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Why are the words so hard to say?


“Don’t be afraid to say, ’I love you.’

“Don’t be afraid to say, ’I’m sorry.’

“Don’t be afraid to say, ’Forgive me.’”

These were the words shared during the rosary as we mourned the passing of my friend’s dad.

Powerful words from a family member to sum up a life and to encourage those of us who remain to truly live.

The words are yours, loving Lord.

“As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love” (John 15:9).

“And if [your brother] wrongs you seven times in one day and returns to you seven times saying, ’I am sorry,’ you should forgive him” (Luke 17:4).

Why do we find it so difficult, Abba?

Why do the phrases choke in our throats so often?

We can say “I love you” so easily to our children when they are small, to others around us when things are going well. But we resist saying these words to many we care about, often because we fear rejection, or because we fear being misunderstood, or perceived as weak. We fear admitting we have been wrong.

Why should it be so hard? Love is a healing emotion. So, too, forgiveness and sorrow for our wrongs.

We find it as difficult sometimes more so to say “I’m sorry” or “Forgive me.”

We fear being seen as weak, or needing those with whom we’re trying to repair the relationships.

Don’t be afraid to say, “I love you.”

Don’t be afraid to say, “I’m sorry.”

Don’t be afraid to say, “Forgive me.”

But we are afraid of rejection, acceptance, misunderstanding...

How much better will all our relationships be when we have the courage, spurred by love and faith, to admit our failings to others and you to invite forgiveness, to express our love? And how much more alive will we be to your love and plans for us, to others and their needs, fears, hopes, to your beautiful creation and our place in it when we open to the love and forgiveness, and let go of the fear?

Please take my fear, my Abba, and turn it into courage.

Take my fear and turn it into faith.

Take my fear and turn it into your love. And please open my heart and my mouth to speak in courage, faith, and love.

Help me to say, in faith, with courage, and without fear:

I love you.

I’m sorry.

Forgive me.

Continue your Lenten journey of love and reconciliation with the parishioners of St. Ann’s. Masses at are at 5:30 p.m. Saturdays, and Sundays at 7:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., noon (Spanish), and 5:30 p.m. For more information, visit

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