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Forgiveness and the Freedom to Love

August 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Book Club, Sarah Reinhard

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Forgiveness and the Freedom to Love

The Lord (Week 7 of 23)

Forgiveness does not mean that God says to me: Your evil deed shall be undone. It was done and remains done. Nor does it mean that he says: It was not so bad. It was bad?I know it and God knows it. And again it does not mean that God is willing to cover up my sin or to look the other way. What help would that be? I want to be rid of my transgression, really rid of it. Again, were one to say: Forgiveness means that I remain a sinner, but that God in his magnanimity attributes me with sanctity, thus giving me a share of his own unimaginable divine grace, the thought would be so complicated and so full of reservations that it would be untenable with the meaning of Scriptures. Forgiveness also does not mean that God gives me the strength never to repeat my sin. Even if this were so, my old sin would still be there; forgiveness could never spirit it away. That would be deceitful and impure. How could God's immaculateness ever reconcile itself to such a thought?

The Lord, Part 2, Chapter IX, Paragraph 11

Sometimes we can best understand something by what it is not. Life with children makes this evident, especially given how often I use the word “No” in its various forms.

So taking a look at forgiveness and defining it by what it is not makes sense…and it also helps clarify something that seems to be relegated to a gut feeling.

Forgiveness isn't as much a feeling as a decision.

And that, in my experience, makes the parallels between forgiveness and love inarguable.

Love too is often described as a feeling, touted as the answer to everything that's wrong.

And, while it is all of that, it is also so much more.

God is the good…he is the reason that, in the face of sin, there exists the experience of forgiveness, the lived reality that Guardini calls the freedom of love.

Love is not only kinder, more alive than mere justice, it is more than justice, higher, mightier, in sense and essence. Such then the love that enables God to rise and, without in the least impairing truth and justice, to proclaim: Thy sin no longer exists!

The deeper beauty of Confession, that freedom of love, can be found in the forgiveness I don't deserve. Would that I could keep myself open to it more frequently!

Reading Assignment:

Part 3: Ch. I-IV

Discussion Questions:

1. How does forgiveness relate to love in your experience?

2. When did you last go to Confession? Avail yourself of this sacrament in the coming week.

Feel free to comment on anything from our assignment this past week!

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About Sarah Reinhard

Sarah Reinhard continues to delight ”and be challenged by” her vocations of Catholic wife and mother. She's online at and is the author of a number of books for families.

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