Hail, holy parent, who as a happy mother brought forth the King Who rules heaven and earth from eternity to eternity.
Let us honor Mary, especially by imitation of those virtues of hers which are to us, as St. John Damascene says, an open book of instruction; let us rejoice in her prerogatives and glory; let us encourage others in the veneration of her; let us, in our need, have recourse to her, who, according to the name Star of the Sea with which the Church salutes her, shines for all who sail upon the dangerous sea of the world. For this reason, St. Bernard calls out to each one of us, “Take not your eyes from the light of this star if you would not be overwhelmed by the waves; if the storms of temptation arise, if you are thrown upon the rocks of affliction, look to the star, and invoke Mary. Are you confounded at the enormity of your sins, are you ashamed at the defilement of your conscience, and are you terrified on account of the dreadful judgment, so that you begin to be overpowered by sadness, or even to sink into the abyss of despair, then turn your thoughts to Mary. In dangers, in distress, in doubt, call on Mary. She will not be far from your mouth, or your heart; and that you may obtain her intercession omit not to imitate her conduct. When you follow her, you will not go astray; when you invoke her, you will no longer be in doubt; when she supports you, you will not fall; when she leads you, you will surely come to eternal life, and will find by your own experience that she is justly called Maria that is, “Star of the Sea”.
Forgiveness, the process by which an offended party chooses to change the way they feel about someone who has committed the offense against them. It bears a distinct difference from the idea of condoning (where one does not see the offense as wrong, and therefor not needing forgiveness), excusing the action (where you place the blame for the action on someone else entirely), giving pardon (cleared by a legal representative), forgetting (where the action no longer exists in memory in any real or present way), or the act of reconciliation (where the relationship is restored without the action strictly being forgiven). On the 8th of September back in 1974, President Gerald Ford presented a rather controversial Presidential Proclamation. This proclamation pardoned Richard M. Nixon of all wrongdoing that was related to that most famous of American scandals, the Watergate affair. Richard made very clear that he felt he had committed grievous wrong-doings against the people of the United States and the seat they had granted him. While you are unlikely to be in a position to grant a presidential pardon, what you can do is be more forgiving on International Pardon Day. If you are holding a grudge against those who have committed some offense against you, Pardon Day grants you a valid reason to examine your feelings and the time that has passed, and to let that resentment and anger go.
“The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward.”– Steve Maraboli
What is known about forgiveness is that it is an act that brings happiness to those who give it, one can release the hold on the negative emotions they’re harboring in themselves, but they cannot release the associated guilt for the person who committed the act. As a result, forgiveness is for the one giving it, rather than the one who committed the transgression. Research has shown that those who have chosen to give up resentments live longer lives as a result to an improvement in their cardiovascular and nervous systems.
“Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.”– John F. Kennedy
Another, perhaps more difficult way to celebrate is to take the time to examine the grudges you carry with you on a day to day basis. To think them over and determine if it’s truly worth carrying that anger and resentment forward. Take International Pardon Day to set them, and yourself, free from the toxic weight you’re carrying. You can do it via email, in person, over coffee, or you can write them a letter. If they’ve passed on, don’t let that stand in your way, write a letter with everything you’d like to say in it, and then burn it to set it free.