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Ask Father: What does forgiveness look like?

Ask Father: A parishioner sends in a three-part question:

(1) When is the best time for a parishioner to ask Fr. Romans or Fr. Federico to bless items? (2) What is your best advice for prayers for healing a family that is ongoing and the family is getting worse? (3) I know Jesus said forgive 70 X 7 times but what are we to do if someone in our life (a family member) is verbally accusatory especially around Christmas, Easter and family events? Do we have to answer the phone? Do we have to listen to all the poisonous lies being spewed at us? What does Jesus want us to do?

Dear friend in Christ,

(1) We would be happy to bless items for you. Call the rectory to make an appointment. (2) It’s hard to say without knowing the details but, in general, it doesn’t matter what prayers you say – it matters with how much faith you say them with. Speak to God like a beggar asking for help, because that is what we are. Keep in mind that counseling may be necessary for this family as well. (3) Forgiveness doesn’t mean accepting abuse or pretending that was done to you was fine and dandy. Forgiveness is a process, not an event, which culminates when you are able to tell the Lord ‘that person who wronged me doesn’t owe me anything anymore, it’s between them and You, now.’

Jesus wants you to love people. He said “a new commandment I give you: love another.” (John 13:34. He didn’t command us to like anyone. You don’t have to like someone in order to love them; liking someone has to do with the feelings and emotions. Loving someone has to do with the will, the part of us that makes decisions. Love is choosing or willing the good of another person. You can do this without ever having positive feelings about them. That is truly Christian love. You must love those people in your life, you don’t have to like them.

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