Mon | Dec 18, 2017

Sts Peter & Paul embraces forgiveness

Published:Saturday | September 23, 2017 | 12:03 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

In my letter to the editor on Tuesday, September 19, 2017, regarding the arson attack on the Sts Peter and Paul Church, some commented that there was no mention of forgiveness. I certainly appreciate this constructive feedback.

However, the question of forgiveness is implied in the following line of the letter. It reads, "We must renew our resolve to continue participating in the ongoing social and spiritual renewal of our country based on the teachings and values of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church." One such teaching is forgiveness.

Preaching to my wounded congregation on the day of the incident, I reflected on the theme of forgiveness. In so doing, I presented the story of a Native American tale whose elder was talking to a disciple about tragedy. The elder said, "I feel as if I have two wolves fighting in my heart. One wolf is the vengeful, angry, violent one. The other wolf is the loving, compassionate one." The disciple asked, "But which wolf will win the fight in your heart?" And the holy one answered, "It depends on which one I feed."

Forgiveness is possible when we feed the wolf of compassion and mercy. We can feed this wolf by:

- Becoming aware of the presence of the wolf of revenge and violence inside us and gradually letting go of these negative feelings through counselling and prayer.

- Consulting and seeking advice from wise, rather than destructive, persons, including identifying and participating in a group/community that is geared towards the process of healing.

I leave this message for those who are experiencing tragedy, whether it is the people of the hurricane-ravaged areas, refugees, or my own parishioners, "When tragedy strikes ... we stand at the crossroads between hope and despair. Despair cements us in the present. Hope sends us dancing around the dark corners trusting in a tomorrow ... ." That tomorrow begins with placing one foot forward - forgiveness.

Donald Chambers

Pastor

Sts Peter & Paul Catholic Church