As we begin a New Year, it is wise to see how we have grown emotionally and spiritually during the previous 12 months. There are many ways to do this. I would like to suggest one of the most difficult: reflecting on the virtue of forgiveness by how we have forgiven those who have hurt us.

Let me begin by stating that there is a longing for peace in the human heart. Two of the major obstacles to this kind of peace are grudges and resentments.

There are a variety of synonyms for peace: harmony, tranquility, stillness, and serenity. Harmony comes from a heart that can forgive and receive forgiveness; Serenity suggests dignity, composure, and graciousness; Tranquility implies having a healthy command of one’s emotions especially amid turmoil; and Stillness demands a certain inner discipline..
It takes courage to follow the road of peace through forgiveness and a lot of grace from the Creator because it is not our natural way. Personally, I know from experience that without God’s help I cannot forgive those who have wished to harm me.
Pastor and poet, Steve Garnaas-Holmes, of Acton, Massachusetts offers the following prayer as a good way to begin this new year in a spirit of peace. It is a prayer that can be recited daily.:
God of Love, take my heart and
change it.
Take what is rough in me and
let it become gentle.
Take my fear and
let it become wonder.
Take my anger and
let it become sorrow.
Take my grief and
let it become compassion.
Take my discouragement and
let it become acceptance.
Take my doubt and
let it become courage.
Take my hurt and
let it become forgiveness.
Take my not knowing and
let it become faith.
Take my self-centeredness and
let it become love
Take my broken heart and
let it become my strength.
Take my life and
let it become Yours.”

Max Oliva, SJ worked in Las Vegas for six years. The only Jesuit in the state of Nevada, his main ministry was called “Ethics In The Marketplace.” Now in Spokane, he has a continued involvement in Las Vegas, albeit on a part-time basis. His web site is found here -

  • Peter Bisson
    Posted at 10:16h, 05 February Reply

    Thank you Max!

  • Mireille Delorme-Church
    Posted at 10:27h, 09 February Reply

    I will use this for our Heart & Soul Youth Group this coming Friday evening. Thank you!

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