In a homily on forgiveness Father Brendan McGuire cites an example from the Rwanda genocide, where hundreds of thousands of people were slaughtered by tribesmen of their own nation. A Tutsi woman was asked by the new government to tell who it was that slaughtered her husband.
She knew exactly who it was, and he still lived in the village. But she chose to refuse to give that answer saying, "I know who it is but I will not tell you because you will seek revenge that I do not want; the murdering must stop and it will stop with me."
This Tutsi woman forgave and loved her enemy. "That is the sort of thing we need to look to for inspiration and example," McGuire says. "We need to look around in our families and in our friends and identify other people who go the extra mile and imitate their example."
How do we explain our capacity for hatred, jealousy and even rage against a spouse, sibling or neighbour? I am going to borrow a few bars from Father Ron Rolheiser's essay "Life is but an unfinished symphony"
"'In every satisfaction, there is an awareness of limitations. In every success, there is the fear of jealousy. Behind every smile, there is a tear. In every embrace, there is loneliness. In every friendship, distance. And in all forms of light, there is the knowledge of surrounding darkness.' Henri Nouwen wrote that, and the older we get, the more we experience its truth," Ron says.
Karl Rahner said: "In the torment of the insufficiency of everything attainable, we learn that here, in this life, all symphonies remain unfinished."
"We carry within us," Father Ron continues, "the image and likeness of God." And "God is fire - wild, infinite, ineffable, non-containable," Ron states.
"That divine fire is at the root of most of what is problematic in our lives: grandiosity, jealousy, rage, egotism, our incapacity to be satisfied, our constant longing for more, our restless ambitions, our pathological complexities, our greed, and our propensity for addiction.
"Being in the image of God is our greatest blessing and our greatest struggle. Because of it, we search for meaning, give our lives for each other, create magnificent works of art and bow in worship to God. But because of it, we also spend many sleepless nights, are often furiously jealous of each other and give in to rage and murder each other. It's not a simple thing to carry infinity in a finite body and a finite world."
But there is a solution, Ron postulates. Realizing the insufficiency of the unattainable "gives us permission to not have to find the full symphony in this life. And the consequence of accepting this is that we can then stop putting unfair pressure on our spouses, families, friends, vacations, and jobs to give us something that they can't give, namely, happiness without a shadow, the full symphony."
St. Augustine summarized it all in one line, "You have made us for yourself Lord and our hearts are restless until they rest in you." May you find peace in the inspiration of the Easter Season.