In the context of insertion, I do pastoral work as a counsellor with people who have experienced violence of all sorts, but especially within the family. I listen particularly to young women between the ages of 20 and 25 and encounter a great deal of pain, both physical and mental, so much hate, abandonment and incomprehension. In all of this I find deep experiences of God, that both question me and help me to better live out my spiritual life. It is here finally that I discover God.
A 21 year old woman, mother of three children, managed to help and to save the life of her own tormentor, a man who had attacked her mother and brother, and who now hovered between life and death in hospital. She herself had been wounded physically but, in the middle of all the bloodshed, she managed to drive her attacker to the hospital where she shouted for aid to save him and prevent him from dying. She prayed that he would live so that he could recover and change his life. I thought, like most people, that it would be better if he died so that he could be prevented from continuing to do so much harm to people. But as Jesus said, “You think like men and not like God.” This simple woman would like to reject him for all the harm he has done to her but she also wants to help him so that her life may change. Yes, she knows his personal history but she wants to render good for bad.
After reflecting during Lent, and after some difficulty, I said to God, “My suffering is not even 10% of what this woman has suffered, and it costs me to pardon?” I have decided to pray more so that I may pardon all those who have offended me, and to bring to mind the words of the Holy Father in his prayer that we may be merciful : “May my tongue never find negative words to say about my neighbour, rather let me have a word of consolation and pardon for all.”
I remember and can confirm that it is the poorest who evangelise us and motivate us to pardon and render good for bad … there is always something to be retained from each experience.
It is at the centre of our heart that we find peace.
Herminda Gonzalez Arevalo