Lenten Reflections (2) – Forgiveness
From April 2 to 6, to commemorate Holy Week, I invite you to pause in your busy lives to reflect on the passion of Christ. I share with you a series of ceramic work that I created on the five sorrowful mysteries of the rosary. The images are accompanied by mini-meditations from Regnum Christi, an organization born in the heart of the Church, whose mission is to bring Christ’s redemptive message to every heart. You will also find inspirational quotes from Henri J. Nouwen, a Dutch priest, author, respected professor and beloved pastor who wrote over 40 books on the spiritual life.
The Scourging at the Pillar
Matthew 27:26. Pilate released Barabbas to them. Jesus, however, he first had scourged; then he handed Him over to be crucified.
Reflection: Source: Regnum ChristiIn the scourging, Mary’s heart was flayed to pieces alongside Jesus’ body. Yet both of them were not just victims of their suffering. They were taking it and offering it, lash by lash, in reparation for our sins. Without special assistance from God, most people would simply be crushed in body and spirit, broken under a load too heavy to carry. Others would find their souls burned by a desire for revenge and an all-consuming hatred of the oppressors. But Mary and Jesus received the grace to forgive. And this was no easy forgiveness. The soldiers and the Pharisees were not sorry for what they were doing. How does one forgive an evil person who is not sorry for torturing the one you love most? Only God can do this, and only a heart sustained by his grace could ever have the strength to rise above and forgive in the moment.
Mary understands why sometimes we want to keep grudges or block certain people out of our lives. Forgiveness is costly, and it can offend our innate sense of justice. But it is the way of God. Without forgiveness, we nourish a cancer in our own hearts, and this cancer eats away at us a little more each day.
Let us pray for the courage to begin walking the road of pardon and peace, which is the way of our own healing.
Henri Nouwen on Forgiveness
“To forgive another person from the heart is an act of liberation. We set that person free from the negative bonds that exist between us. We say, “I no longer hold your offense against you” But there is more. We also free ourselves from the burden of being the “offended one.” As long as we do not forgive those who have wounded us, we carry them with us or, worse, pull them as a heavy load. The great temptation is to cling in anger to our enemies and then define ourselves as being offended and wounded by them. Forgiveness, therefore, liberates not only the other but also ourselves. It is the way to the freedom of the children of God.” – Henri Nouwen
* The Mysteries of the Rosary series was created at the Fire Escape in Calgary. Many thanks to Jacqui & JD Esler and Kellee for their wonderful technical support while I was working on the mysteries at the studio.