By Kathleen M. Basi
It is sometimes hard to say, I’m sorry. Maybe it’s a pride thing. We want to believe that we’re good people, and rightly or wrongly, admitting fault calls that into question. Plus, it leaves us vulnerable. There is always a chance that the other person will not accept our apology. We no longer have control over the direction of the relationship; we have given control over to someone else.
However, as difficult as it is to say, I’m sorry, it is even more difficult to say, I forgive you. In fact, most people do not say it at all. They tend to say, It’s okay, or Don’t worry about it, even though it is clearly not okay or an apology would not even be necessary. The words, I forgive you, seem incredibly presumptuous. It is as if we are putting ourselves on a pedestal of self-righteousness: Look at me. I’m so holy. I can forgive you. It almost seems better for the relationship to pretend it was all square in the first place.
At a deeper level, though, those three words are so challenging because they actually require a change of heart. They are hard to say because we often do not want to forgive. We would rather gloss over the offense and pretend to dismiss it while secretly burying it in a deep emotional hole, where we can dig it up and mull over it at our leisure. But the hardest words to say are often the most important. I’m sorry and I forgive you are gifts of self. An apology is a gift of one’s vulnerability. Forgiveness is an unconditional love. In both cases, simply saying the words changes our hearts.
There are words within the sacraments of the Church that are “efficacious.” They do not require an accompanying action. The words themselves are the action. When your confessor says, Your sins are forgiven, that’s it. The words have done the work (See Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1131). Lay people cannot forgive the sins of others, but our words do have great power to move our own hearts. It is almost impossible to say I forgive you, for instance, to someone who has hurt you unless you really mean it. Just try it sometime!
Of course, it is not always so simple. Some wounds are fathoms deep. They are layered by time, distance, and severity. But choosing repentance and forgiveness in the relationship of the here and now might well be the key to unlocking healing for older, deeper hurts as well. It brings us all closer to the heart of God, whose forgiveness and mercy know no bounds.
About the Author: Kathleen M. Basi is a composer, musician, essayist, and disability rights activist. She is also a wife and mother of four children, one of whom lives with Down Syndrome. Kathleen is a regular contributor to Bringing Home the Word, an e-newsletter that features suggestions for prayer and reflection for the Home Church. A new edition is posted every weekend! Click link below!
Words That Change Hearts
Sharing God’s Love & Mercy
Forgive and you will be forgiven.
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved,
heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,
bearing with one another and forgiving one another;
if one has a grievance against another,
as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.
If we really want to love, we must learn how to forgive.
Saint Teresa of Calcutta
Forgiveness is the final form of love.
To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable
because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.
Forgiveness is what we need
when we think we don’t
and what we give when we think we shouldn’t.
Never forget the three powerful resources
you always have available to you: love, prayer, and forgiveness.
H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
The weak can never forgive.
Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.
If you do not know how to forgive,
then you are not a Christian.
Making Young Disciples
First Holy Communion
Begins Sunday, May 1st
The Holy Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith community’s joy and the center of our life of prayer, fellowship, and service. This Easter Season, after a year of prayer, preparation, and study, fifty-six children in our youth faith formation program will receive the Body and Blood of the Risen Jesus for the first time. As our annual celebrations of First Holy Communion approach, all are encouraged to be mindful of our upcoming schedule:
- Our Lady of Good Voyage Church
Sunday, May 1st at 11:45am Mass
- Saint Joachim Church
Sunday, May 8th at 10:00am Mass
- Our Lady of Good Voyage Church
Sunday, May 8th at 11:45am Mass
- Saint Ann Church
Saturday, May 7th & May 14th at 4:00pm Mass
If your child, grandchild, or godchild has completed the second grade but has not received the Sacraments of Baptism and-or First Holy Communion, we have a special program just for them! It’s called The Way for Kids! Beginning on Saturday, May 21st from 4:00pm until 5:45pm in Our Lady’s School, Betsy Works and a team of volunteers will lead a four-week series of workshops for young disciples who have not received the first two Sacraments of Initiation. After each workshop, the children and their families are invited to attend our 6:00pm Mass.
For more information about The Way for Kids and our other youth faith formation programs, please contact Betsy Works at email@example.com. As we make our final preparations for First Holy Communion, please pray for all of our young disciples, their parents, families, and catechists. Thank you for your ongoing prayers and support! Peace, blessings, and congratulations to all!
The Assisi Project
Our Mother of the Tender Heart
Saturday, May 7th
An Invitation from Father Jim
An icon is a religious work of art that according to faith and tradition serves as a window into the spiritual world. In the Roman Catholic tradition, icons are sometimes referred to as the “Bible of the Poor” because throughout history, along with statuary and stained glass windows, they enabled those who could not read an opportunity to learn about the holy scriptures and the lives of the saints through sacred imagery.
Jody Cole’s icons have appeared often on our website and on the cover of our weekly newsletter. Jody is a good friend, a person of deep faith, and a very talented iconographer. She has been “writing” icons for more than twenty years, she loves to share her craft with others, and she was scheduled to join us for an icon workshop and retreat this coming week. Unfortunately, due to a COVID-19 scare in her immediate family, Jody is not able to join us.
Despite this sad development, all are invited to join me, Cliff Garvey, and members of the Assisi Project for a special morning of prayer with Jody’s rendering of the Kardiotissa or Mother of the Tender Heart. This beautiful, hand painted icon was blessed on the so-called Kardiotissa which many people around the world believe is the source of countless miraculous healings.
This special morning of prayer and devotion will begin with the celebration of Holy Mass at 8:00am in Our Lady of Good Voyage Church. After Mass, Cliff will offer a brief reflection on the Kardiotissa icon and lead us in praying the Franciscan Rosary which focuses on the Seven Joys of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I can think of no better way of beginning the month of May than by praying with Our Mother of the Tender Heart! For more information, please see me before or after any Mass or contact Cliff at firstname.lastname@example.org. Spread the word! All are welcome! Peace & blessings! — Father Jim
Holy Family Women’s Guild
Spring Garage Sale
Saturday, May 14th
The Holy Family Women’s Guild is back in action! On Saturday, May 14th, the Guild is hosting a Spring Garage Sale from 9:00am until 1:00pm in the courtyard behind Saint Ann Church. Come, browse, and buy our selection of home décor, household items, small furniture, and cool vintage stuff! If necessary, the rain date will be Sunday, May 15th from 10:00am until 1:00pm! Established in 2005, the Holy Family Women’s Guild brings together women of all ages and backgrounds in prayer, fellowship, and service to our parish and the wider community. New members and volunteers are always welcome! For more information, please contact Arlene Lesch at email@example.com. Please join us! All are welcome!
Safe & Easy Electronic Giving
Blessed are the Givers
Electronic giving has become an essential component of parish support in the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport; and it is available in both Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. It is safe and easy to make online donations to your home parish using a credit card, debit card, or electronic check.
Donations can be made on a weekly, monthly, or one-time-only basis; and it takes just a few minutes to set up a secure personal account. In additional to the weekly offering, you can also give electronically to our church restoration funds which helps us plan for the repair and maintenance of our beloved and historic churches.
During these challenging times, Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish need your support more than ever before! Please prayerfully consider enrolling in our ‘We Share!’ electronic giving program! For more information about setting up a new account or for assistance with your existing account, please contact Father Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your generous support for our parishes! May God bless you and your family, now and always!
Established in 2014, the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport is a collaborative of two historic parishes: Holy Family Parish and Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. Working together as a Roman Catholic community united in prayer, fellowship, and service, we are committed to living the Gospel of Christ, sharing God’s love and mercy with all people, and rebuilding the Church in Gloucester & Rockport. All are invited! All are welcome! Always!
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In Memory of Joseph Gerschick