I’m rereading Christ’s Passion, Our Passions: Reflections on the Seven Last Words from the Cross, by Margaret Bullitt-Jonas. You’d think that the first saying she has chosen, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34), would be easy. But no! How easy is it to tell yourself or someone else, “I forgive you,” and mean it? Forgiving is about facing the pain, our own and that of others; it is about the pain we have inflected and the pain that we feel. Bullitt-Jonas suggests that to forgive we must face the damage that has been done, give an honest self-examination, and pray, and perhaps take action.
I’d say that in most situations I forgive little things that happen; I don’t hold many petty grudges. But, I am aware that I carry some long-time resentments that have become such a part of me that I’m not even conscious that I need to forgive. That’s what this Lenten walk through Holy Week is all about for me. If forgiveness of self and others brings me closer to God, it’s worth a try.