Pope Francis : “There is no need to go to a psychologist to know that when we denigrates another person it is because we are unable to grow up and need to belittle others, to feel more important.” This, he said, is “an ugly mechanism”. Jesus, “with all the simplicity says: “Do not speak ill of one another. Do not denigrate one another. Do not belittle one another”. The Pope noted, “in the end we are all travelling on the same road”, “we are all travelling on that road that will take us to the very end.” Therefore “if we do not choose a fraternal path, it will end badly, for the person who insults and the insulted”. The Pope noted that “if we are not able to keep our tongues in check, we lose”. “Natural aggression, that of Cain toward Abel, repeats itself throughout history.” Pope Francis observed that it is not that we are bad, rather “we are weak and sinners.” That’s why it is “much easier”, to “resolve a situation with an insult, with slander, defamation instead of resolving it with good means”.
Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
Reflection. My last reflection focused on “Is gossip a sin”, and I think that the Holy Father’s homily above also very well fits into the discussion. But today, I wanted to take it a step further. Reflection on the heart. How many of us hold grudges against our fellow man? How many of us find it hard to forgive and forget the past. When I say forget, I don’t mean forgetting what happened per say, but more reflecting on the past and just simply learning to let go. Our suffering can cause our hearts to harden. Our suffering can cause us to lose faith. Our suffering can cause us to turn away from the Lord. When all along, we should have been connecting our suffering with God- that is, turning even more to Him for reconciliation and grace. If we cannot forgive, we truly cannot enter His kingdom. Just as we must repent for our sins against Him, we must also learn to turn from anger and offer up forgiveness to those that have done us wrong. As Jesus said,
“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who insult you and persecute you,”
But what does this really mean? It means simply and quite bluntly, to forgive. Hate leads to sin. Anger leads to sin. We must reflect on the hardness of our hearts, and soften them, and love one another as Christ loves us. To be hurt by another is truly hard. But through this hurt, we learn. But what do we learn? Without forgiveness our “lesson plan” cannot be completed. We must learn from those that persecute and hurt us, and offer up our forgiveness to them, understanding love in a Christocentric form. Christ is the center of everything. God came down from Heaven, was persecuted, and killed so that we may live again. His whole purpose on our planet was for forgiveness of our sins and love. As a populace, we often tend to forget this. I have heard many say, even myself, that “I never regret anything that has happened, good or bad, in my life because it made me who I am”. This statement, in itself, can be awfully loaded. For although this may sound good, did we truly learn from these transgressions without repentance and forgiveness. Once again, we must look to our hearts, our hardened hearts, and ask ourselves for God’s grace- not only for forgiveness of others, but to accept the love that He puts forth for us to obtain. We must turn to our hearts and soften our ways. We must let go of anger, hate, and truly love one another. Sin and the World are the evil one’s domain. We must turn to Christ for His grace, and learn to forgive the transgressions of others, and pray for them to truly be happy on this Earth.
Often times, when I go back and reflect on those that have hardened my heart, I now, as a Soldier of God, realize that these people most often were in situations of pain and anger that I did not understand- that is, they were hardened and took it out on me. To forgive them now, and to pray for them now, not only gives me the grace that I need, but it also makes me realize how much the other person was hurting- was suffering. We must pray for love, we must pray for grace, we must repent for our transgressions, and most of all, we must pray to forgive. God Bless! ~CJA