What is the appropriate time for performing works of charity? My beloved children, any time is the right time, but these days of Lent provide a special encouragement. Those who want to be present at the Lord’s Passover in holiness of mind and body should seek above all to win this grace. Charity contains all other virtues and covers a multitude of sins.
As we prepare to celebrate that greatest of all mysteries, by which the blood of Jesus Christ destroyed our sins, let us first of all make ready the sacrificial offerings — that is, our works of mercy. What God in his goodness has already given to us, let us give it to those who have sinned against us. –Pope St. Leo the Great (From today’s Office of Readings)
Holding a grudge is so universally human. I have heard many ethnic groups lay a tongue-in-cheek claim to being the champions of holding grudges: What is ___________(insert your favorite ethnicity here) Alzheimer’s disease? You forget everything but the grudges.
Why do we hold grudges? We hold a grudge because we got hurt. We didn’t deserve the hurt. It wasn’t fair. But rather than binding and healing our wound, holding a grudge is like picking at the scab. The wound stays open, festering, and painful.
What Pope St. Leo the Great teaches us in his sermon and what Christ teaches us in the Lord’s Prayer is that we need to let go of our grudges. “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
This is hard. The pain of our wounds is real. These wounds are not self-inflicted. Someone did this to us. Someone should pay.
Someone has paid.
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth;
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son Our Lord,
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into Hell; the third day He rose again from the dead;
So tear up the balance sheet and forgive. Only mercy will heal these wounds