Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A Ministry of Reconciliation

“Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who trespass against us”. We profess these words every time we say “The Lord’s Prayer”. But when we say it, do we realize what we are saying? Do we realize that we are professing to practice forgiveness and reconciliation? As ambassadors of Christ, we have the responsibility to love one another. But, how do we show this love? Do we only love those who behave as we think they should? Do we stop loving when we are hurt or disappointed?
It is my belief that no act shows greater love than that of forgiveness. This life-giving power of forgiveness stems from its nature as a whole new way of life. Not to forgive is to allow our wounds to blind us; to forgive means to see again. We see ourselves as we really are, no longer the helpless victim, but rather one who also has hurt others; one who is loved infinitely, and who, in Christ, has the inner capacity to love generously. To forgive is to see those who have hurt us as they really are, not as evil adversaries, but as brothers and sisters who struggle with and suffer from their own weakness and hurts and wounds. Our very will to forgive in this way opens us both, forgiver and forgiven, to a future that is loving and new. Not to forgive causes us to stay buried and bitter in a past that will only serve to cripple and destroy us. Love, as Christ teaches us, compels us to forgive and to be welcoming to those who have injured us.
We cannot truly forgive unless we also seek reconciliation. We, as the church community, should always be willing to take up the task of reconciliation among ourselves and labor to open up our hearts to one another in the spirit of love and forgiveness. . Without forgiveness there is no reconciliation, and without reconciliation, there can be no real church community and the Kingdom of God, of which Christ spoke, does not exist.
To live our lives as a sacrament of reconciliation is, of course, beyond our own powers. We learn this hard lesson every time we look for reconciliation and meet instead what seems to be hopeless heartache. The truth is that we ourselves injure others, just as others injure us. We eventually learn by our own experience that to forgive is to also to try to forget a hurt or injury. Anyone who has tried to forgive and to become reconciled knows that our efforts are useless unless they are upheld by the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ. We cannot on our own change or open up human heart, not even our own. But, there is one who can, and who has reconciled to God not only us, but all of humanity, past, present and future, "making peace through the blood of his cross" (Col 1:20). It is in Christ that we can, along with our own labors, make of our life a ministry of reconciliation by constant prayer for ourselves and for those with whom we need and long to be reconciled.
As a lay minister in the Catholic Church, it is my responsibility to be an Ambassador of Christ. By my actions, I must strive to be an example to the community of Christ’s teachings and His way of living. I must become a minister of reconciliation. To do this, I must make love, forgiveness and reconciliation the cornerstones of my life. With the help of Jesus Christ, this task may become easier for me.

Peace and Love,


"Be still and know that I am God"(Psalm 46:10)

No comments:

Post a Comment