Tuesday, September 9, 2014


When you're awake, the things you think
Come from the dreams you dream
Thought has wings, and lots of things
Are seldom what they seem
Sometimes you think you've lived before
All that you live today
Things you do come back to you
As though they knew the way  
Robert Capon Farrar tells us that God does not forgive our transgressions because we have made ourselves forgivable. There is nothing we can do to earn forgiveness. We are forgiven solely because there is a Divine forgiver who loves us unconditionally. There is nothing we can do to earn it or lose his love.(Matthew 18:21-35)

Love is at the core of Jesus’ teachings and forgiveness is why he died and was resurrected. Why is it then that we have such a hard time forgiving? Is it because it’s so closely tied to memory and the human inability to forget? These two human behaviors are really mutually exclusive, yet we blithely say as if it’s even possible, “let’s forgive and forget.” No wonder we have a difficult time looking at personal hurt as Jesus did. He did not tell us to forget about it; he told us to see God in those who have hurt us and just let it go.  

We now approach another anniversary of September 11, 2001, an infamous day in our history, which for those of us living here in the Northeast, carries with it even stronger hurts and remembrances of those loved ones who lost their lives. We will remember them but can we “forgive and forget?” I don’t think so. Perhaps if we dwell on the memory of those loved ones we lost on that fateful Tuesday, we can begin or at least continue the process of forgiving. However, it’s easier said than done. To that end, I find the words of Anthony Padovano particularly comforting as we reflect on the importance of remembering: 

When we remember, we leave the present for the past. To say it better, we bring the past into the present and give it life alongside the tangible realities we are compelled to consider. In our memory of a loved one we choose to relate to him/her even though, since he is not present, we need not relate to him. Not physical presence but love leads us to live with this remembered person even in her absence. When the love is strong, the memory of this absent person may be dearer and more real than the reality of those who are present. Memory is sometimes the difference between life and death, between hope and despair, between strength for another day and the collapse of all meaning. Our memory of another confers the present upon him, gives him further life in our life, and keeps a moment of the past from drifting away or fading into death. We are fed and nourished by communion of life in which two lives intersect in memory and merge into common experience. No lover forgets. No beloved is forgotten. The memory of love is life; the memory of another becomes our selves. So when the communion of believers remembers Jesus, when the bride is alive with the thought of her Spouse, Christ is present. Jesus is brought into the present with his grace by the force of memory in the power of the Spirit…The gift of the Sprit is fidelity to the memory of life’s mystery and confidence in the mystery of its future.  (Anthony Padovano, Dawn without Darkness)


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