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Fr. Bob at pulpit during Easter Vigil

Forgiveness is not a Feeling

If, as the dialogue goes on, I become convicted that I have actually wronged my brother, even in a small way, or even inadvertently, I should say I'm sorry and ask him for forgiveness. If he asks forgiveness of me, I have no choice: I must forgive. It doesn't depend on my feelings. Some say they can't forgive because they don't feel it. Not so. Forgiveness is not a feeling. It is a decision. It's like trusting God or getting up in the morning. The Lord wants both of these no matter how we feel. And he wants forgiveness in the same way. After all, the Lord has forgiven us. And we probably haven't deserved it either. 

It is important to get all items aired. Even if we need a second meeting, it is vital to complete the process. It may be painful, But it's worth it. We have to persevere to the end. 

If our dialogue reaches an impasse, we should invite assistance of a third brother, one who is not likely to take sides. 

“The reconciliation, when finished, has to be lived out. We have to be able to become friends and talk again, even to spend time together. In a very real way, it is true that, if we can't play together, it is quite unlikely that we will be able to pray together.”

Jesus puts it in a way that leaves no room for alternatives. He says: “If you come the altar to offer your gift to God and there you remember that your brother has something against you, go first and be reconciled with your brother. Then come and offer your gift.” (Matthew 5:23-24)

The community, the Companions of the Cross, considers this whole matter of prime importance, so important that we have placed ourselves under obedience to work out our grievances in this way, to enter into dialogue and to become reconciled. We believe that, if we don't, we're stuck. We believe the Lord is completely unwilling to accomplish his full purposes with us unless we love, and are one with, one another. That means being reconciled. 

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