Forgiveness rather than Permission

Forgiveness rather than Permission

by Sr. Sheila Campbell  MMM          Ireland            24.09.2022
One day, when I was a young Sister on mission, I was dithering about doing something a little bit differently.  One of the more experienced Sisters said to me: “It is easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission: go ahead with your project.”  She was not giving me permission – she had no authority to do so, but she was giving me words of encouragement and asking me to trust my own judgement.

Why is it that people seem to be divided into two groups – those who recklessly go ahead with their own plans and projects (like some of our politicians!) without regarding the consequences of their actions, and a second group who see so many difficulties ahead that they become paralysed and attempt nothing?

Often, I ask myself which of these two groups do I belong? I am tempted to say that I am among the second group. At times I need to be pushed, or at least strongly encouraged to set out on a new path. The old ways are so comfortable, aren’t they?

This is when I think back to Mary, going in haste to her cousin, Elizabeth, at her hour of need. She had no GPS to guide her, but she probably took someone along with her for protection on the road. But she went – and the Gospel says she “went in haste”. No dithering for Mary.

Mother Mary Martin, our foundress, was also a woman of action. She saw the need for care of women at the time of childbirth and for the promotion of family life. She went to World War 1 to nurse, and then on to Nigeria as a lay missionary.

Today we are also called to action – to save our planet, to work for peace and justice. We cannot do it alone. We need to trust God to be with us as we struggle with these things, but we are called to get up and do something. So today I ban inertia and hesitation within myself – with God’s help!