Thursday, November 26, 2009

Luke 6:37 – Judge Not

Luke 6:37 – Judge Not
"Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;

One the path going towards the Lourdes Grotto, Martin moved like a sleep walker, brooding on his destroyed life but became suddenly aware that a young woman was speaking to him: “Monsieur, it’s a hot day. May I offer you a glass of cool water?” Startled out of his preoccupation, he mumbled something, took the proffered glass and drank. Embarrassed, he quickly handed back the glass mumbled a thanks and moved away from her.

As he neared the Grotto he heard a French priest preaching at the Grotto “Father, forgive us as we forgive others” and it made Martin’s anger flare up. Spinning around as if stung by a wasp, he headed back toward the train station, galled that anyone should tell him to forgive!

It was years since he had acknowledged a priest. He now despised them, and had always ignored any greetings from the jail chaplain. But he responded to a priests invitation this time by pouring his bitterness all over him. “I thought he was my friend at school. The bastard’s lying accusations put me in a stinking jail, put me there for 12 hopeless years living with scum. “

He concluded with unveiled animosity: “And don’t you start thinking I have come here to Lourdes to pray. I’m only here because my wife asked my to come. She was full of faith and never stopped praying, and where did that get us! That creep down at the Grotto had the hide to tell me to forgive the mongrel who ruined me and my wife. You can both stick all that sentimental crap!”

The priest did not answer for some time. Then he said: “I can see you really loved your wife. Why don’t you just do what she asked, which is to go down and stand at the Grotto. You will always feel bad about it, if you have only half done what she asked with her dying breath””

Who should he meet as he neared the Grotto but the young woman who had handed him the glass of water.

He asked her: “What brought you here?”
Her face clouded over. “My father is dying. The doctor said his heart can’t last longer and I’m not praying for his cure. But he is dying with terrible guilt. After the war he betrayed a boyhood friend to one of those tribunals and the man was given a 20 year jail sentence. My father is convinced God will never forgive him because he can never undo the evil he did.”

Martin could hardly believe his ears. He looked at her face and gasped, “You’re Marguerite!”
“How do you know me?” she shot back.
“Because I now remember you when you were little. I am the man your father betrayed!”

She went white and turned to run. He grabbed her wrist “Marguerite, stop! You were kind to me this morning. Now do me one more favour. I can’t recite the last part of the Our Father. I think you know the part I mean. Please!”

They stumbled through the prayer.

He sighed as if a boulder had been lifted off his chest.
“Thank you, Marguerite. Now let us go together to see if we can’t help your father.”

Source: The Wayside Stream – Reconciliation – by Paul Glynn

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