Practice premeditated mercy
Missionary says it takes an act of will to forgive
By Sr. Pat McCormick and Andrea Sabor
Department of Total Catholic Education
To truly find peace, we must practice premeditated mercy, Precious Blood Fr. Joe Nassal said at the Green Bay Diocese's annual Leadership Gathering.
The missionary and author of several books and articles told the 180 diocesan leaders that premeditated mercy implies a deliberate, thoughtful and willful act to forgive, to be reconciled and to live at peace with others - even those who have betrayed us.
In his two-day presentation, which included plenty of humor and stories, Fr. Nassal offered the
following recipe for making peace:
-- A Magnum Of Memory: Confronting The Past - If we want to make our hearts into homes
for peace, we might place on the altar of our heart the pictures of those women and men who
have taught us to forgive. With a magnum of memory, we toast those who have favored us with
their forgiveness. We begin, then, to make peace with our past.
-- One Cup Of Blessing: A Grateful Heart - The cup of blessing creates a grateful heart,
where we discover that the wounds inflicted by life - illness, loss of loved ones, dashed dreams,
deaths - can draw us closer to each other and to God.
-- Yeast: An Ounce Of Forgiveness, Not A Pound Of Flesh - The desire for revenge will fill
us with rage, and the heat of this rage will kill the yeast of forgiveness so that reconciliation can
never be realized. Just as yeast needs warm water to work, so the ability to forgive works best in
an environment of warmth - trust, acceptance and hospitality.
-- One Cup Of Compassion: Handle With Care - Being compassionate means paying careful
attention to any grieving we or others may be grappling with as a result of an experience of loss.
When we mix compassion into the recipe of reconciliation, we sense the truth that only when we
believe in something or someone, can we see our way through this dark and dreary, wounded and
-- Pass The Salt: The Flavor Of God - We add grains of salt to the recipe of reconciliation
with simple acts of kindness and friendship, gentle words of affirmation and hope. When we pass
the salt of the covenant, we awaken in another his or her own goodness. When we throw a little
salt on an icy situation, the ice begins to melt. When we take the time to comfort another that is
grieving, we taste the mourner's tears.