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The Weapon of Forgiveness

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Feb. 23

Readings: Mic 7:14-15, 18-20; Lk 15:1-3, 11-32

"But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found." Lk 15:32

He survived the atomic bomb in Hiroshima. But Thomas Takashi Tanemori lost six members of his family, including both of his parents. He was 8 years old at the time. He wound up immigrating to America in 1956, but he brought with him an angry heart filled with revenge. "My childhood was annihilated, my dignity crushed in the rubble of post-war Japan. The atomic ashes forced my journey with rage and hatred," he wrote. "To revenge I worked, by revenge I slept, and for revenge I had to survive."

The ugliness in his heart only mirrored the ugliness of his experience. That's no way to live. But eventually, through the loving influence of his American wife, Thomas underwent a spiritual conversion. He discovered the importance of healing the human heart by turning from vindictiveness to forgiveness. A man whose heart was filled with darkness and revenge, he now gives speeches on behalf of the Silkworm Peace Project, which promotes healing and cultural understanding.

Imagine the damage he could have done — to himself and others — if he hadn't allowed forgiveness to transform him. Forgiveness is the foundation upon which the hope of humanity rests. Tanemori learns this. Tragically, the older son in the Parable of the Prodigal Son does not learn this.

Rather than feeling bitterness and resentment toward sinners, Jesus teaches us to embrace sinners. He joyfully accepts all who repent and all who seek to make peace with their painful, erring pasts. As Jesus preached and as Tanemori learned, in forgiveness we foster new life — a life lived in God.

Dear Lord, erase any darkness from my heart and any ill will I may have against those who offend me. I know that the path of victory is through forgiveness of others just as You forgive me. Amen.

Gen 50:17
1 Kgs 8:39
Ps 130:4
Acts 8:22

2608, 2840

Diary of St. Faustina
390, 1148

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JDK - Feb 23, 2008

To have forgiven those who destroyed his childhood is an incredible grace. Let us rejoice like the father for the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts have triumphed in Thomas's soul. Deo gratias!

A.V. - Feb 23, 2008

Willing not to hurt the offender ...wanting to restore the damaged relationship ....seems the parable of the prodigal son reflects these two aspects of healing also ; the older son probbaly had grown bitter and resentful of The Father , who might have been mourning the lost ..( remeber his bitter word about no party with friends );yet he could have made it an occasion of much bonding and Father love -offering to go in search of the brother , doing penance in his turn , to restore the lost ..comforting the grieving Father and being patient with The Father , if He seemd a bit distant and lost Himself ..like our own family sometimes may be , when we/they feel that full reconciliation, even after forgivenesss , has not ocurred ..love Is Patent ..and understanding ..such as standing under His Will..., refusing to hurt ..or hold grudges ..looking to offer up the Infinite Merits .. for Peace !

CBE - Feb 24, 2008

I pray to forgive the people that hurt me and it seems I always run into people that would always betray me in the end. I am now 55 years old. Since childhood until now I get into relationship with people that betrays me later and so I constantly pray for God to fill me with His Holy Spirit because when my memory starts to replay those painful experiences I began to feel the anger and the resentment all over again. To overcome this feeling and to avoid dwelling in it I pray and ask God for a forgiving heart and do not dwell on my needs but on the needs of others that I can fill so that my energy is directed towards something that brings about good to others. I pray for healing of memories, not just of mine but also of my family, relatives and the whole world so that the pains will no longer cause any ill wills but to unite those pains with the Passion of Jesus.

Mary - Feb 25, 2008

In family situations it is particularlly hard to forgive, especially if the offender is never verbal about remorse, and continues in the despicable actions that cause the discord. What does a person do when an adult sibling is still a "thorn in your side", has definitely not made any effort to ask forgiveness, and has always and still is treated better and shown greater respect and kindness by the mother, who is responsible for a lot of the problems by condoning and covering for illegal and despicable behavior? Again, I have read in the Catholic Telegraph that a person must be sorry in order to be forgiven. Pride apparently prevents this by some people who hurt and offend others........are you supposed to act like nothing ever happened or stay away
because you cannot act that phony? What does a person do to overlook such

Angel - Feb 27, 2008

Mary, I am in a similar situation such as yours. It's really nothing we can do but PRAY. Pray for those that we love and pray for those that we cannot stand. Prayer brings miracles in the hearts, especially, to those who hurt people. Continue to pray and see the power of prayers.