“Forgive and pray, in order to live your life serenely.” From the writings of Saint Raphael by Dr. Constantine Cavarnos
Powerful words. But hard words. A drunk driver kills your daughter, a son dies fighting a confusing war in a foreign land, you cheat on your wife, you secretly take drugs, an abusive husband, etc. – so many evils in the world can make forgiveness a word that is easy to say but almost impossible to actually do sometimes.
You will not find true peace and joy unless you can forgive and pray. They work together. True prayer requires a heart of forgiveness, and forgiveness can be hard and overwhelming – forgiving ourselves, forgiving others, asking for forgiveness. Ego and pride kill our souls, and ego and pride are the things that keep us from forgiveness.
The act of forgiveness can be so hard in fact, that sometimes it can’t be done without long hard prayer. You might even make the case that forgiveness is only real if it is hard, and prayer is always necessary. I don’t know if that is always true, but I do know this, prayer and forgiveness are powerful tools in the journey of life. Tools we should use daily.
I see it most often with my wife and children. I can get so caught up in my world, my work, and my priorities, that everything becomes about me. Prayer forces me to humble myself and allows me to look in the mirror and realize that the breaks in our family relationships usually occur because of me. When I own this truth and simply ask forgiveness, it is like the weight of the world leaves all of our shoulders and is replaced by the uplifting power of joy and love. It also teaches those closest to us how to forgive and find peace.
Forgiveness heals wounds and connects souls. I’m constantly amazed how the gulf of an angry parent and child can be bridged by nothing more than simply saying, “I got too angry, forgive me. I didn’t listen, forgive me. I should have turned off the TV and played with you, forgive me. I’m not pulling my weight around the house, forgive me.” Those words used genuinely are POWERFUL. The result is a loving, warm, joyful family. And not just family, forgiveness can change the darkest heart to light.
Forgive yourself. Forgive others. Ask for Forgiveness. Do it prayerfully, genuinely, and with no expectations. Forgive and pray.
Get down on your knees and there you will find peace.
Your task, think of one act of forgiveness that you can complete today, and do it.