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The Great Forgiveness

March 20, 2012

By Sister Renee Y.

Ah, Equinox!  Today our Earth will put away her winter jewels – cold snow pearls and glistening ice diamonds stored until distant December.  With them, she lays aside her cool reserve, the stark elegance of silhouetted trees against a white landscape.  She says, “I have finished my silent retreat.”

Instead, Lady Earth unveils her costume jewelry – that improbable mix of pinks, purples, greens and yellows. Even though this morning in Philadelphia, she wraps them in a silver cashmere fog, we know it hides a riotous, tumbling April.

Every year we wonder if those bare trees and barren hillsides will ever green again. But they do!  Spring is the act of “Great Forgiveness”.  It is the time when Nature mirrors the Infinite Mercy of her Creator and says:

Fear not, Winter.  I am deeper than your cold.  My resilience has redeemed us both for another chance at life.

We human beings, too, are capable of such resilience.  I remember my mother’s infinite patience with an annoying neighbor whose seemingly innocent conversation harbored veiled references to her economic superiority.  Little wintry comments like, “It’s a shame you can’t afford a Hoover.  It would make your life so much easier.”  Even as a child, I was nettled beyond tolerance.

But my mother, who was no push-over and who did not suffer fools gladly, was patient and faithful.  She would tell me that Mary never had the love of family and friends that we enjoyed.  She helped me understand that sometimes people can’t help showing the December within their hearts.  My mother wanted me to live from the “Great Forgiveness” which can warm any cold.

At one point when I was still very young, my mother became quite ill and after a long hospitalization, returned home for an extended recuperation.  During that time, Mary came every day to cook for our large, extended family.  Weekly, she cleaned our house with the same decrepit vacuum she had earlier criticized.  Without a word, Mary challenged me to learn another lesson about the nature of fidelity and true friendship and the struggle to give it voice without words.

Years later, I read a quote that captured these lessons:

Always be kind.  We never know the battles someone else may be fighting.

These are lessons I remember with gratitude today in this equinox of another “Great Forgiveness”. It is a largesse we can imitate if we simply remember the mercies we have received.

Blessings to you all and a joyous Spring!


5 Comments leave one →
  1. Linda Werthman permalink
    March 20, 2012 12:30 pm


    I was moved by your mother’s witness. Thank you for sharing.


  2. March 20, 2012 10:47 pm

    What a beautiful Blog. Thank you. Joan

  3. March 20, 2012 10:48 pm

    Your writing is beautiful as is your story. Thank you,

  4. carol clementi permalink
    March 21, 2012 9:24 am

    Thank you so much for your lovely story and great lesson!

  5. Eileen O'Connor, rsm NYPPAW permalink
    March 24, 2012 11:13 am

    Beautiful, Renee ~ thanks so much for sharing God’s special gifts to you! Blessings. Eileen O’Connor

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