Today’s culture has a nagging obsession for concrete results produced with speed and efficiency. You’ve done something? Great, let me see it. I want to touch it, I want to share it on Facebook, I want to tweet about it…
A digitized positivism that predicates the following: if I can’t see it or share it, it doesn’t exist… or at least no one really cares.
As a result, the whole realm of interior acts, the entirety of all those decisions that aren’t visible, are slow in producing concrete results (some of which will only be seen in the Parousia). They are completely incompatible with any “share” button and tend to be grossly underestimated.
Do you believe in Forgiveness?
What does this have to do with forgiveness? Everything. Forgiveness in many ways is the antithesis of everything that the culture demands. Forgiveness is something different than problem-resolving, it is something different than “sucking it up and getting back to work”, it is different than “moving on”, it is different than “Oh, don’t worry about it, it’s no big deal”. Forgiveness is radical, it is fundamentally interior, it is inefficient. It implies a blatantly clear recognition of the wrong committed; no excuses, no attenuations, no “ifs” or “buts”. It bears no promise of reward or compensation (from the source of pain that is, for the person that forgives it promises great reward). It is a risk, a jump in the dark.
Now, let me be clear: forgiveness is something “fundamentally interior”. This does not mean, however, that it does not affect how we live our lives! The complete opposite is true! Contrary to mainstream wisdom, it is those decisions that are taken in the deepest parts of our being that are the most real, the most efficient, the most important, the most transcendental!
How many people have hit the floor and never gotten back up because they couldn’t believe themselves worthy of being forgiven or forgiving another? How many times do we find that behind the countless number of sins, of aggressions, of angry hearts, and sad faces, we discover the lack of forgiveness? It doesn’t fix the problem you say? How many disasters, wars, tragedies and the like have been caused by the lack of forgiveness?
Still, forgiveness is something learned. And, in its deepest sense, it is something divine. We aren’t able to do it on our own. We need Christ, we need that encounter with Him, we need that experience of throwing ourselves at his feet and looking up into his eyes of compassion and mercy. That experience alone can reveal the full weight that forgiveness can exercise on an existence and give us the strength to share it with others.
Thinking like an Apostle
Today is the anniversary of the attacks on the Twin Towers. Since that day, we have heard a lot about vengeance, security, terrorism, safety, war, peace, justice, etc… Still, where does forgiveness fit in all this? Sometimes I wonder if it is kind of like the elephant in the middle of the room, even among devout Catholics. Sure, perhaps we have all put “like” on a meme in FB or something, but has it really been a factor that has guided our decision making?
Now, if you believe in the forgiveness of sins, if you understand the radicality of it and, better, have experienced it in your daily encounter with Christ, then you must ask yourself: do you put it into practice? Do you understand that your call to serve Christ is one that demands that you forgive as He forgives? Every Christian is called to receive Christ’s forgiveness (especially in the sacrament of reconciliation), to forgive those who offend him/her, and, what’s more, to generate and encourage a culture of forgiveness. I launch this challenge especially to my fellow young Catholics: We must be humble! We must know ourselves to be sinners! We must know that we too are in need of forgiveness! Let us be testimonies of this truth to a world that seems determined to build “peace” on the foundations of war and selfish “justice”. This challenge, though, begins and is lived in our daily lives. We must ask ourselves: Are our homes, our workplaces, our places of study, our places of recreation, places of forgiveness? If not, how are we living and what are we doing to change that? To believe in the forgiveness of sins is to live and share that forgiveness in our entire lives. So, with all that in mind, ask yourself one more time: “Do I believe in the forgiveness of sins”?
This short film was produced by Outside da Box