Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross in Green Bay, WI
Reflection for Sept. 13, 2020

Reflection for Sept. 13, 2020

Two important questions

When it is a struggle to forgive and forget consider  what is not known

Sister Elise Cholewinski

Every person is a walking story.

As I reflect on my own life and listen to many adults, I am finding that one of the most stressful things we struggle with is letting go of resentments. People really do want to forgive and they don’t want to carry grudges, but the hurt and pain of past experiences still has a hold on them. We so desire to let go of memories that haunt us, and their consequent feelings, but they continue to linger along the edges of our minds and hearts.

The Scripture readings for this Sunday’s liturgy present us with a difficult challenge. In the first reading, from the Book of Sirach (27:30-28:7), the writer asks, “Could anyone nourish anger toward another and expect healing from the Lord?” Jesus tells us in the Gospel (Matthew 18:21-35) that each of us must forgive our brothers and sisters from the heart.

I have personally discovered that when someone has hurt me deeply it helps to ask myself two questions: What do I know about that person? What does that person know about me? When I start listing the things that we don’t know about each other, I realize that what happened to me is a small part of a bigger picture, for there is an aura of mystery that surrounds every person. As I ponder these two questions, my mind can approach the hurtful incident with greater clarity and my heart can begin to open to greater compassion.

Each person is a walking story. When we can read the pages of another’s life with some degree of understanding, we will learn how to forgive from the heart.


Cindi K Brawner
09/11/2020 6:43 am

Excellent questions, Sr. Elise. Very thought-provoking. Thank you.

Lois Trad
09/11/2020 7:12 am

Wise compassionate advice - as you have always offered. God bless you!

Kathy Bergstrom
09/11/2020 9:19 am

This advice was so poignant, Sister Elise. Thank you for your wonderful thoughts!

Kathy Decker
09/11/2020 10:15 am

Thank you for this Reflection. This is a work in progress. Plus, not forgiving is to continue to drag that weight behind me.

Diann Wimmer
09/11/2020 10:38 am

Thank you, Sr. Elise. I was awakened by your suggestion that relationship and knowledge of people who have hurt us and of ourselves are key to forgiveness and peace of heart. It is so basic to compassion. Much gratitude.

Peter Kirschling
09/11/2020 11:16 am

I read a quote recently that said, "Forgiveness is to let go of our hope for a different past." That certainly puts it in perspective as you're the only one suffering from a grudge, not them. These are great readings for this weekend!

Tom Hartman
09/11/2020 11:27 am

Powerful and challenging reflection. Thank you.

Rose Chaudoir
09/11/2020 4:49 pm

Sr. Elise, that was an awesome understanding and eye opening example of forgiveness and letting go of past hurt!!! Thank you so much and God continue to bless you!!!

Father Bill Jacobs.
09/12/2020 2:35 pm

Forgiving is so difficult for us, yet, Jesus does it so willingly each time we ask.. Thanks Sister! Great thoughts.

Peace be with us!

My second trip to Green Bay was cancelled this week, so my next hope to see you Good Sisters will be during the Christmas Season. There are no guarantees these days. I miss you folks.

In God's Never-ending Love, Father Bill

Sister Rose Jochmann
09/14/2020 11:24 am

Thanks for the good advice when someone has hurt us - look at what I know about the other person and what person knows about me. That can help us look at the hurt with greater clarity and compassion. Thank you!

Katie Konop
09/16/2020 2:46 pm

Good suggestion, think of what you know about them and they about you... does shed some new thoughts about it

Add Your Comment

This is not displayed anywhere publicly.

Weekly Reflections Email

Be notified every time a Weekly Reflection is added!

Sign Up Now

Newsletter Signup

Want to receive our Newsletter?

Sign Up Now