The fourth step in the Prayer Process suggested by Mathew Kelly is Peace: Ask God to forgive you for any wrong you have committed (against yourself, another person or him) and to fill you with a deep and abiding peace.
We heard in Matthew’s Gospel that we are to forgive others seventy seven times, not just once, twice or even three times because God is incredibly generous and merciful. Can I recognize the moment when I commit sin, when I have done some wrong to myself or another? Can I recognize when someone else is being a bully, being disrespectful, belittling another, or putting someone else down? What can I do to rediscover peace in my life and in my heart? First, I can ask God for forgiveness when I recognize that moment. Second, if necessary, I can request to celebrate the sacrament of Reconciliation, to receive forgiveness and absolution for my sins; and third to reconcile with the person whom I’ve wronged.
Years ago, unwittingly I closed the parish office front door on the cook/housekeeper who was coming to work. I was more focused on saying goodbye to someone I had just seen in an appointment that I didn’t see Maria right behind them. When I turned away after closing the door, she opened the door and came into the parish office, saying nothing. It wasn’t until the next day my catechist told me what had happened and that Maria was quite hurt, believing I had deliberately closed the door in her face. For her it was the experience of a direct insult and she was ready to quit. Needless to say, I quickly made a phone call, apologized for my actions and hoped she would continue her employment for the priests in the rectory. It took a while and some considerable time in conversation, when she finally accepted my apology. You never know how a small action can have such significant consequences. Asking for her and receiving her forgiveness was as important as receiving God’s forgiveness. May we experience God’s healing peace as we seek Freedom, the next step in prayer: “Speak with God about how he is inviting you to change your life, so that you can experience the freedom to be the best version of yourself.”
Blessings, Father Larry Hendel