I believe that it is Cardinal Francis George of the Archdiocese of Chicago who has observed that we live in a time when “everything is allowed yet nothing is forgiven”. It is a sad state of affairs that we find ourselves in (very harsh and isolating) and also a tragic predicament that witnesses to the impoverishment of our times and, despite all our protestations to the contrary, our impoverished understanding of the human condition.
We need, once again, to learn the art of forgiveness – both how to forgive and how to accept forgiveness. Forgiveness is the key to peace.
In his little book, “Pathways to Relationship”; Bishop Robert Morneau shares two helpful quotes regarding the “machinery of forgiveness”.
Hannah Arendt had discerned that this (mercy/forgiveness) was Jesus’ most endangering action because if a society does not have an apparatus for forgiveness then its members are fated to live forever with the consequences of any violation. Thus the refusal to forgive sin (or the management of the machinery of forgiveness) amounts to enormous social control. [Walter Brueggemann]
Forgiveness is the answer to the child’s dream of a miracle by which what is broken is made whole again, what is soiled is again made clean. The dream explains why we need to be forgiven, and why we must forgive. In the presence of God, nothing stands between Him and us – we are forgiven. But we cannot feel His presence if anything is allowed to stand between ourselves and others. [Dag Hammarskjold]
Below is a video that speaks to the power of forgiveness.