Fran and I went to church twice today: with my dad at the Lutheran Church we’ve been taking him to in Athens, and then later in the day at our home Catholic Church.

So twice today we’ve prayed the Lord’s Prayer. “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us” takes on an entirely new depth of meaning when reeling from being burglarized!

But it’s a good new depth. Fran and I were talking yesterday about how it’s stuff like this that puts one’s faith to the test. Sure, I’d love to be able to do all sorts of vicious things to the person(s) who perpetrated violence on our home and walked off with all sorts of stuff. I’d be dishonest if I didn’t say so. And still, I keep going back to “as we forgive those who trespass against us.” What does that mean, other than that I don’t get to be a “victim” any longer? Someone ripping me off is a hassle, an annoyance, a trial. But it doesn’t change who I am spiritually or where my values and my foundation truly are grounded. If it were to change things so easily, I’d have to ask just how solid my faith and my values really are.

I don’t want to give any impression that Fran and I are saints in the flesh. Trust me, I’m having a much easier time hanging out in the consciousness of desired revenge than in the consciousness of forgiveness. But I’m aware of that possibility of consciousness, and when I allow myself to be aware of it, it does seem to breathe a certain lightness and spaciousness into an otherwise most upsetting headspace. Hey, the guy walked off with my electronics and my intellectual property. But if I fall out of my sense of joy in Christ and of the love of life that ensues from that joy, that’s something I’m choosing to lose.

In Memoriam: Kenneth Leech
What Has Not Yet Been Revealed
Sanctity and Struggle, or, Why Saints Have Chaotic Inner Lives (Hint: It's Because We All Do)
Preliminary Practices for Christian Contemplatives
About Carl McColman

Author of Befriending Silence, The Big Book of Christian Mysticism, Answering the Contemplative Call, and other books. Retreat leader. Speaker. Professed Lay Cistercian.

  • judith collier

    I spend half my time on your site looking up words, I’m not nearly as educated as most of you seem to be, but I do know when someone is being hard on themselves. It’s perfectly human to be angry,now if in a few months you are still in a vengeful place, well, then maybe. I caught our burglar by following him in his car(not too smart) and I was happy he got everything he had coming to him.Justice felt good. You do know when your life is really lining up with the Lord, sometimes all hell breaks loose. You have a great victory coming. judy

  • Matthew Smith

    I have been fantasising about installing turret mounted lasers after we had our second break-in this year. But I also have some insight into the humanity of my burglars as my wife in her role as a social worker has worked with many crims and they are just people trying to survive and not all that in control of the trajectory of their lives (especially once drugs come into the picture)