Two wings of love are giving and forgiving. Forgiving is always divine and only those who are with God can forgive and forget. Here is an example from Muzye - Tanzania.
Muzye is a rural village without electricity. People have mud/brick houses. Usually each house is surrounded by banana plants. For light they use kerosene lamps.
Marco Bahati was sitting outside his small house. It was getting dark. He heard and saw somebody slowly moving through his banana plants towards his chicken cage.
He followed him from behind slowly. As the unknown person opened the door of the chicken cage to catch the chicken, Marco caught him on the collar of his shirt and shouted: "Don't do it! Do you see the log I hold in my hand? If it was one week before now, no doubt, the moment I caught you I would have beaten you....but today I don't do so, for during my baptism last week, the priest who baptized, told us, 'We Christians, have to forgive always and I just remembered it when I caught hold of you. That is why I did not beat and hurt you. But don't do it. It is bad."
Then Marco invited him to his house and asked his wife to prepare the tea and they had tea together and said goodbye in peace.
Forgiving is always divine, only those who are with God can forgive and forget.
Furthermore, forgiveness is the magic pill which clears all aspects of life that block spiritual, physical, relational and societal relationships and which bridge and bind us together in peace and harmony without bloodshed. It helps us to live and die peacefully. For instance: a granny of my first parish as pastor, was about to die. She would often go in and out of consciousness. The moment she became conscious she would shout out in a loud voice "F" words which was embarrassing for everybody, especially for the family members and neighbors as she was always surrounded by children and others. It went on for a week.
Meanwhile one of my trustees suggested that I offer a Mass for the peaceful death of her and anoint her after the Mass. Accordingly we had the Mass for her together with family members and parishioners and I anointed her.
As preparation for anointing, I invited all of the family to pray and ask pardon to God on her behalf. Then I invited them to forgive granny if anyone had any ill feelings against her and I paused for a while. I could hear murmuring from women, present there, pushing the daughter-in-law to forgive her mother-in-law. After a while, the daughter-in-law came forward, touched the feet of granny and said, "I am really sorry, forgive me."
As she finished saying this, tears came forth from granny's eyes and she took a deep sigh and fell into coma again. But we could see peace on her face. She passed later that night.
Forgiveness helps us to live and die peacefully.
Fr. Zach, MST
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