Sr Leonella Sgorbatti, the Italian Consolata Sister who will be beatified on May 26 lived and died like a saint.
At the imitation of Christ on the cross, her last words were forgiveness for those who killed her — the most authentic Christian testimony that a martyr can give, showing the victory of love over hatred and evil.
Forgiveness is one of those things we easily talk about but find hard to do. We often say we have forgiven, when in fact we haven’t.
It is normal that in life, we find it hard to forgive someone who makes us feel vulnerable and violated. Emotions of anger, fear, frustration, and resentfulness run high when someone wrongs us, or betrays our trust. We feel like we should revenge.
The word ‘forgive’ literally means “to send away, to let off.” To forgive means to surrender your right to seek revenge. Simply put, forgiveness is letting go of my right to hurt you for hurting me.
As human beings I know that forgiveness is hard, even the disciples struggled with forgiveness. That’s why Peter in Matthew 21:18-22 asks Jesus, Lord, “How often must we forgive?
I would like to invite you to ask yourself this question: Are you currently holding a grudge against another person? Is there someone who has hurt you so bad that you have not been able to forgive? Does the thought of that person raise your blood pressure; cause you to feel depressed, or angry?
As hard as it often is to forgive, remember the words of Jesus as he hung on the cross, when he said “Father, forgive them, they don’t know what it is that they do.
Jesus is telling us that the hardest, most torturous thing on earth is to bear an attitude of hateful un-forgiveness.
In the Gospel of Matthew 5:43-45 he tells us “You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbour and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.
To love our enemy we must learn to forgive them first.
Who are your enemies? Pray for their well-being. Pray also for God to give you the supernatural ability to love them as he does.
Holding on to grudges can leave us with lasting feelings of anger, bitterness or even revenge. Therefore learn to forgive. There is joy in forgiveness. There is peace in forgiveness. There is contentment in forgiveness.
When we are not able to forgive, we are the ones who pay the price. Joyce Meyer, a Christian author once said, harbouring grudge is like drinking poison and hoping your enemy will die.
According to health professionals, forgiveness can lead to: healthier relationships, greater spiritual and psychological well-being, less anxiety and stress, lower blood pressure, fewer symptoms of depression, a stronger immune system, improved heart health, and higher self-esteem.
Forgiveness needs courage. It is the most adult act there is, but it is essential to our mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health.