9 June, Thursday – Whether they deserve it or not

Jun 9 – Memorial for St. Ephrem of Syria, deacon and Doctor of the Church

St. Ephrem (306-373) was baptized at age 18. He helped to evangelize Nisibis, Mesopotamia. He may have attended the Council of Nicaea in 325. He was a deacon and preacher, and had a great devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

In 363 Nisibis was ceded to Persia, and great persecution of Christians began. St. Ephrem led an exodus of the faithful to Edessa, where he founded a theological school. He helped introduce the use of hymns in public worship, wrote poems and hymns, and used them to fight Gnosticism and Arianism. In 1920, St. Ephrem was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church.

  • Patron Saint Index

1 Kgs 18:41-46
Mt 5:20-26

…go and be reconciled…”

Be reconciled. To the person who just cut you off. To your spouse who didn’t appreciate the meal you cooked or the laundry you did. To your teenage child who….; to your parent who…..; to your neighbour who…..; to your boss who….; to your coworker who…..; to your sibling who…..; to your (fill in the blank!).  

It would be so much easier to get to heaven if we didn’t have to deal with other people all the time! 

As I shared yesterday, it is much easier and more natural to simply judge others. Why be reconciled, why forgive a person who has done a harm in words and/or actions, especially when they purposely did or said it, clearly showing that they don’t ‘deserve’ forgiveness. Psychologists generally define forgiveness as a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness. How is that even possible without love as the motivator, and how is that possible to have love as the motivator if God isn’t at the center of our life? Love really is the only answer. 

I have shared before that my favorite definition of love is from Fr. Hugo (he is a priest that Dorothy Day mentions in one (or more) of her books),

I love God as much as I love the one I love the least.

That is powerful, is it not? Reconciliation breeds love. Love breeds reconciliation. They go hand in hand. So plain to see and understand, and even advise others; yet oftentimes difficult to put into action, especially since it is required over and over and over again. Seventy times seven.

It seems to me that God showered forgiveness on us in the person of His only begotten Son. Only in forgiving others and asking others to forgive us can we honestly go to God and ask for – and accept – forgiveness. 

(Today’s OXYGEN by Gina Ulicny)

Prayer: Father God, we desire your mercy for our many sins and we ask for the love of Christ to infuse our mind so that we can more easily and more quickly forgive and be reconciled to all those you put in our path. We pray that we emulate Mary, who stood by her son with every step of his life and sought only You. 

ThanksgivingFather in Heaven, we thank you for the many saints you have given us to show us how to be reconciled to you. How to live this scripture. Thank you for the grace and mercy you shower on us by forgiving us and showing us how to forgive others. 

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