UNFORGIVENESS IS THE CAUSE by Father Al Lauer Presentation Ministries "Forgive as the Lord has forgiven you." --Colossians 3:13 When I was first ordained a priest, I believed that over 50 percent of all problems were due to unforgiveness. After ten years in ministry, I revised my estimate and maintained 75 to 80 percent of all health, marital, family, and financial problems came from unforgiveness. Now, after almost twenty years in ministry, I have concluded that over 90 percent of all problems are rooted in unforgiveness. THE NECESSITY OF FORGIVENESS If most problems come from unforgiveness, we can understand why Jesus emphasizes forgiveness to an extreme degree. When Peter suggested to Jesus that we should forgive seven times, he was correct. (Mt 18:21) Seven in the Bible stands for an indefinite number of times, so Peter was saying we should forgive indefinitely. This is the correct answer but not the correct emphasis. Jesus proclaims we should forgive "seventy times seven," indefinitely times indefinitely. (Mt 18:22) Jesus further emphasizes forgiveness by saying God's kingdom is a matter of forgiveness and those who do not forgive are handed over to torturers. (Mt 18:23, 34) And when the disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray, Jesus told them to pray they be forgiven as they forgive. (Mt 6:12) This means prayer will hurt rather than help us if we do not forgive. This is the only point in the Lord's prayer on which Jesus commented. He reiterated: "If you forgive the faults of others, your heavenly Father will forgive you yours. If you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive you." (Mt 6:14-15) Jesus insists on forgiveness. We must pass on the forgiveness He has given us by the shedding of His blood on Calvary. THE POISON AND TORTURE OF UNFORGIVENESS Why do we refuse to forgive? Are we punishing the other person and protecting ourselves from further harm? Not really. Our enemies suffer minimally from our unforgiveness compared with the damage we do to ourselves. The verdict we pass on others is passed on us. (Mt 7:2) Unforgiveness is a fatal poison which cuts us off from forgiveness (Mk 11:24-25), and worship. (Mt 5:23-24) Then, when we are separated from the graces, we are handed over to the torturers. (Mt 18:34) These torturers are not people, but worse. They are such experiences as fear, depression, frustration, anxiety, self-hatred and loneliness. As these and other torturers work over us, we deteriorate to a level of existence which is characterized by fruitless, compulsive, escapist activities. THE MIRACLE AND MIRAGE OF FORGIVENESS We must forgive others and ourselves or destroy ourselves. Yet it is humanly impossible to forgive. "To err is human, to forgive is divine." Only God can forgive. To forgive another is more miraculous than healing someone in the most advanced stages of cancer. But God will do this miracle for us. However, many times we do not ask for the miracle of forgiveness be- cause we are deceived by the devil into thinking we have already forgiven another. Many people help deceive themselves by re-defining forgiveness to be the control of hostile feelings instead of a merciful expression of love. Forgiveness is not a feeling but a decision to let go of hurt due to an offense and to express this by extending loving mercy to those who have hurt us. The Lord calls us to forgive affection- ately, generously, and mercifully, as the father of the prodigal son did. (Lk 15:20ff) The following diagnostic questions can help us know if we've deceived ourselves about forgiving others. 1) Am I conscious that God gave me the grace to forgive and that I did not do it myself? If you are not aware that God did it, He may not have. 2) Have I forgiven but not forgotten? If God is working, He will give you the grace both to forgive and forget. 3) Can I picture myself embracing the other person? (see Lk 15:20) 4) Do I appreciate Confession (the Sacrament of Reconciliation) and celebrate it frequently? If we are forgiving graciously and lovingly, we are being forgiven in this way in the sacrament. This would attract us to Confession. A "No" answer to on of these questions doesn't mean we've not forgiven but it's a bad sign. FORGIVENESS AND MERCY The essence of forgiveness by God's standards is the giving of mercy. Mercy means to treat others better than they deserve. When we extend mercy to those who have offended us, we kiss prodigal sons, give presents to offenders, and have special celebrations in honor of our enemies. These people don't deserve this, but we have mercy on them anyway. We don't deserve the redemptive death of God's Son, the shedding of His blood, and the promise of eternal happiness. But He has given them to us anyway because of His mercy. The Lord expects us to pass on to others the merciful forgiveness we have received from Him. We are reluctant to do this because of the high cost of extending mercy. Although Jesus has paid the price for mercy by His death on Calvary, He lets us share in His sufferings. (see Col 1:24) For example, if someone hits your car, you can have mercy on them and pay for it yourself. That mercy may cost you $800.00. That is some of the cheapest mercy you'll ever give. What if your husband told you he had committed adultery but that he would never do it again? He wanted you to take him back and help put your marriage back together. If you have mercy on him, you will take a tremendous emotional, psychological, and spiritual loss. Even if you don't have mercy, you will suffer. But you feel like making your husband pay for his adultery as much as possible because you don't have to pay for it as much if you take it out on him. Mercy is so expensive that we don't want to think of it. Pope John Paul II taught: "The present day mentality, more perhaps than that of people in the past, seems opposed to a God of mercy, and in fact tends to exclude from life and to remove from the human heart the very idea of mercy. The word and the concept of 'mercy' seems to cause uneasiness in man." (_Rich In Mercy_, 2) In a world of gross injustices, we feel embarrassed to talk of mercy to victims of violence, rape, abuse, and racism. But when we have mercy, we are not condoning sin but loving sinners. In fact, the more we love sinners, the more we hate the sin that degrades them. We must follow the example of Jesus, the most victimized Person Who has ever lived. He said" "Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing." (Lk 23:34) Then He extended His mercy by promising the good thief that he would be in paradise that very day. (Lk 23:43) Even as Jesus died, He poured forth the abundant stream of mercy. In the Old Testament, the gold plate over the ark of the covenant was called the "propitiatory," or "mercy-seat." Here Yahweh sat in all His mercy. The New Testament fulfillment of the mercy-seat is the tabernacle. Come before the tabernacle, into the presence of the eucharistic Jesus. Ask for mercy to come to you and through you. You may even put out your hand and touch the tabernacle, the new mercy-seat. With that touch, you can receive what the hemorrhaging woman experienced when she touched the hem of Jesus' robe. (see Lk 8:46) You will experience God's power and the miracle of mercy. THE PRAYER OF FORGIVENESS If we see that we have not forgiven by extending God's mercy, we should repent and simply ask the Lord to do the miracle of forgiveness. Our prayerful decision to forgive and God's grace is all that's necessary. Our prayer will be answered immediately. But sometimes our prayer does not seem to work because we are only mouthing the words and deep down don't want to forgive. We are like the unforgiving brother of the prodigal son (Lk 15:28) or like Jonah in his hatred of the Ninevites. (Jon 3:10--4:1) In this case, we should back our prayer up a step and pray not from where we should be but from where we are. Before we pray to forgive, we should pray to be willing to forgive. Otherwise, our hearts will contradict our words. God will give us the willingness and then the forgiveness. We should then celebrate this forgiveness in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. THE EMBRACE OF FORGIVENESS The sign of forgiveness is outstretched arms. The forgiving father threw his arms around the neck of the prodigal son and kissed him. (Lk 15:20) Jesus received the embrace and kiss of Judas, and forgave him. (Mk 14:45) Finally, Jesus stretched out His arms on the cross and would have embraced us all if we had not nailed His arms to the cross. Right now, imagine embracing someone you need to forgive. By God's grace and in God's mercy, say to this person: "I forgive you." Now go, embrace these people. If this is impossible, call or write them without delay. If they are aware of problems in their relationship with you, apologize to them and ask them to forgive you for not forgiving them. Then give them a gift. (see Lk 15:22ff) Show the mercy of our forgiving Father. If those you need to forgive have died or are not able to be contacted, ask Jesus to contact them and pass on your forgiveness. Don't lose any time. (Mt 5:25) Receive the miracle of forgiveness now. -- Printed with ecclesiastical permission, Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Reproduced with permission.
This afternoon I had the chance to think about the things I wanted to do in my life be it now or in the near future. I also thought of the things I’ve done in the past and what have I gained through them in a positive way. There were so many good things that had happened and at the same time there were those which haunted me coz I felt I didn’t try my best for them. I was simply a coward at times I might say or I didn’t care enough or I felt they weren’t so important coz I was too arrogant or selfish to act on them. Ofcourse to some people they’re important but bec I was too selfish, …for me they aren’t and I somehow feel guilty about them. Now I am trying to defend myself so as not to feel guilty on some aspects. Sometimes I blame no one but me but sometimes I also blame certain situations which could have change my attitude on those particular issues that I could have dealt with enough courage. However it’s time to move on coz what had happened had happened so let’s deal with it…move on… I guess I have learned a lot from those issues that have been thrown upon me…Do what you have to do which you think is right and the best way for that matter to be solved…Don’t take shit…I learned this from my fave actress Kristen Stewart…she’s young, she’s not perfect, she makes some mistakes too in her life but what I like most about her ( as witnessed from the many fans and people who’ve known her… she sticks with what she believes in and acts on them…such a courageous young woman)…I guess that’s what I don’t have at times…I knew that I’m right but I lack the courage to act on them…I worry a lot because I was too selfish…lacking passion on the things I love to do . I need to do and I should do…Yes passion and conviction…and not to forget compassion…coz if you don’t have compassion selfishness sets in and it’s for me more of a hindrance to be able to understand others and accept their situations and help them in what they need…for their own benefit!
On the other hand if you think you are still confused with a lot of things and you have your own fears in making decisions in life seek also God’s guidance and love…and as I always say He’ll provide us enough courage to fight and settle our issues in our everyday life! God bless everyone!
Oh …Terrorism in Norway?…Another sad sad news!…As our world make changes for the better it also has its share of worst times…At times it feels as if it’s better to just dream coz in our dreams we can make things better…and we can always dream and hope for the best…That’s why I always dream:)
Some of our movies and popular books were also products of our dreams…and I really don’t complain because some of them teach us how to love unconditionally…just like Twilight…
Bella and Edward’s love story is an example of it…In Twilight Edward refuses to turn Bella into a vampire because he doesn’t want her to lose her soul…In New Moon he let her go but Bella’s love for Edward won’t just let it … that they won’t be together again… and so she saved him in the end and they were reunited in love…In Eclipse their love was tested and they won in the end…In Breaking Dawn Bella showed Edward that her love has no boundaries that she could sacrificed herself for the ones she loves…she got pregnant and decided to face her pregnancy to protect the child in her womb and give the baby a life of her own because the baby for her is a product of love…how sweet it is even if it’s just a product of the author’s dream…
I love how Kristen Stewart defended Bella’s pregnancy in some of her interviews…that Bella Swan’s character chose to have a baby with the man she loves…maybe some people might find it just a crazy story, a fantasy but I find it different…it has to be love, true love to sacrifice your life to the ones you love…
In our country there were debates on who are pro life and who aren’t…what is constitutional and what isn’t?…what could solve poverty and what couldn’t?…I guess I love Kristen Stewart’s defense on Bella’s pregnancy…she wanted to have a baby because she loved the baby and she loved her husband…No need to say you are pro life or anti life…Just one word…LOVE… you love the baby inside your womb and you wanted to protect her from harm no matter what…
Terrorism grows because we don’t care about lives…We are worst than the terrorists…We plant bombs in mothers’ wombs even before they were born…and when we hear stories of killings we cringed…we get angry…but in reality we’ve killed our sons and daughters with our own selfishness and greed …we should know better…
I hope someday this world we live in would be humble enough to face the truth and follow the teachings of God that we must protect life and each other from harm even the unborn…
Yay back again!…There are so many funny, and ahhhh some crazy happenings for the past week…We had to finish some paper works for our school culminating activities….but sadly we had to make some revisions in accomplishing some of our important documents in school…all we did was erase erase everything we’ve done already …ahhhh it was a crazy week I may say! Why do we have to revise pertinent documents at the last minute?….Just hope next time it won’t be the same again…release some guidelines earlier as much as possible so we can avoid doing erasures at the last minute….
Speaking of fun times now and forget those crazy times for a while…my buddy and I met a teacher from another school in our town during the time we had to see a supervisor to help us accomplish our documents in school…The teacher we met was just so hospitable that everything that was annoying on that day was suddenly changed into something worthy to remember …The hospitable teacher saved the day!
Yes… the reason why it’s sometimes hard to get by during the day is when we get to meet annoying ,stubborn, and proud people in our lives….It makes our work so hard to accomplish….but when some people understand what we really need to do and they have the same sentiments as we do then even a difficult work becomes easy for us to do….Some things and some people do inspire us but others don’t give a damn…
Now speaking of Robsten, my good friend Nikki who I consider as my daughter too:) talked about R/K….Yes we both thank God for Robsten finding each other and loving each other …I told her it was rare to see couples like them in Hollywood…We should be proud of them and she agreed:)….We even talked about how Kristen’s ex- BF never gave Rob a chance to be with him in a photo or even shake Rob’s hand….We felt that was arrogance on his part knowing as Kristen’s BF before he should have been hospitable in meeting his GF’s co-star at that time….but sad to say he gripped her so tightly and so he lost her in the end…Ahhhh so much with the past !!!…What’s important right now is that our Robsten are together and happy…. Generosity and hospitality are great qualities that we must possess…If only we people are sensitive to the needs of others we can survive whatever will come our way even the difficult times…
Our Hearts’ Desires
So brand new to begin,
My heart’s desires are simply true
Hoping we’re not asking too much
Coz we’re in love, we care a lot……
Oh it’s not easy to fall in love
Your heart is aching, desires are breaking
Things are hard and don’t meet halfway
And so we chose to break away…….
Now we have new plans for the future
I chose my way, you chose your way
Until the end, our hearts’ desires,
Will set us free…….
Dedicated to all the lovers out there, the brokenhearted, the separated, and even to those who have mended their broken hearts…..
Mary, did you know
That your baby boy will one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know
That your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
Did you know
That your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you’ve delivered
Will soon deliver you
Mary, did you know
That your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary, did you know
That your baby boy will calm a storm with His hand?
Did you know
That your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
And when you kiss your little baby
You’ve kissed the face of God
Mary, did you know?
The blind will see
The deaf will hear
And the dead will live again
The lame will leap
The dumb will speak
The praises of the Lamb
Mary, did you know
That your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know
That your baby boy will one day rule the nations?
Did you know
That your baby boy is heaven’s perfect Lamb?
This sleeping child you’re holding
Is the Great I Am
Oh Mary did you know?
In less than half an hour we’ll be celebrating Earth Hour…Yes we must save energy for the sake of our planet…We must save Mother Earth…In our own country we are experiencing El Nino….We can see the economic, social, environmental effects of El Nino… Some would suffer from heat strokes and other health problems, damage to agriculture and food shortages, unemployment, domestic water shortages, even fish kills are hitting us and a lot more…. This must be the reason too why there are so many vehicular accidents nowadays….Drivers are becoming impatient, irritable because of the hot weather….Yes, we almost had an accident this afternoon and I blame it on the weather somehow…..It is the heat that had made the drivers irritable….and I pity the drivers who would be on the road everyday and would have to stand the heat for so many hours….and yet the weather in turn if she could only speak would probably tell us….Well you don’t have to blame me….you must do something in order to save our planet from experiencing climate change or global warming and other environmental problems……
Today is the Feast of the Holy Family for Catholics but it could be for all families in the whole world as well….We make God as the center of our lives and Mama Mary, Joseph, and Jesus as our Holy Family….We are trying hard to follow the Holy Family in terms of having loving, generous, supportive members in our own families….How can we be a true family?
The key is we the children must never, never disrespect our parents, no matter what….I see how children nowadays treat their parents inappropriately….Most of our shows on TV and in movies show children as rebels,corrupt, disobedient while parents are shown as unfit as well to handle their kids….Remember some songs of Eminem….a son blaming his parents for his misery….and so many other songs telling us how we hated our own immediate families…..how come we never asked ourselves, what can I do to my family instead of blaming parents or your siblings for all your failures….What have you done as member in a family to save it?…. Have I been a good child myself…..If your parents failed to show love within your family, you have to make a difference instead….Show them how much you care for them by being a good daughter or a son…..to bring out the best in your family……You may never know you’ll be the miracle that your parents are looking for….
Another big family that we should consider is “us” the whole community….including neighbors, friends, relatives, co workers etc….We must also include in our family the environment itself (animals and plants) that we should love, protect, and respect as well….
Remember my friends…..”We are all part of God’s family”…