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By Henrita Frost, SSND

The foundress of my congregation, Blessed Theresa of Jesus Gerhardinger, bequeathed much to us about our relationship to those we serve, among them is: “Exclude No One From Your Concern.”  I ask myself: “Does that mean every being on Planet Earth?  I know the answer – We Are One – compassion is for all beings – all of creation.

Along the pathway of life, I like many persons encounter barriers to freely offering compassion to all, to excluding no one from our concern. They can take the shape of hurts, harms and sufferings from others on our life’s journey.

An encounter of forgiveness may press upon us, but movement isn’t possible.  An encounter denied stands in the path of a compassionate response. During one of my ministries, I remember the moment when one of our guests stood in a doorway and as I entered his fist, which contained a knife, slashed one of my cheeks.

I remember my response to a letter he wrote to me from prison – “Yes, I forgive you.”  I wonder how heartfelt it was at that time, but I know over time it became genuine.

If something in life nudges us to move to forgiveness it can take time, energy and pain, but if there is a desire to exclude no one from our concern, to be compassionate to all, then forgiveness beckons an encounter.

I invite you to become aware of The Forgiveness Project as a companion to living the Charter for Compassion. The Forgiveness Project is a peace organization that uses personal stories to create opportunities for people to choose forgiveness.