and by asking for forgiveness when we know we have hurt someone. Be gentle with yourselves and with one another!

– Sister Joan Marie Stelman, OSB, Benedictine senior vice president, mission integration