To Love is to Forgive, By Father Robert DeGrandis, S.S.J.
This story is a beautiful account of healing through forgiveness. The honesty and openness of Linda Schubert, a well-known writer, will heal many. I find inspiration every time I read it.
"In August 1988 1 went to see my father for what would be the last time. My sister, who is a registered nurse, was caring for him in her home. Shortly after I arrived, Dad went into a coma. Because there was still unfinished business between us, I began to grieve. It was too late. I would never break down those barriers.
'On the last day that I saw him alive, I sat beside the bed of my 85-year-old father with my hand on his chest, praying softly in tongues. The death rattle in his throat told me that time was running out.
"What happened as I sat there will live forever in my heart. Have you ever heard a person speak, spirit to spirit? It's hard to explain, but Dad spoke two words that were as clear as the noonday sun. Still in a coma, he said to me, 'I'M SORRY! The words shot out like bullets from a high-powered rifle, yet another person in the room would not have heard a whisper.
"Tears began to stream down my cheeks. I knew instantly what it was all about. These words were an apology from father to daughter that came from the depths of his soul, inspired by heaven. He was apologizing for sexually abusing me as a very small girl. How did I know? In that kind of intimacy, you simply know. I whispered, 'I forgive you, Daddy.' My heart bathed him in love. My father and I had completed our unfinished business.
"This final act of forgiveness occurred on the weekend of the Southern California Renewal Convention at the Anaheim Convention Center where Fr. Robert DeGrandis was a featured speaker. Kissing my unconscious father on the forehead and hugging my mother and sister good-bye, I drove to the conference. I wondered why I was leaving his deathbed, yet felt urged to go.
"I didn't hear a word spoken by any of the speakers that weekend. Not one word spoken over the microphone was meant for me. All during the weekend, I found myself sitting behind a young couple with their tiny daughter. Through my awed appreciation of the blissful love between father and daughter, God was bringing healing to my wounded spirit.
"When the priests were leaving in the closing procession at the last Mass of the conference, I went over to the couple and said, 'Excuse me, but I've been watching you all weekend.' They smiled and waited for me to explain. I turned to the father and said, You and your daughter relate to each other with such love, such an open display of affection. That's the way I related to my father when I was her age. You can't know how healing this is for me, because my father is dying right now.'
"The couple put their arms around me and prayed. When I returned to Escondido, I learned that my father had died quietly that very afternoon, at ten minutes to three on Mom's birthday."
Over the years of ministry, one of the most difficult cases I have had to deal with is that of sexual abuse. Molestation makes a gigantic impact on a person, causing a deep emotional wound. Even when not conscious of it, the emotional pain often causes dire physical effects. Molestation can be called a "psychological and spiritual' nightmare. Yet it is so common.
In a Third-world country, a priest mentioned to me that the incest rate there was 70%. I could hardly believe it, but I know that he was informed.
Incest is frequently an adult crime against children, often a male family member against a female. It is usually an act against someone younger and very vulnerable. Imagine the hurt and pain in these victims. But imagine the far greater hurt and pain of our Blessed Lord who SEES ALL and suffers all!
Father Robert DeGrandis, the author of 33 books on the power of healing, is a member of the Society of St. Joseph, serving the world wide charismatic Catholic community. This article was condensed from "To Love is to Forgive" © 1997 Robert DeGrandis, S.S.J., which is available from H.O.M Books, (508) 454-7408. Used with permission of the author. He will be back in San Francisco with his healing ministry for our May 1999 First Friday Mass . Linda Shubert will be at our October 10 Holy Spirit Conference at St. Marys Cathedral Conference Center and the keynote speaker at our Sunday Prayer Brunch at the Cathedral Hill Hotel on October 11, 1998.
Read other articles of spiritual enlightenment in the October 1998 edition of The San Francisco Charismatics or return to the Main Menu by clicking on the blue.