Forgiving wrongs darker than death or night


I watched part of a TV programme some weeks ago; it presented what purported to be the nation's favourite live comedians. The misogynistic content of some of the material was frightening: vile, obscene hate-charged spewing of the worst kind - and this to an audience which included women, many of whom were laughing raucously, complicit in their own degradation.

Later I pondered the hatred exhibited by these so-called comedians and also the self-hatred exhibited by the complicitous women in the audience and, do you know, I could feel my heart shrink. The heart shrinks in the face of human hatred it can't understand. But in an illuminating flash, I knew the soul has no such limitations of understanding: the soul expands to embrace what it knows to be the fear behind all hatred and the hurting which lies behind all fear. The soul knows that there is no cure for hatred but love.

"To forgive wrongs darker than death or night," are words I came across recently somewhere. The liberating beauty of forgiveness engages me more and more as I journey through life. I know from experience that the energy we spend sustaining and nourishing hurt and bitterness is huge; I also know from experience that that same energy, when freed by the power of forgiveness, can move us forward from our sticking-place as nothing else can. There is nothing more liberating of the soul's singing than to "forgive wrongs darker than death or night."

Something else I know from experience is that forgiveness is a lesson we have to learn anew each and every day. For ordinary broken human beings, which is what we all are, it is hard to accept the full weight of wrongs perpetrated against us and forgive the wrongdoer in a spirit of total understanding. In the face of wounds inflicted on us as individuals or as members of a religious group, or race, or gender, it is easy to forget the liberating effects of forgiveness and easier still  to hold fast to the sticking-place of bitterness.

Seventy times may be the number of times we are called on to forgive another. I don't know that it gets any easier, but I do know that the knowledge of love and peace and joy, the lightness of being one experiences through each act of forgiveness, the beautiful consolation of letting go, all draw one into the profound meaning of life itself.


31st July 2019 The Guest House
21st June 2019 The Glorious Abundance of the Almighty
25th March 2019 Shrinking
15th January 2019 Balance is All
19th November 2018 The human hunger for beauty
9th October 2018 Shifting Perspectives
19th June 2018 Thank God I was wrong
16th May 2018 "Today is a new dawn, new, clean and fresh - and so are you, my dear! Don't worry. All is well."
26th March 2018 The Long Winter
7th March 2018 The Gift of Tears
19th January 2018 An Understanding of Kindness
14th December 2017 Do You See This Woman?
17th October 2017 We Are All One with You
7th September 2017 Gaps
20th June 2017 "Love is not loved."
25th April 2017 I Hope You Dance
21st March 2017 From Darkness to Dawn
27th October 2016 The Bright Field
27th June 2016 The Enemy Within
31st May 2016 The Little Way to The Almighty
25th January 2016 Love Immeasurable
11th November 2015 Letting Go
21st May 2015 The Gift of Loss
6th May 2015 Walls
24th November 2014 Leaning into Winter
24th October 2014 Crossing the Road
25th June 2014 Fetters of the Soul
30th April 2014 The Power of Gratitude
10th March 2014 The Darkling Thrush
11th February 2014 Spring
10th February 2014 Masks
3rd February 2014 Dancing in the Wind
21st January 2014 Chains of nostalgia
13th January 2014 Forgiving wrongs darker than death or night
7th January 2014 Singing out Loud
17th December 2013 CHRISTMAS FOUND
9th December 2013 Withering into the Truth
2nd December 2013 The Celtic Prayer Garden
25th November 2013 Missing Dates
18th November 2013 NEARER GOD’S HEART
12th November 2013 Night
27th April 2010 Healing God
25th November 2009 Our Poverty
1st September 2009 Which of the two tigers will win the fight?
1st June 2009 Be your own role model
25th May 2009 The Feast of the Ascension of the Lord
18th May 2009 Power of the real presence
7th May 2009 "Lessons I did not learn in School" - by Bill Gates
30th March 2009 The Long Walk to Freedom
23rd March 2009 Become a Friend
16th March 2009 Ireland in Identity Crisis?
9th March 2009 Love to Pray
2nd March 2009 Life - Giving Words
16th February 2009 Exclusion Policy
9th February 2009 Somewhere the Child
2nd February 2009 The Conversion of St Paul
12th January 2009 Thomas Merton, "Thoughts in Solitude"
22nd December 2008 A Christmas Parable by Louis Cassels
15th December 2008 Work – from In the heart of the Temple by Sr Joan Chittister
8th December 2008 Am I at home when the doorbell rings?
1st December 2008 Street Corner Christ
17th November 2008 How Did I Get This Busy?
10th November 2008 A Homily for The Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica – 9th November 2008
3rd November 2008 John O’Donohue taken from “Benedictus - A Book of Blessings”
27th October 2008 Charles Peguy 1873-1914, French poet and politician
20th October 2008 The following is an extract from a talk given by Bishop George Lungu of Chipata in Zambia in Africa, to the synod of Bishops being held in Rome this month.
13th October 2008 Excerpt from ‘A Door of Hope’ by Jean Vanier
6th October 2008 A Reflection on Matthew's Gospel 21:28-32
29th September 2008 The Daily Decalogue of Pope John XXIII