Forgiveness: Doing the Unimaginable

standing road

 

We have a lot of concepts of what forgiveness is and how it’s supposed to be done. When I was out with my friends yesterday, I passed by a woman who reminded me of someone who hurt me deeply.

 

Back when I was in college, I had my first anxiety attack when I was presenting my writings in a class. The lady who triggered the anxiety attack showed no compassion towards me and thought that I would never become a good writer or amount to anything. I used to have nightmares of her and whenever I ran into her on campus, I either ran away or froze completely, waiting until she left the room in order to breathe again.

 

I’m not sure if the woman I saw last night was the same woman who caused my first anxiety attack or some doppelganger of hers but as I went home, I thought to myself “How would I feel if it actually was her?” The answer was “Nothing.” Never have I ever thought that feeling nothing towards a person would ever be a good thing, but in this scenario, it’s a major milestone.

 

I’ve mentioned before that when I venerated the relics of St. Maria Goretti, I said a prayer of forgiveness towards those who’ve hurt me and asked the saint to help me forgive myself as well.

 

There’s this song from Hamilton called “It’s Quiet Uptown.” Some of the lyrics in this song reminded me of how I felt when I was dealing with my anxiety, specifically the idea of dealing with and trying to do the unimaginable. One one of these unimaginable things is forgiveness. As Giles said in Buffy Season 2’s “I Only Have Eyes For You,” “To forgive is an act of compassion, Buffy. It’s-it’s… it’s not done because people deserve it. It’s done because they need it.” And, of course, there’s also this song:

 

I used to dream of the day when I would be a successful, bestselling writer and finally get revenge on the woman who caused my first anxiety attack. But now, this peace that I feel, the fact that I can look her in the eye and feel absolutely nothing at all is better than revenge. It’s a release. It’s a new kind of strength. And it’s a very beautiful thing.

 

I know that for some of you, forgiveness seems like such an unimaginable concept. It’s a lot to work though, especially if someone hurts you so much, it damages your mind, heart and soul. It’s okay to feel angry, hurt, and afraid. But at some point, you need to let go of all of that. Forgiveness isn’t about pretending that nothing happened. It’s more like acknowledging that you’ve grown past that hurt and have healed from it. It means releasing the emotional power that the anger, hurt, and anxiety had over you. It also means that the person who caused that hurt can’t trigger that pain anymore.

 

Forgiveness is a process. I don’t know if I feel this same peace when I think about others who’ve hurt me, but I’ve already let go of at least two people who’ve caused me pain in the past. It will be a great day when I realize that I’ve let go of all that hurt. But for now, the fact that I’ve finally overcome one of my worst experiences is enough for me.

 

Anxiety, Avoidance Issues, and the Beauty of Reconciliation

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

It all started with this Twitter conversation:

Jasmin Marsters is the wife of James Marsters AKA Spike on Buffy. She’s an actress/model/musician who also does some writing and production for independent films. I like what she shares on her Twitter and Instagram, even though we may not always agree.

My avoidance issue had to do with the fact that when I was having a mini-meltdown, I did everything but turn to God. It wasn’t until I put pen to paper and wrote a letter to God that the anxiety finally left me. I often try to avoid my negative feelings and said avoidance only makes things worse. What happened to me reminded me that in good times and in bad, I have to turn to Him for help.

I also feel like what Jasmin said relates to the nature of how we react to our problems as well. Granted, there are some things that need to be avoided. There are things we aren’t ready to face yet. However, there’s also a time where we need to act like the bigger person and act kind towards someone we may not feel deserve it. It also applies to when we put off little things like doing the laundry or paying the bills. The problem won’t go away if you keep avoiding it. When it comes to being a person of faith, avoiding the things we struggle with isn’t going to help us.

One thing I love about being Catholic is the Sacrament of Reconciliation also known as Confession or Penance. Despite what some people may think about what Confession is, the truth is that Confession is there to help us face the problems we face.  Confession isn’t a “Catholic guilt” thing. It’s more of a reality check. We often have problems in our lives that feel out of our hands, so we ask people for help. Confession deals with the interior issues that we have to work on in order to become better people.  Matthew Kelly compares it to cleaning your car while Rachel and Kateri compared it to cleaning your room.

1 Corinthians 6:19 says “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own?”

When we go to Confession, we clean out the temples of our souls. We learn humility and receive grace and healing. Even if we struggle with the same problem, like an addiction, Confession will be there to help us get back up again.

The Eucharist Brings Us Peace: Eucharist Bible Study Day 14

eucharist day 14

An excerpt:

“Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.” – St. Francis de Sales

I think the hardest part about being in Mass and going to Adoration is that we often want to rush things. I’ve said before that when we receive the Eucharist in the Mass and when we are in Jesus’s presence, we ought to do so with reverence, silence, and love. It’s not an easy thing, though, because we are always in a rush. We rush through traffic to get to work. We grumble when we have to wait in a line. We fast forward through pre-recorded programs of our favorite shows.

What we actually make time for says a lot about what we love. We may wish for the Mass to be short, but we’d gladly sit and watch a football game for however long it lasts or watch the Oscars as they drag on past the four-hour allotted time and heck, even watch the red carpet before the awards start. So why is it so hard for us to give our time to the creator of time?

Go read the rest here!

The Japanese Legacy of St. Maximilian Kolbe

Most people recognize St. Maximilian Kolbe as the priest who offered his life in the Auschwitz death camp to save a man who had a family. However, Maximilian Kolbe also left behind a legacy in Japan that would later make a huge difference during the end of WWII.

During the 1930s, Maximilian Kolbe went on a mission trip to Nagasaki, Japan. Even though he didn’t know any Japanese, he was able to create a Japanese version of his magazine Knight of the Immaculate. It grew to a circulation of 65,000 in 1936. He also founded a monastery in Nagasaki and decided to build it on what the locals believed was the “inauspicious” side of the mountain. When the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki, that monastery miraculously survived because the other side of the mountain took the majority of the blast. Today, it serves as a center for Franciscan work.

I also feel like Maximilian’s legacy remains in Nagasaki in other ways. My brother got to visit the city as part of his college’s study abroad program. While he didn’t get to visit the monastery, he did see a lot of monuments dedicated to peace, not to mention a couple of Catholic churches, which are pretty hard to find in Japan. The Japanese’s hope for peace is something I think St. Maximilian Kolbe would be very proud of.