Today is the feast day of St. Maria Goretti, a young girl who though she had been assaulted, knifed and eventually would die of her wounds, forgave her attacker just before she died. Her story is a wonder to those of us who harbor wounds and have a hard time forgiving such evil in our own society.
I am one of those who struggles with the forgiveness of that similar sin.
We all have things stuck inside our hearts we have a hard time forgiving. Small wounds are easy to forgive unless they build up over time and go unnoticed by us. Those small wounds can become larger and eat away at us inside causing us growing unrest, anger and not feeling forgiving.
But the large wounds, the crimes committed against us, the ones that are right in your face from the start are, because they are large, are very, very hard to forgive. Yet if left intact, if we do not deal with the journey of forgiving those sins, they attack us over and over again drawing poison into our very beings. We must forgive. But how?
I don't have answers. I am still struggling with forgiving such a thing. But today, the feast of St. Maria Goretti, who became a saint not because she refused to have sex with the neighborhood boy, but because she forgave him while she suffered from his assault, his knifing her repeatedly. She forgave him. She was somehow able to forgive this wretch of a human being. She could forgive this boy who had no problem treating another human being so vilely; she forgave him. She forgave him as she died. She left this world bearing no ill will. And that is why she is a saint. I pray for her intercession in my own heart to be able to be so forgiving.
Dear Saint Maria Goretti, your heart was so full of mercy, that you
gladly forgave your assassin, and prayed that he might be saved;
intercede for me before the Lord, Whom you now behold face to face. Ask
Him to pour His grace into my soul so that I may always be ready to
imitate Jesus as you did. I choose you as my friend this day and I ask
you to accompany me my whole life long. In honor of the Most Holy Name
of Jesus, and in the imitation of your example, I forgive all who have
ever hurt me or who desired my suffering, and I ask pardon of all
against whom I have sinned. Through Christ Our Lord, Amen