You must forgive them all; for though their hearts are faithful,
to face fear ... is not what they were made for.
|Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela|
When he arrived, the camera began to take the movie audience inside, and I had the strange sensation of really not wanting to go any further. I recognized that I was having strong feelings of judgmental anger towards the Roman Catholic Church.
The enormous cathedral, with all its ornaments and statues, was a monument to the horrific abuse of power that it had wielded over the centuries. Its wretched victims came to mind: the heretics burned for their beliefs, the tens of thousands of innocents executed for witchcraft in Europe and the American Colonies, the men and women tortured during the Inquisition, the victims of the Crusades, and the countless trusting children sexually abused by monks and priests all over the world.
The movie rolled on, but I was frozen in that moment, hating, and not comprehending, the monsters who were capable of such cruelty.
It dawned on me how completely the road ahead was blocked. Until I forgave them all, I would never advance another step. It was clear to me that I not only had to forgive them - I also had to love and unreservedly embrace each one of them as if my own child, in fact, as myself, because as uncomfortable as it was to acknowledge, each one was myself.
Sitting there in the theatre, I did forgive them. It felt like a weight had been lifted, and I watched the rest of the movie a bit stunned, but at peace.
Of course, that isn't the end of the story.
A few days later, I went to a choir concert where I knew some of the singers. I noticed that I felt resentment towards a couple of them for one reason or another. Turning the love light on them, as I watched them sing, they transformed from people I avoided, into people I cherish.
There are many that I have not forgiven, hidden away in my forgetfulness. I need to seek them out in the dark corners of the hall and invite them onto the dance floor for a hug and a lively polka, and in the joy of the dance, forgive myself as well, for harbouring resentments for so long.
Shall we dance?