This week I attended a parish evening retreat at our church presented by Father Michael P. Sullivan from Villanova, PA. The topic for the night was forgiveness and healing. It seems an appropriate sharing subject, given that we will begin Holy Week with Palm Sunday this weekend.

There is probably no one that can honestly say that they have never been hurt or hurt someone. Perhaps, it was intentional or perhaps it was not. Either way, pain and brokenness take up residence in your heart. Sometimes, we bury the aggrievance and sometimes we wallow in it for days, months or years. Depending on the type of action we chose after our hurtful experience, all things may be up for grabs. Friendships, family relationships, work relationships, and/ or partner relationships are affected. Yes, separateness and division are ripe for happening. So, how do we heal our woundedness?

Father Sullivan talks about the process as one of healing through reconciliation and a path of love. He emphasizes the power of the words “will you forgive me” as opposed to “I’m sorry”.  He shares that as a part of this work, actively taking the risk to love can heal not only our heart, but also our mind and body. We ‘right’ the relationship. Just as important is the idea that we need to forgive ourselves for our failings in life. I think this is always the harder aspect when it comes to forgiving. It  takes time and a deep thought process to get to this place. Thank you Father Sullivan for your inspirational talk!

It is also important to understand that forgiving does not necessarily mean forgetting. They are two different entities and the outcomes are not the same. Somethings, yes, we need to just let it go and forget about it. However, for other things, it is important for us to learn from the experience and not put ourselves in the same situation again. It takes a lot of energy  to hold on to hurts; energy that could be better spent doing things that bring us greater JOY in our lives. It is a process which takes time and patience with ourselves and others.

“If we really want to love, we must learn how to forgive” Mother Theresa.

Is there someone in your life that you need to forgive?

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