In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets. Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it. (Matt 7:6, 12-14)
The Narrow Gate of Forgiveness
"You hurt me. You hurt a lot of people but God forgives you, and I forgive you." The daughter of Ethel Lance, one of the victims of the Charleston Church tragedy, spoke these words to the man who hatefully took the lives of nine churchgoers last week. Her merciful response reflects how the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston has reacted to this devastating loss. Through their forgiving responses, the church community in Charleston serves as a tremendous example for all women and men of goodwill. The road down the Christian life is narrow and difficult. In the face of pain and suffering, our faith calls us to choose the more loving, merciful response. Taking the narrow path means choosing love when it is easier to hate, forgiving in the midst of anger, and showing mercy when we most desire revenge. Today, ask God to reveal to you the moments in your recent past when you have chosen the narrow path and times when you've avoided it. Join me in praying for all those who mourn the lives taken in this tragedy. —Aaron Pierre, S.J.,
Almighty and all-merciful God, give me the strength of spirit to name my sins and the courage to feel shame for them. Let me feel confounded that my sins have not destroyed me as others’ have. Teach me to weep for the hurt and harm I have sinfully inflicted on others. Please. Lord, I really want to live aware of how I have let this terrible evil root itself in my life and in my life world.