to live

Apr 20, 2022

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Hindsight is a great thing – to be able to make sense of something after it has happened.

Ideally our hindsight, our ability to learn from our experience, will teach us foresight.

The two friends of Jesus who walked with him after the resurrection were chatting about the past, about all that had happened for them, to them and around them in recent days.

But they were so caught up in their own stories of how their hopes and been raised and dashed that they failed to appreciate that Jesus was with them as they walked.

They even talked to Him about Him, but still they were unable to recognised His presence in their here and now.

They were so focussed on themselves and their plans: “Our own hope had been…”

We often look back to the past with longing that things be again as they once were.

We often carry resentment, literally a feeling-again about the past that prevents us from living in the present.

No doubt the road-to-Emmaus conversation was full of judgements about who did what with whom and why, assigning blame, and perhaps feeling shame.

Then their eyes were opened and they recognised Jesus, a Jesus who was simply chatting to them along the Emmaus road.

Finally they understood what He meant, and their hindsight became foresight, an ability to live in the present without hurt from the past and free from fear of the future.

I have found this prayer and guidance from the AA Big Book helpful:

Resentment Prayer:

“God, Please help me to be free of anger and to see that the world and its people have dominated me. Show me that the wrong-doing of others, fancied or real, has the power to actually kill me. Help me to master my resentments by understanding that the people who wrong me were perhaps spiritually sick. Please help me show those I resent the same Tolerance, Pity and Patience that I would cheerfully grant a sick friend.** Help me to see that this is a sick man. Father, please show me how I can be helpful to him and save me from being angry. Lord, help me to avoid retaliation or argument. I know I can’t be helpful to all people, but at least show me how to take a kindly and tolerant view of each and every one. Thy will be done.”

**Dear God, I have a resentment towards a person that I want to be free of. So, I am asking you to give this person everything I want for myself. Help me to feel compassionate understanding and love for this person. I pray that they will receive everything they need. Thank you God for your help and strength with this resentment.  (BB, Freedom from Bondage:  552)

The AA Big Book gives these instructions for the above prayer 

If you have a resentment you want to be free of, if you will pray for the person or the thing that you resent, you will be free. If you will ask in prayer for everything you want for yourself to be given to them, you will be free…Even when you don’t really want it for them, and your prayers are only words and you don’t mean it, go ahead and do it anyway. Do it every day for two weeks and you will find you have come to mean it and to want it for them, and you will realise that where you used to feel bitterness and resentment and hatred, you now feel compassionate understanding and love.’

Freedom From Bondage from AA Big Book at this link.

 

 

3 Comments

  1. Thanks John
    Maybe a bit like Sundays Gospel…”those you forgive are forgiven…”

    I always thought that was about the Sacrament and only for priests…

    However each of us has the power and choice to show mercy (stop resenting)…
    or (frighteningly) refuse it…

    Reply
    • Thank you Fr John. I so needed some guidance in prayer for my resentment.

      Reply
  2. Often when I am out walking I like to imagine that I am travelling my own Emmaus road. In fact the journey of my life is my Emmaus road, and I am accompanied by the presence of Jesus who listens to me and I try to listen to him. Unlike the two disciples in Luke’s story who knew just where their Emmaus was, I do not know where my Emmaus is. But as I get older I know my Emmaus is becoming closer, and I pray that Jesus will be present to me when I arrive at my final destination.

    Reply

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