The perpetrator of the attempt on Archbishop Claret’s life in Holguin was condemned to death. But it is interesting to know the preceding details and what happened afterwards. It turns out that it was Claret himself who had interceded for him a year before – without knowing him, but asked by his family members – to be released from the jail where he was imprisoned. Once free, the criminal hatched and carried out the plot against the archbishop. After the attempt he was condemned to death, but the death penalty was rescinded thanks to the intervention of Claret, and he was sent to Ceuta prison (in north Africa) to serve a ten year sentence.
Archbishop Claret gave his unconditional pardon to the man who had wanted to kill him. ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,’ said Jesus on the cross. Claret, identified with Jesus Christ, granted forgiveness without restrictions to this man who had made an attempt on his life, as to many others who hated him and calumniated him for no other reason than that he was a man of God, unceasingly dedicated to the cause of the Gospel.
We have certainly not all been stabbed in the face, like Archbishop Claret was. But we have all experienced the blade of some dagger which pierced our heart: ungratefulness, insults, forgetfulness, calumny, disgrace. These are the pains of our soul which we must learn to live with, not as open wounds but as wounds overcome. Overcoming these wounds is not achieved through forgetting the offence (which would be to deny the memory, which is a gift of God) but through the generosity of forgiveness. Living without rancour is one of the secrets to a happy life, despite bitter memories.
Do you always try to forgive, from the heart, those who have offended you?