Kintsugi is the Japanese art of piecing broken pottery back together with a gold or metallic-colored resin. Long ago, each time a bowl broke, it would be glued back together with the resin, making it more beautiful. I never knew how broken I was until I journeyed through JustFaith’s newest module on nonviolent communication. It was unlike any other JustFaith program I had been through because I learned crucial skills not just for my justice work but also for my personal life. In turn, it gave me an unexpected gift: to forgive someone who had hurt me deeply.
In reflecting on today’s Gospel, how does Jesus’ response to Peter relate to the king’s forgiveness? If Jesus says to forgive seventy times seven meaning always, then why did not the king forgive the unmerciful servant a second time? Because Jesus’ focus was on the servant’s forgiveness, not the king’s. Through a parable, he admonishes that anger and pride will inhibit one’s ability to forgive and only lead to pain and suffering. For me, the hurt I carried in my heart for 32 years morphed into a deep, suppressed anger that allowed me to unconsciously transmit my pain; it pervaded relationships with my family, friends, and even co-workers.
Forgiveness has the power to make what is broken whole again. It is the essence of the Gospel and can be the most difficult yet most important thing we can ever do for ourselves. My spiritual director, Joe Grant, has often said that a broken heart is an open heart. Each time your heart breaks, you let the light out and let the love in to piece your heart back together.
This Lent, if there is someone you need to forgive, harden not your heart. With a humble heart, liberate yourself and let go–from there, as today’s psalm tells us, God will show you the way.
- Who in your life do you need to forgive? How has this broken relationship affected other relationships in your life?
- Listen to this song and give permission to yourself to be broken.
- Lastly, watch Fr. Jim Curran’s homily on forgiveness which starts at the 15:23 mark. Fr. Jim is the rector of the Basilica of Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Norfolk, Virginia. It is the only African-American basilica in the United States.
Abby Causey received her undergraduate degree from Boston College in business administration and holds a master of theology from Saint Leo University. She is a member of the leadership team for Virginia Catholics for Racial Justice and is an emeritus board member of JustFaith Ministries. Currently, she serves as the coordinator of religious education at Church of the Holy Family in Virginia Beach, Virginia and has worked in the Diocese of Richmond for 20 years at both the parish and diocesan level.