“Forgiveness is not something that can be bought; those to whom it is offered are bankrupts. It is capital advanced to them, which they are to repay with an interest of tears.”
Father Ronald Knox
Women of Grace Daily Grace Lines
The theme of forgiveness is one that I can’t seem to escape lately. Over the summer, a chapter from Johnette Benkovich’s book Full of Grace struck a chord with me, and this quote by Fr. Knox strikes a chord that’s in harmony with that.

I wrote then:

I’ve borne the burden of not forgiving at least twice in my life, in a major way. The Lent before I became Catholic, I was moved to journey the path to forgiveness in one of the largest black holes in my life, my relationship with my mother. It took me all of Lent to do it, to wipe the slate clean in my own heart and accept what forgiveness really meant. And then, the act of my forgiving her bruised another set of relationships in my life, which led to different pain in my heart, a new set of bruises, and then a continuing examination of forgiveness. Even so, forgiving my mother set me free. It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t rewarding in the sense that I saw
fireworks and heard a chorus of angels. But I was free of the self-imposed
weight of my sin.

In the years since I forgave my mother, I have noticed just how easy it is to build a wall around your heart (especially once you’re an old pro at it, as I am) and to just tuck your grudges inside that fortress. It’s so easy to feed the little pup of unforgiveness and, over time, have it grow to be a full-fledged wolf, and, over more time, a beast that’s crowding the space, demanding more room and more food. Though it’s painful to kill of the little pup, it’s far easier than slaughtering that beast. For one thing, you get used to having the beast around, even if you
don’t particularly like it.

Forgiveness has been an ongoing journey in my life. As I read this chapter on forgiveness (titled “Resurrection: Made New for the Abundant Life”), I was struck by how many little areas need attention in the Forgiveness Hold. I didn’t realize I was still harboring some little pups-turned-wolf. Guess I’d better get busy!

Reading the quote in my inbox by Fr. Knox, and then continuing my thinking from August, I have a picture that’s not clearly formed. Maybe what’s touching me right now is the “interest of tears.” For me, forgiveness has always involved tears, and maybe that’s because forgiveness is not something I do easily. I’ve gotten very good, as I mentioned, at building up walls, at feeding the pup of unforgiveness.

And here it is, Advent and the theme of this month’s Daily Grace Lines is forgiveness. Now why would they choose that? Could it be that in forgiving I’ll be better able to greet that Baby in the manger? Might it have something to do with how many of rooms of the inn of my soul are taken up by Petty Grudges and Long Standing Hurt? Forgiving isn’t easy. I know that. But this might just be the time of year to pay the interest and have the loan paid off.