Beloved in Christ,
"...you each forgive your brother from your heart" (Mt. 18:35). "Forgven." It is the name of the contemporary Gospel band that came out of our parish. The word is misspelled intentionally to convey a message. I have the band's t-shirt on as I write this message. They deployed poetic license in spelling the word the way they did, and in saying that, they omitted the I and replaced it with monstrance displaying Jesus in the Eucharist. The name and the concept behind the missing "I" partly inspired the following poem on forgiveness:
Forgiven, You Must Forgive from the Heart.
How can I be a forgiving Christian?
I, who have been betrayed by my beloved.
One who displays the wrath of Sharayar,
Ceases to lay claim to the name Christian.
Need to imitate the divine master,
For immensely the debt, he forgave you.
To be Christlike is to forgive like Him.
He let go of rage and uttered mercy.
Lamech's seventy-sevenfold vengeance,
Binds the soul perpetually in prison.
While Jesus' seventy times seven
Frees the heart tethered to echoes of hurt.
Forgiven repeatedly by the Lord,
Forgive from the heart just like Jesus did.
Without receiving forgiveness, which Christ gives generously to those who approach him in the Sacrament of reconciliation, we cannot approach Jesus worthily in Holy Communion. However, we must remember this: we must be Christ-like in forgiving others. To love is to forgive.
In His Joy,
Fr. Alayode Bernard, OP