Last week I wrote about the way forgiveness can heal a family that reconciles with the poor ostracized black sheep.
And who among us is not touched by the story of the Prodigal Son?
I think if we are honest we all would have to admit that we may have limits to our own ability to set aside the transgressions of those that hurt us deeply.
But the act of forgiveness provides an indescribable sense of freedom and peace.
Not for the sinner but for the injured party doing the forgiving.
Jim Klein, a great priest and pastoral associate over at St. Borromeo Church, used to describe the joyful act of forgiveness like this.
When he is unable to forgive, he feels like he is carrying around the body of the one he hates on his back all the time.
Father Klein talks about the wonderful lightness that makes him almost giddy when he releases the burden of a grudge against the offender.
Which leads me to the real story behind this column.
In the spring of 2006, a five-year-old had come to the last in a series of chemotherapy treatments needed because of a cancerous tumor in her abdomen.
Emily Jerry was her name.
Emily maintained her optimistic smile throughout the difficult therapy.
Family and friends had been on their knees in thanksgiving because the tumor had finally disappeared.
She was an inspiration.
And now it seemed that a happy ending was finally hers.
The final chemotherapy dose was prepared by a pharmaceutical technician by the name of Eric Cropp at Rainbow Babies and Childrens Hospital.
Mr. Cropp inadvertently increased the sodium level almost 26 times beyond the correct dosage.
The results were catastrophic.
The girl who had been destined to walk out of that hospital in full remission experienced a fatal brain hemorrhage within minutes of receiving the nurse's injection made lethal because of the technician's mistake.
Eric Cropp was prosecuted for involuntary manslaughter and spent six months in the Cuyahoga County Jail.
Here's where the forgiveness comes in.
Christopher Jerry, Emily's grieving father, had a face-to-face meeting with this technician who brought about his daughter's death.
He immediately gave him a hug, telling him that he forgave him and that he knew the error was completely unintentional.
The website EmilyJerryfoundation.org contains a video of this poignant moment.
How much forgiveness is in you?
Could you let go of resentment against one responsible for your child's demise?
What this story tells me is that there is no limit to man's ability to forgive.
Just tap into some part of God that is deep inside you.
Look at the cross.
Look at your life.
And offer forgiveness.
To absolutely everyone, regardless of the crime.
From one prodigal to another, let's play the role of the dad in that story.
I am going to try, readers.
And we can greet one another up in the clouds.
I feel lighter already.