26 January 2023

Choose the largest measure

Ss. Timothy & Titus

Fr. Philip Neri Powell OP
St. Albert the Great, Irving

The world teaches us to be victims and hold grudges. There is no more powerful claim in our culture at the moment than “I am the victim here!” There's real, worldly power in being aggrieved. For every grievance there's a just and equitable remedy to be found. More often than not, that remedy is some sort of public punishment meant to deter future offenses. What that remedy is really about, of course, is control. The power to subjugate, exile, or execute one's opponents. It's about vengeance and domination. This is not the Way of Christ. The world wants us to think in terms of oppressor and oppressed, slave and master. Christ teaches us to think in terms of brother and sister, family and servant. We serve because we are gifted with divine love and that love – by its very nature – is diffusive. If we are loved, then that love must be shared. The most immediate way of sharing divine love is to imitate divine love in the act of forgiveness. To forgive is to relieve another of his/her debt to you. You eagerly and sincerely surrender your status as a creditor in favor of willing the Good of another. If you cannot bring yourself right now to forgive in name of divine love, then start by forgiving for your own sake. The measure you use to measure will be used to measure you. If your measure is stingy and mean, then your capacity to receive forgiveness will be stingy and mean. Think of the act of forgiveness as a stretching exercise. The more and more easily you forgive – the further you stretch your mercy muscles – the more and more easily you are able to receive forgiveness. Generally, our reasons for not forgiving others are really just excuses to cling to our sense of having been offended. My dignity. My pride. My position. My status as a victim. None of which matter in the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. In the divine economy, both the creditor and the debtor become richer when a debt is forgiven. Both the creditor and the debtor are freer, better equipped to grow in holiness, and more able to move on toward Christ. God has forgiven us. From all eternity, we are free from sin and death. That's a debt that cannot be repaid. All He asks of us is to be instruments of diffusion, little nodes of dispersion for His divine love. Our measure must be as large as God Himself. That's the measure we want and need when comes our turn to be measured.           

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