3 July, Friday — I Forgive Myself

Brothers and sisters, today we welcome Gregory Mathew, who has been contributing to Oxygen for a while now and is adventuring through life with God as his guide.

Jul 3 – Feast of St. Thomas, Apostle

Thomas (d. 72) was ready to die with Jesus when Christ went to Jerusalem, but he is best remembered for doubting the Resurrection until allowed to touch Christ’s wounds. He preached in Parthia, Persia and India, though he was so reluctant to start the mission that he had to be taken into slavery by a merchant headed that way.

He eventually gave in to God’s will, was freed, and planted the new Church over a wide area. He formed many parishes and built many churches along the way. An old tradition says that Thomas baptised the wise men from the Nativity into Christianity.

His symbol is the builder’s square. There are several stories that explain it:

  • he built a palace for King Guduphara in India;
  • he built the first church in India with his own hands;
  • it is representative of building a strong spiritual foundation as he had complete faith in Christ (though initially less in the Resurrection);
  • he offered to build a palace for an Indian king that would last forever; the king gave him money, which Thomas promptly gave away to the poor; he explained that the palace he was building was in heaven, not on earth.

Patron Saint Index

Eph 2:19-22
Jn 20:24-29

Unless I see the holes that the nails made in his hands and can put my finger into the holes they made, and unless I can put my hand into his side, I refuse to believe.

I wonder how Thomas felt long after that fateful incident when he doubted Jesus. While he realised his mistake and went on to be a great missionary, how did he come to terms with his grave lapse in judgment?

Mistakes in life are inevitable. We tell ourselves that we made the best decision possible at that point of time, given the information available. No one actively seeks to do wrong in life; these things just happen on our learning journey. But do we revisit our past more often than we should? If and when we do, are we gentle with ourselves?

I have found myself reflecting on life a lot during the downtime afforded by the COVID-19 Circuit Breaker. I looked at the choices that have led me to where I am today, and I realise that I still bear a lot of unforgiveness and resentment towards myself. Things are getting better; I am contextualising outcomes based on circumstances at the time, and trying to see the silver lining in all things. Most importantly, I am building a better relationship with myself.

The relationship you have with yourself is the most complicated and precious because you can’t ever say goodbye to yourself. You have to forgive every mistake. You have to deal with every flaw. You have a to find a way to love you, even when you don’t like you all that much.

Only when we forgive ourselves and are at peace with who we are, can we look outwards and plug into the wider community. May we all take as much time as we need to practice self-care and restore ourselves to become the playful, joyous children that God intended for us to be.

(Today’s Oxygen by Gregory Mathew)

Prayer: Help us to take a fresh look at our pasts, so as to be more at peace in the present.

Thanksgiving: We thank you Father for all the lessons you have taught us through the puzzling circumstances in our lives.

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