Thursday, 11 October 2012

Hardened hearts.



Father Ignatius came across some sad realities of life the other day. 

It was a dark and wintry cold evening when he was called out to visit an elderly parishioner at home who was very ill and nearing the end of his life. The old man's wife was there and a few other relatives all gathered around the old man's bed praying and crying. 

In conversation the priest learnt that this parishioner had a grown up son living not far away. Although he had been warned about his father's poor health he had not come to see him. Apparently, father and son had not met or spoken to each other for years following a family argument.

Sadly, even though the son had not visited his dying father, the father in turn did not want to see his son.

The priest, in an attempt at reconciliation, made an effort to contact the son by telephone. But it was too late. By then the father had died.

The son never turned up to the funeral.

Father Ignatius’ heart was at breaking point during the funeral. He remembered the fifth Commandment about respecting one's parents and the words in Our Lord's Prayer "forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sinned against us". He wanted to say something about this during his sermon but decided that it was not appropriate at the time.

Instead he offered a private Mass for the whole family and prayed that the act of reconciliation may never again be so thwarted by entrenched self-indulgent righteousness.

7 comments:

  1. I bet this has happened to more than one priest. I ask myself often, "Am I ready to meet Jesus?" I know I'm not if I am carrying a grudge against anyone. How sad to die still attached to our own selves rather than God.

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  2. This hits home for me as my father and I have not spoken for a few years now. I pray for him everyday and have forgiven him - many times. Sometimes we forgive but cannot reconcile. It takes two to do so. A priest told me that if I forgive him, God will forgive him, too.

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  3. Hello Barb and Colleen,

    This post is sadly based on a true story. The father died without seeing his son who did not attend the funeral.

    As Colleen says, sometimes the wounds are so deep that we cannot reconcile. We may forgive in our hearts but for very real reasons we just cannot meet again and become "friends" as before.

    I hope God understands.

    God bless you both Barb and Colleen.

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  4. A sad story, Victor.

    When I come across stories like this, I often think of Jesus. He forgave those that crucified Him.

    It is hard to say we can't forgive after that example.

    God Bless.

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    Replies
    1. That's true Michael. In some cases though, perhaps, people have forgiven deep in their hearts but yet cannot come face to face with the other person and reconcile as things were before. In this real life case though, neither party wanted to see or talk to the other. The wounds were too deep it seems.

      God bless you.

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  5. Heartbreaking, and more so because it is a true story. I am so thankful for forgiveness--for myself and for others.

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    Replies
    1. Heartbreaking indeed Sarah. Often true stories are.

      God bless you and your family.

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