Our lord taught St Peter to forgive “not 7, but 77 times” – always.
Some of us here feel we can’t forgive. We have been so badly hurt by someone that we think it is impossible to forgive, of course, nothing is impossible for God. With His Grace he often astounds us – miracles happen. However, God does not expect us to forgive, if, despite all our efforts, we are too hurt to forgive. All he asks is for us to want to forgive.
True story of Mr Garnier (Miracle at Lourdes).
Mr Garnier was imprisoned because of careless talk from his friends. During a law case involving Mr Garnier’s business dealing, his friend had failed to tell the truth. This put Mr Garnier in prison for several years.
Mr Garnier also lost his property, his business and seriously weakened his health. Also, his friend could have set Mr Garnier free anytime during those several years, by just admitting that he lied. When Mr Garnier’s wife pleaded with him to forgive his friend, she was derided and mocked by him. Mr Garnier would not only refuse to forgive he also wants to take revenge. However, because of his wife’s love for him, Mr Garnier agreed to make a pilgrimage to Lourdes
At Lourdes, Mr Garnier watched many praying before the grotto of our lady. He was most impressed by a girl about 15 years old. She was kneeling, completely oblivious of others because of the intensity of her prayer praying with outstretched arms. Mr Garnier prayed that this girl’s requests might be heard by God. The Rosary began.
One sentence of the Our Father prayer suddenly re-opened the wound in Mr Garnier’s heart. “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive …” He could not do that – forgive his friend. The 15-year-old girl offered him a glass of the Lourdes water. She said to him: “Sir the suffering on your face moved me so deeply that I forgot my own suffering in order to pray for you” and Mr Garnier replied, “and I, my child asked the Lord to answer your prayer.” The girl responded, “I came to pray for my father. My father has cancer, but his spiritual suffering is much greater. He brought great misfortune to his friend by bearing false witness against him. Tortured by his conscience he sent a letter after he was released from prison begging his forgiveness but did not receive any answer to it. Now he is wasting away in despair/remorse/ nothing will console him/ his spirit is dying because his friend will not forgive him.”
Mr Garnier could scarcely speak “so you are Jacqueline?” “Yes, that’s me” replied the girl. Mr Garnier, full of emotion, then said, “I am your father’s victim. Because I prayed for you for your request to be answered. I have to forgive your father. Let me go to confession and then let us hurry to your father so that he can receive back his friend who this day wants to do only good. Let us drop our grudges and desires for revenge and try to forgive, so that we will be set free and Christ will fulfill his plan for us.”
Christ Jesus is the example. He always forgives he is infinite mercy.
Our Lord went as far as offering Himself on the cross so that we would be forgiven of our sins.
St Paul says (Romans), “while we were still sinners Christ died for us.”
Therefore, we must do as Christ did.
Christ said, “Love your enemy and bless those who persecute you.”
We must also forgive our enemy.
We must even suffer and die for our enemy as Christ did, and offer our suffering, which our enemy inflicted on us, for the conversion and healing of our enemy, as Christ did. “Love one another as I have loved you.” “Be holy as I am holy.”
The way we pay back the person who wrongs us, is to pay them back with love.
God is love.
Fr. Doug Harris 2020