The most terrible cancers, and difficult to heal are the diseases that prevent us from being witnesses of Christ [Objection reflection: "The lack of forgiveness"]

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CANCER MORE TERRIBLE AND ARE DIFFICULT TO CURE DISEASES THAT PREVENT TO BE WITNESSES OF CHRIST

[ IIIª REFLECTION: Lack of forgiveness ]

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Let's start with a trivial finding: because we feel resentment and fail to forgive? Simply because we internally relive the evil that has been done to us, mulling it over in our hearts. The memory of the offense caused - in this case - no longer works to reach a resolution but works to reiterate the offense, which over time becomes chronic and remains calcified as an obsession in our soul.

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Author
Ivano Liguori, Ofm. Capp.

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the cartoons of Gioba [Giovanni Berti, Veronese presbyter] original in gioba.it WHO

The third pathology spiritual which I will discuss is related to the tendency not to grant forgiveness easily, and it is very widespread. It does not spare the lay faithful like consecrated persons. Thus, as a priest dedicated to the ministry of confessor,I often find myself probing this aspect within the life of penitents who approach the precious sacrament of reconciliation.

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I assist like this most of the time to a kind of spiritual schizophrenia, indeed, if on the one hand one wants to obtain God's forgiveness at any cost - given the proliferation of trends merciful - this desire, however, does not correspond to an equally desired grant of forgiveness towards others. The search for forgiveness and the rigidity in granting it certainly constitutes a paradox in the life of many men and women who live the faith..

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As a confessor, I must admit that the most painful reality consists in taking note of how the lack of forgiveness is hardly perceived as a sin to confess, and sometimes it is not even understood as condition not which conforms to the image of Christ [cf. 1PT 2,23]. Every day reciting the prayer of the Our Father, we are faced with a clause of ascetic perfection that asks God to remit our shortcomings, to the extent that we make ourselves bearers of forgiveness towards those who have offended us. So let's try to be careful about what we ask in prayer, in fact, God takes seriously these words which are not of man but of Christ, this is what the version of the Our Father in the Gospel of St. Matthew that says so teaches us: "Forgive us our debts, as we also remit them to our debtors " [cf. Mt 6,12], that of the Gospel of Saint Luke instead: "Forgive us our sins, in fact we too forgive all our debtors " [cf. Lk 11,4]. The differences are minimal, but the substance does not change: the Christian is recognized by how he forgives, that is, by the way in which he exercises his own justice not according to the logic of the world but according to the logic of the Gospel [cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church n. 2838; Compendium n. 594].

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The Our Father has always been a problematic prayer - this was the case for Sant’Agostino - but this problematic nature is not synonymous with the impossibility of achieving what he asks, if anything, of resistance to grace, that is, an indication of a sick human heart.

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There are so many people who say: "I don't forgive" or "I forgive but I don't forget". They are sentences extrapolated from their context and from the emotional charge with which they are pronounced, but which really contain a profound truth. And with this reflection of mine I want to try to answer precisely these two objections.

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The. DIO FORGIVES, NOT ME: A GOAL THAT EXCEEDS L'MAN.

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That man was a disaster in forgiving the Blessed Apostle Peter understood this well [cf. Mt 18,21-22], when turning to Jesus he asks how many times it is lawful to forgive one's offender. Peter questions Jesus about the legitimacy of a moral act foreseen by the law, but the master responds by overturning the figure of Lamec's revenge in the positive [cf. GN 4,23-24]: “I don't tell you up to seven times, but seventy times seven ". With this unsettling answer, Jesus - bearing in mind all the symbolic value of the numbers seven and seventy - wants to make Peter understand that forgiveness is not a moral act that touches on legal obligation but on grace. The next parable of the merciless servant, illustrates very well the overrun problem and the correct hermeneutics of the thought of Jesus expressed to Peter [cf. Mt 18,23-35].

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Forgiveness taught by Christ to the disciples reaches its summit on Calvary and lives on the mystique of the encounter with the Father, author of grace and therefore of pardon [cf. LC 23,34]. Forgiveness means returning to God, allow him to make us new. The holy King David, aware of this need for conversion and renewal in the spirit that directs towards forgiveness, in the Miserere he becomes the bearer of a precise request «Create in me, hate, a pure heart renews a steadfast spirit in me " [cf. Will 51,12].

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The use of conversion, necessary to be docile to grace and to soften the heart, it allows us to be forgiven and to forgive in turn. He who forgives, indeed, he is pardoned and is aware of having to live in a perennial desire for conversion. A generous will with a Pelagian flavor is not enough to fully implement forgiveness. Daily experience teaches that, in most cases, I can try to isolate the offender and the offender, perhaps even groped to forget, but that still does not mean forgiving.

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I usually say to penitents that to forgive is to have, towards those who have offended us, the same gaze that God the Father has towards us when we kneel before the priest confessor. It means having the authentic experience of Luke's Merciful Father [cf. LC 15,11-32], who grants forgiveness, seen almost as impossible by the younger son, without dwelling on the reasons for the return and without the constraint of a stable return to the paternal home. This is precisely the correct way to exercise Christian forgiveness, so much so as to strengthen the credibility of our faith and of the proposal that Jesus makes to every disciple [cf. (C). Theobald, Christianity as a style. A way of doing theology in postmodernity, I-II, Bologna, EDB, 2009]. I can only share, at this point, the excellent thought of Alessio Rocchi, when it states that:

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“Having a guts of mercy does not mean being spineless, but rather have an extra strength (or of grace, ed). In this sense, forgiveness is redemption, not negation or reduction of evil but his own revision. It is no miracle, no effortless action performed by a mighty magician or an almighty god, but a severe test of earthly existence, through looks that (King)they fit into a relationship, by words that (King)integrate into a story " [cf. In. Rocchi, The time of forgiveness, Aporias of forgiveness between philosophy and theology, p. 97, IUSTO - Studies and research, 2015].

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Precisely because forgiveness is a redemptive moment which leads back to an intimate and new relationship, it is a theological place where it is possible to experience the newness promised by God through the mouth of the prophet Isaiah [cf. Is 43,19]; that is to see the birth of a road in the desert in which it is possible to follow new situations, and in which man can move in full communion with the Father without the fear of feeling vulnerable or naked [cf. GN 3,11].

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Forgiveness means building new ways, therefore the relationship that is created between the offender and the offender has nothing to do with the relationship preceding the wrong, but it is a transfigured relationship in which God reveals himself. By studying the dynamics of forgiveness to which God invites man, we are thus led back to the reflection on the eschatological dynamics of life beyond life.

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In my ministry as a hospital chaplain it is common practice to assist the dying and their families. The most painful knot that the dying patient has to cut before the definitive leave is that of granting forgiveness or accepting forgiveness. A similar test must also be faced by the patient's family. Leaving aside here, the reasons and causes for the debts to be forgiven before death, it is necessary to dwell on the need that the dying person has to die reconciled. Reconciled with God and therefore reconciled with the brothers he has offended or who have been a cause of suffering for him.

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The episode of the Good Thief dictates our in-depth analysis. The Gospels testify how Jesus was crucified between two thieves [cf. MC 15,27]: we know how the Greek term λήστοι [lèstoi] identify a political criminal - today we will say a terrorist - rather than a thief or a general criminal. The situation that arises on Calvary in the eyes of the Romans is clear: the execution of two political prisoners together with Jesus seen as a troublemaker and subversion of the people of Israel. But here we are in the midst of agony, one of these enemies of Rome, now nearing the end, he turns to Jesus and - recognizing him as the Lord and at the same time in need of conversion and reconciliation for a life of crime, hatred and grudges - he exclaims: "Jesus, remember me when you enter your kingdom " [cf. LC 23,42].

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These words that allow us to understand how

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«Forgiveness is - once again - both requested and offered. To read and reread them they sound like three graces. Thanks, you I ask Thanks, I ask your forgiveness because my life hasn't been that great. Thanks, you I do Thanks, I forgive you for your impotence, for your not coming down from the cross, for your don't let me go down with you. I thank you and accept you for who you are, putting aside my disappointment with you. I grant you the grace not to ask you for a miracle, not to swear - and I would have many reasons - about mine and your fate. This crucified evildoer asks to be forgiven through the question of a memory, it seems forgive through the recognition of one's punishment, decide to to forgive silencing their legitimate curses and silencing the miraculous claims of the condemned comrade " [cf. In. Rocchi, The time of forgiveness, Aporias of forgiveness between philosophy and theology, p. 95, IUSTO - Studies and research, 2015].

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The dialogue of the repentant thief with Jesus it is placed on the horizon of life that never sets, of a very clear eschatological hope, we all need. The desire that this condemned man has to live is very evident, and it is equally evident in him the awareness that dying without asking and granting forgiveness, it affects the future life with the aggravating circumstance of the conclusion of an earthly life in an unnecessary tragedy. The only hope not to die eternally - in oblivion, among the ghosts of a personal story that speaks of violence, destruction and hatred - is the blessing that comes with forgiveness. Although death poses as a lady - as the singer-songwriter Branduardi recalls in one of his famous ballads [cf. video WHO] - forgiveness before farewell wins over death, and it can already be a deposit of eternity, redemption of a ruined existence, guarantee of healing towards oneself and towards others. Moreover, it would be paradoxical for the Christian to begin his new life in Paradise with various slopes following it. A full life [cf. GV 10,10] it is synonymous with a fully reconciled life, a half-life is on the contrary the expression of a slowdown that deprives us of communion with God and with our brothers, a friction that will have to be recomposed or atoned in some other way.

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(II). GOOD MEMORY TO FORGIVE

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We are sincere, after receiving an offense it's hard to put a stone on it. Many would like to put a stone on the offender, but this is not civilly and Christianly acceptable. Then there are people who invite us to forget and pretend nothing has happened. They end up being inopportune comforters like the three friends of wise Job [cf. Gb 3,ss], and they do us no good service. For this reason - as mentioned earlier - we need God's grace along with a constant and explicit prayer request, so that the Lord heals our wound and gives us the time necessary to be converted to forgiveness. But achieving forgiveness includes the ability to have a good memory, in fact, completely forgetting the offense - an unlikely option - would deprive us of the possibility of granting forgiveness and therefore of achieving peace and that blessing which is a guarantee for a new beginning of life.

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Let's start with a trivial finding: because we feel resentment and fail to forgive? Simply because we internally relive the evil that has been done to us, mulling it over in our hearts. The memory of the offense caused - in this case - no longer works to reach a resolution but works to reiterate the offense, which over time becomes chronic and remains calcified as an obsession in our soul.

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One of the symptoms of those who do not experience forgiveness it is the feeling of having a weight in the heart, and that feeling often carries on for years. The philosopher Paul Ricoeur said:

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"Authentic forgiveness does not imply the oblivion of the events themselves, but a different way of signifying a debt […] which paralyzes the memory and consequently the ability to recreate ourselves in a new future " [cf. R. Kearney M. Dooley, Issues of ethics: contemporary debates in philosophers, Armando Editori, 2005, p. 40; to complete the thought cf. also P. Ricoeur, To remember, forget, to forgive. The enigma of the past, The Mill, Bologna 2004].

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This fixation of memory on the offense it is deleterious, when memory needs to concentrate on the offense it is only to initiate a liberation process that you condone, piece by piece, the wrong suffered.

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Sometimes, to overcome the obsession together with the anxiety of forgiveness not granted, there is a tendency to replace resentment with indifference, but this is a false remedy. The medicine of "the eye does not see, heart doesn't hurt ", not only is it not Christian but it becomes a subtle and terrible way to lead the brother to death by exiling him from his own existence.

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The set of processes just described they help us understand the sentence as a whole: "I can't forgive!». Really the person is unable to forgive, because this offense has hardened, sclerotizzata, traditional medicines are no longer enough but surgery is urgent. The urgent intervention consists in associating memory with the presence of God. A word that recurs a lot in the Old Testament is "remember", the verb that connects directly to people's memory, of things and events. But for the biblical hagiographer, remembering translates into memorial. Simply said, the memorial is remembering together with God.

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Remember those situations and of those events in which God revealed himself - and still reveals himself - in his power, enough to work wonders for the benefit of man. The memorial is therefore more than just a memory, it is remembering through faith, restore a well-defined theological identity, who sees in God the redeemer and in man a creature to be redeemed and redeemed.

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To forgive as a Christian I have to memorialize, that is, remembering together with God, see clearly the offenses and wounds, so that a providential gaze is formed within which the Spirit of God - living memory of the Church [cf. GV 15,26] - work so that every offense and wound is translated into an occasion for praise. As a memorial, I see the person who hurt me, the positives, the good intentions realized, the shipwrecked good intentions, the inevitable contradictions and inconsistencies. I can see in the offender no longer an enemy to fight but a person in need of help because he too is wounded and thirsty for redemption. In the memorial I also perceive my responsibilities well, I take the awareness that perhaps I have facilitated certain behaviors in the other and reduce the tendency to see myself as a scapegoat.

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The memorial is an examination of conscience with which, as for Abraham, God allows me to become an intercessor towards those who have made themselves hostile [cf. GN 18,20-32], without closing one's eyes to the evil inflicted and received and with the tendency to make God's merciful justice triumph.

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[end of IIIª meditation]

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Cagliari, 10 March 2019

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Father Ivano

About Father Ivano

Ivano Liguori Dell'Ordine dei Frati Minori Cappuccini Presbitero e Teologo ( Click on the name to read all its articles )

2 thoughts on "The most terrible cancers, and difficult to heal are the diseases that prevent us from being witnesses of Christ [Objection reflection: "The lack of forgiveness"]

  1. Interesting exhibition. You mention that forgiveness must be offered, and also received. I understand that in the economy of forgiveness, to the action of the one who forgives the wrongs received, should ( obligatorily) match the acceptance of forgiveness, or the recognition of the wrongs done: what happens if the perpetrator of the wrongs, before the offer of forgiveness, however, he refuses to acknowledge these bad actions of his and therefore effectively rejects this offer of peace? I try to imagine the scene of the Father offering his forgiveness to the prodigal son, maybe on the verge of death, and he answers him: I have nothing to make amends.

  2. I entered this comment space to thank the author of this writing who finally helped me shed light on my inability to forgive and be forgiven.

    Allow me to reflect on what Alessandra writes.
    In my opinion, he approaches the problem from the wrong side.
    In the article, no one says that, whoever has been offended must go and ask the perpetrator of the offense for forgiveness.
    Much less does it make sense in the parable of the prodigal son for the father to offer his forgiveness to the son.
    Offering your forgiveness to someone is a very convoluted way of expressing a request for forgiveness.
    I don't see what the father has to offer his forgiveness for.
    The father adhered to an explicit request from the son to have the 50% of the future paternal inheritance .
    The son threw away this inheritance and returned to his father with broken bones and crawling on the ground to get a salaried job..

    So the son, even if he does not explicitly ask for it, exudes repentance even from the pores of the skin, and he is so convinced that he is completely wrong that he does not even dare ask his father for forgiveness.
    The son returns to his father without the faintest idea of ​​what he will do in the presence of the father and without the faintest idea of ​​how the father will deal with his return..
    The father resolves the matter entirely, anticipating the child's obvious request for forgiveness and avoiding his humiliation.
    The father understands everything on the fly because he reads the soul of his son and without asking him anything he welcomes and forgives him for all the harm he has received from his son.
    Celebrates her return regardless of what happens next and regardless of her son's future decision.

    This is the unconditional forgiveness of which the author of the article speaks, forgiveness that cleanses the soul, forgiveness that renews the heart, that unconditional forgiveness that I cannot give to my enemies that might not be of much help to them but that would do me very well.

    LUCA

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