Last night I listened to Carol Kenyon, OSF share from her heart on the topic of “Our Name is Love.” Sr. Carol is a lovely woman who is one of four members of the Allegany Franciscan Order that lives in a ritiro at the motherhouse. Carol has a bright smile and is always so loving that I feel like I’m the presence of a real saint. Some of her talk was drawn from the work of Ilia Delio and parts from the Gospel and other sources. Ritiro means “a place apart.” It’s very Franciscan to look for a place apart. Francis frequently withdrew to the mountains near Assisi. Jesus withdrew to the deserts and the mountains for a time to be with God. Sr. Carol said that one of the ways to be more loving was to spend more time in prayer.
I liked her whole talk, but the parts that really resonated for me were ego and forgiveness. It has been said that “EGO” means “easing God out.” Keeping our lives centered in God and not in and on ourselves is the way to live a more loving life. The importance of forgiveness is often overlooked in daily life. No one is perfect, yet often I spend too much time judging others. I’m judging them harshly because I’m really being tough on myself. The secret to forgiveness lies in forgiving and accepting ourselves. Forgiveness of others requires spiritual strength. Gandhi said, “the weak can never forgive, forgiveness is an attribute of the strong.” In the Lord’s Prayer we hear, “forgive us our trespasses, just as we forgive those who trespass against us.” In the Sermon on the Mount, “blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.” Help me to remember these truths. Peace.