Prayer of St. Francis (6)
Dec 22, 2015
Prayer of St. Francis (6)
Where there is injury, pardon (2)
“Resentment is like drinking poison
and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”
We are continuing to discuss the line of the Prayer of St. Francis that spells out how to heal our world around us by the power of forgiveness.
The lyrics of the song of peace that we may have learned changed the words slightly to say in this line ”Where there is injury, your pardon Lord”, that is, we are to be the face of God in portraying God’s pardon for the injury. Here the prayer is talking about internal injury to the spirit, causing anguish and pain that is so extremely difficult to release. We are to be the instrument of God’s Love for all, for by our forgiveness the person can see and perhaps taste the love of God, who expresses forgiveness because the persons needs forgiveness in their own mind, even though God understands well that the person “did not know what they were doing”.
I can hear you saying, ‘what do you mean they did not know what they were doing?’ Well, from what I understand, we are barely “out of diapers” in the grand scheme of things of the universe, as even if you say human kind is 100,000 years old, how does that fit within the age of our planet of 4.7 billion years? It took an estimated 50,000 years to move from basic life survival to begin to form groups and means of survival beyond basic hunting and scavenging, beginning to see cause and effect; that is assigning causes, which gave rise to rituals and eventually worship, moving in a group mentality. It has only been over the past 10,000 years that humanity has moved to the level of realizing we really can control our own destiny, which is where only about 20% of the world’s population sits according to the experts. Most of the rest is still back in the group mentality level. A pretty small percentage, and not until we survive for a few more thousand years can we begin to reach maturity; unless we do a jump at this critical time. So, yes we are like the small child that spills their milk out of eagerness but not really wanting to do that, we make mistakes in our life out of ignorance of the longer-term results which result in near-term injury. Hopefully at some time in the future we will all take the best we have and move to the level of a Nelson Mandela or a Mother Teresa.
The action that is like the unthinking movement and misplaced action without realizing the longer term results is what we are called to pardon, no matter what it appears to be in this short term.
A perfect example of ‘higher thinking’ is the ‘Marshall Plan’ executed right after the second world war, where we forgave our enemies, Germany and Japan, and gave billions of dollars (130 billion in today’s monies just in western Europe) to them to help rebuild their societies into the thriving societies they are today. A perfect contrast to that action was Russia, who extracted every thing they could from eastern Europe, and left a shambles until the Berlin wall came down and some semblance of hope was given, but even now so much in the eastern Europe is still reeling in shambles some 70 years later. Yes, we did off the plan to Russia and Eastern Europe, but Russia said no.
This brilliant action of pardon of a great injury healed a good part of the world. Oh yes, the plan was decried greatly by many pundits with the cry “How could we help them after what they did.”, but many recognized that repeating what had been done after WW1 where we did nothing would result in a repeated action in the future. The action of Harry Truman and a determined bi-partisan congress created the effort, which started the whole post-war boom. (Yes, sometimes in history this country understood what it was to govern and choose for the good of all.)
We are not asked to choose for the world in the larger sense, but we are asked to be the face of God in our own world, even though much smaller, it is on a person-to-person basis, which is where God operates most effectively. If sufficient numbers of us act in this way, which knows how the world may respond.
“To be wronged is nothing,
unless you continue to remember it.”
Questions to Ponder
What areas in your own life could the action of forgiveness and understanding that “They did not know what they were doing” would ease some of the personal tensions in lives that surround you?
What areas in your own personality can you point to and say “I did not know what I was doing” and start to forgive you of some action?
“Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.”
If this meditation post has been helpful, I would appreciate it if you would pass it on or share it.
I will not be posting on Christmas eve. Have a merry Christmas.