Forgiveness

I was looking something up on http://www.catholic.com and I saw a question about the quote, “Hate the sin, love the sinner.”  Someone asked who originated this quote.  The answer from St Vincent Serpa O.P. is,  ” It’s from St. Augustine. His Letter 211 (c. 424) contains the phraseCum dilectione hominum et odio vitiorum, which translates roughly to “With love for mankind and hatred of sins.” The phrase has become more famous as “love the sinner but hate the sin” or “hate the sin and not the sinner” (the latter form appearing in Mohandas Gandhi’s 1929 autobiography).”  A young priest we had briefly (like, less than a year briefly) used to say this; in fact, this is where I first heard the saying.  It really makes you think; it seems to say to me that you still treat sinners (and aren’t we all sinners?) well, regardless of what their sin is, whether it is that they are gay or they had an abortion or they are a child abuser or whatever it may be.  Too often, we hate the sinner as well as the sin.  We attack gays.  We bomb abortion clinic even if people are there.  We physically injure the person who hurt us rather than forgive and pray for them.  I do know that forgiveness is hard, but it is what we need to live a better life.  We have to remember that just because there is something about a person that we do not like, it does not mean that we have the right to hate and mistreat people.  We do not like when people do not treat us with respect, so we should not do that to others.  Remember St Augustine.

Louis Comfort Tiffany, Window of St. Augustine...

Louis Comfort Tiffany, Window of St. Augustine, in the Lightner Museum, St. Augustine, Florida (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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