Prayer of St. Francis (28)
Feb 16, 2016
Prayer of St. Francis (28)
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned (3)
“I think that if God forgives us
We must forgive ourselves.
Otherwise, it is like setting ourselves
As a higher tribunal than God.”
C. S. Lewis
Perhaps the most difficult task on our world of physicality is to forgive ourselves of the myriad things we believe we have done in the journey through life.
We are pardoned as we pardon others, but what about pardoning ourselves? It is usually easier to forgive another than to forgive ourselves for things we did or did not do. We seem to hold ourselves to be perfect in all that we do; and chide ourselves unendingly for mistakes that we made along the way, even when we had no idea that we were making a mistake, and heaven help us when we deliberately do something that we know we should not. We mentally flog ourselves mercilessly, often for years, over these events, even when in the case of an addiction, we have no control at that point to stop our behavior. Yes, I have done this to myself, prolonging the pain because I could not forgive myself even though I knew God had forgiven me.
But the truth is, we do many things that we wish we had not done, or we fail to do things that we wish we had done, because we are like children learning our way through life, always learning our way anew each day. If we have some wisdom, we will stop ourselves or at last slow down our negative actions as we realize that they do not result in what we really want, but that usually takes years of trial and error to reach the point where we are able to change our pattern of behavior.
The growth in maturity takes time, and we never reach the end of the opportunity to be able to perform more enriched actions in accordance to the Prayer of St. Francis. We can always love more. We can always reach out more. We can always listen better. We can always understand another better. But just because we can do something better, is no reason to castigate ourselves for past actions. We can note what we did, and perhaps see where we could have more charitable, etc., But if we are to succeed in growth towards what we see, we must accept what we did and move on to do it better, then better still.
That is what life is about. Growth to the next level of action and reaction is the principle purpose of life. We can always rise to the next level of the grandest vision we ever had about ourselves, for there is always another level to climb, a still greater vision, for all eternity if we so choose.
And it is a joy, perhaps the greatest Joy that we can have, to grow into the being that we truly are inside, and as we reveal that Face of God that is ours to reveal, we will discover still greater joy and happiness, greater than we ever thought could happen.
The Kingdom of God Within
We are reaching for Heaven on Earth, that Kingdom of God Within that Jesus promised, and we can only reach that level of Joy by recognizing that all of our actions, no matter what they were, are the path we trod to reach that level of Joy, and is our path, and only our path to trod. Therefore it is the path led by our will with God and also the will of God (nothing can occur against the will of God, after all, for Who is God?).
Accepting our actions as the path we choose to trod and as a result is the path we trod with God at our side, nudging us and constantly encouraging us to move on, growing in knowledge one step at a time, is the road to Heaven on earth, recognizing that Kingdom that lives within. Therefore we should rejoice in our path, and thank God for this path, and thank God for all our mistakes, as our mistakes have made us the person we are today, moving forward now with greater knowledge than if we had not made the mistakes we had made.
Yes, forgive yourself, and love yourself, for God loves you, just as you are, right now, this very instant.
“You cannot conceive, nor can I,
Of the appalling strangeness
Of the mercy of God.”
Questions to Ponder
Can you forgive yourself of all the mean things you did, all the acts of kindness that you did not do, all the things that you said that you see now were hurtful, everything that in your mind you cling to and use to flog yourself?
Take one at a time, say that yes, I could have done better, but that is what I did, and I will use what I did (or did not do) to spur me on to perform better, and if I fail next time, I will use that to encourage me.
Then let it go into the past, for there is nothing that will change the past. Let it go, just an event that you can use to aid in growth.
“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.”
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