Saturday, March 7, 2015

Second Saturday of Lent: Intentional Forgiveness

“My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.” - LK 15: 11-32

Today’s gospel is a story about hearts. The parable of the Prodigal Son reminds me of a similar experience in observing a glass prism. If turned over and around, it brings in contrasting rays, creates intriguing angles, and reflects hopeful lights. At different times in our lives, our hearts may have felt closed, open, broken, joyful, selfish, generous, resentful, and grateful. All three characters in this story reside in each of us to some extent. And no matter how far we may wander or what we do, God welcomes us generously and lovingly if we come home.

The spirit of forgiveness colors our Lenten season. Jesus challenges us to look at our relationships from a radically new and different perspective - to see as God sees. But of course, the challenge is whether we are willing to accept the invitation and put it into practice in our lives and relationships.  For me, this march can be bittersweet. While the stories of healing are full of hope, the road to recovery is not without pain and suffering. One key relationship I struggled for a great part of my life was with my mom. For a while, I misconstrued the meaning of forgiveness and acceptance with tolerance. Concealing my hurt required less effort, discomfort, and energy. I began considering the possibilities when a mentor asked me, “Do you think God dreams of something greater between you and your relationship with your mom?”

By inviting God to show me how He sees her, my heart softened and led me to a path filled with much more inner freedom, genuine love, intentional forgiveness, and compassion. I began realizing that she loved me at the best of her ability and that is the gift of my life. It is what most of us have to give a few times over the course of our lives - to love with a mindfully clear sense of purpose, even when it feels outrageous to do so.

Lord, help me to grow in my understanding that nothing is off-limits with You.

Reflected by Tam Lontok

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