We are Catholic moms who follow the basic tenets of Attachment Parenting. We are different personalities; we're not clones, so you should see some varying opinions on different subjects. Join us as we continue on this exciting ride known as Catholic Mothering!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Can I Forgive Them?

This is a hard post to write. Today is the fourth anniversary of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. Many, many people from my town were killed; some of them were acquaintances or friends of friends. Thankfully, we lost no one in our immediate family. My husband worked in 2 WTC, saw the first plane hit as he was walking up Broadway, and turned around and headed for home. He had survived the first attack in '93, so was taking no chances. As he rode home on the ferry, he saw the second tower collapse. He has never gotten over it. I too have a lot of survivor's guilt. Why was my husband spared, when so many other women lost theirs?

Anyway, today as I drove to Mass, I listened to the choir from Trinity Church sing "Ave Verum Corpus" from Mozart's Requiem. I listened to this for days after the towers fell. Trinity Church is right next door to the WTC site. Miraculously, it sustained no major damage and served as a respite place for the recovery workers. It is an Episcopal church. I hated to leave my car. The beautiful music sustained me, yet gave me a place to grieve. It was far better than any music I ever hear in our parish church. Still, I finally went in, to hear the word of God and receive His Body in Holy Communion. It troubled me that although our church has the true Body of Christ I am so easily seduced away by the more beautiful music of the Episcopal church. Yet years of training and struggle and faith got me past this. As I walked in I met a friend with her two daughters. My friend's husband died in a car accident two years ago. How hard it must be to mourn a private grief, on a day of public mourning.

But it was the readings which really knocked me out. The Lectionary, by some mysterious working of the Holy Spirit, called for readings on forgiveness today, of all days. The first words of the first reading, from Sirach, caused me to weep. "Wrath and anger are hateful things. Yet the sinner hugs them tight".

I feel nothing but wrath and anger towards the people who caused so much pain and destruction to the people of my city and my country. Yet again, the reading went on, "Forgive your neighbor's injury. Then, when you ask, your own sins will be forgiven" [from memory, sorry]. This is such a hard Scripture. Who can do this? As our pastor read the Gospel of Matthew, I echoed St.Peter's words in my heart:"Lord, how many times am I to forgive? Seven times?" And the answer came to me, as it did to him: "No, seventy times seven times".

By this point I was in floods. Other people were tearing up as well, or biting their lips, or looking down sadly. Today's readings touched our hearts. Our pastor spoke gently about forgiveness, first recounting an anecdote about his own family members' need to forgive a certain incident. Then he acknowledged how hard that is for our own human weakness. There is certainly no way we can forgive such atrocities without the grace of God.

I am not there yet. I need to pray for the grace to forgive. I feel God has forgiven me in confession, many times, for the sins I have committed. Yet I am not able to forgive the injury done by those terrorists. I pray the Lord's Prayer. I try to open myself to God's grace. I am having trouble with this. I am sharing these thoughts because they have become overwhelming to me. Please, of your charity, pray for me and for all who are "still" grieving. Pray that somehow we feel God's grace in our soul's to do this hard thing.