I have zombie faults. They never stay dead and buried. They keep coming back. You really cannot permanently kill a zombie, but you can keep it from ruining your day and the day of others. Fear is the zombie's friend. If I am fearful, I will be destroyed by my zombie faults. I must be courageous. How? Keep in touch with what my role is in activating my zombie faults. What do I do, repeatedly, that gives them life to mess with me. Am I fearful about losing something I had or not getting something I want? This is often based upon self-centeredness and selfishness. The control zombie is given life again. So, on a daily basis, before I get into my day, I examine my safely buried faults. What can I do to keep them dead? Love, patience, compassion, forgiveness, acceptance might be some of the courageous things I need to practice and keep in focus. Surrender control! That takes courage.
Thursday, May 30, 2019
FR. TERRY RYAN, CSP
JOHN 14: 23-29
MAY 26, 2019
My problem is zombies. You don’t believe in zombies? At your own peril then. Zombies are such creatures that die but they don’t stay dead. They keep coming back from the grave to haunt a person. My zombies are my faults and character defects. When I am faithful to a spiritual practice, and things seem to be going my way, my faults seem to be dead and buried. I am at peace.
Then stuff happens. I get complacent or busy with agenda, usually ego driven, and slack off of spiritual practice. Also, things don’t seem to be going my way. My plans are not working out. People, and situations become the bane of my life. My character `defects and faults rise up from the grave and haunt me. I act out with zombie resentment, anger, whining, self-pity, judgments of others, and selfishness. No one cares. I am abandoned to my unhappiness. Zombies rule my mood and actions.
In the midst of zombie terror, the Holy Spirit comes to my aid with an incite to save me from myself. “What is that?” you ask. It is that I attach my happiness to how people, places, and situations act. I am no longer free to be happy. My happiness is controlled by outside issues that are beyond my control. I cannot control the results of everything that I do.
I can say, “I love you God,” but then not do what God asks because I am caught up in my zombie moods as it relates to the unpredictable and uncontrollable world around me. I react with zombie responses. But my happiness will only come when I do not let outside forces control me. What if people are unpleasant or pleasant but not doing what I would prefer? Must I be unhappy about it? When I am on my spiritual mark, my daily practice, I can choose happiness. The zombies stay buried. Daily practice avoids the terrors!
Wednesday, May 29, 2019
Did you know that a cemetery and a graveyard are not the same? A graveyard is attached to a church, synagogue, or other such building whereas a cemetery is separate unto itself. So if you bury someone in your backyard it is a graveyard because the yard is part of your house property. Queens, NY is a big cemetery. There are more dead people in queens than living. I think of wanting to bury my faults and defects of character so that they will be completely gone away from me, buried in their cemetery. But the reality is that they are still attached to me, and at best, I am their graveyard. They might be dead but not gone, and if I don’t work at it, they will rise up and mess up my life. Like zombies! I have zombie faults. I don’t want to be visited or haunted by them, so I have to keep them buried with a good spiritual practice on a daily basis. You have zombie faults?
Tuesday, May 28, 2019
In many spiritual traditions that have some divine force, source, entity, power, none of which is ourselves, this power is referred to as a Shepherd. I guess that sheep raising was rather prevalent all over the world back when the traditions were being formed and developed. This idea of shepherd gives me comfort because a shepherd is always with the sheep. The sheep don’t see very well, and can get into a lot of mischief as they might wander off to places not safe for them. They do hear well and recognize the shepherd’s voice. I like it that even when the sheep sleep, the shepherd is nearby, even if they don’t see him. The shepherd is watching and protecting the sheep. I like it that my divine power is with me when I am in bed, sleeping, and with me when I might wander off into mischief. Been there and done that! My prayer is to listen for the shepherd. Paying attention is sanity.
Monday, May 27, 2019
The next time you talk on your land line phone, for those who still have them, and offices do, give a nod to my Catholic Church for providing the technology for the phone. What? Didn’t Marconi invent the stuff for the telephone? He got the credit, but his technology was as slow as telegraphy, the Morse code stuff. That is how fast one could talk on his technology. But there was a Josef Murgas, a Slovakian priest, an immigrant to the USA, who figured a way to send messages faster than Marconi’s technology. And Murgas could send the signal overland. Marconi could not. It was 50 words per minute for Murgas and only 15 for Marconi. Then Fr. Murgas gave his patents and research to Marconi, fearing his work would be lost without investors. Thank you Slovakia. Oh, and Fr. Murgas founded the Catholic Slovakian Church in Wilkes Barre, PA. Is it still there and functioning?
Sunday, May 26, 2019
A person says to me, “I used to be close to God, and now I cannot find God.” They wonder if perhaps God does not really exist for them, or they are doing something wrong, or God has abandoned them because of their imperfections. When I inquire where they are looking for God, often I hear that they are looking where they used to find God. They are going backwards to when they were younger, to try and conjure up old experiences. A problem with all this is that we are no longer that child. We are growing spiritually, even if we do not know it. What I mean is that our adult or senior age self has moved its spiritual center away from where it was as a child. God has not left them. Their God is right there with them, but they are searching for a past self and time that is truly past. I don’t pray like I used to. My routines change and shift as I grow older. It is natural growth. I try to ask, “What can I do for you Lord?” I used to ask, “What can you do for me?” The first question requires more listening. The second question is more about my list of things I want from God, with all the pleading words I use for attention and sincerity. Both questions are fair and good at a certain time. But at some point I think we are supposed to become more a listener. I have found it so.
Saturday, May 25, 2019
Do you ever notice that when you are doing something that seems rather obvious, people tend to ask, “What are you doing?” Or, “What are you doing that for?” An example: you are walking out of the house or wherever, and you have on a baseball cap, a tee shirt that says, “Robins Team” with a baseball glove in one hand and a bat in the other. Someone says, “What are you doing?” You could substitute ballet slippers and outfit, fishing gear, or tap shoes. Behind the question, that cannot deal with the obvious, is that people have a hard time allowing us to be someone they cannot pigeon hole, as we used to say. People decide who we are, for their own benefit, and then cannot grasp that we might be more than or other than their expectations. I could be in a hall tapping away on my tap shoes, and someone will walk in and say, “Father, what are you doing?” Followed by, “Why are you doing that?” In other words, priests can fit only certain boundaries, images, and context for the questioner. I do not live other people’s image of priest or me. Maybe that is why I have so few fans? Be you. And allow that to change as you go through life. Not everyone can keep up with change.
Friday, May 24, 2019
I cannot attend tap dancing classes on a weekly basis. So I am always falling behind. New steps are taught while I am not there. I am constantly behind. When I go home to practice I am dreadful about remembering or making tap steps happen as practiced badly in class. Thus I am dreadful when I practice each day. My ego is crushed. Pride takes a tumble. But there is one reason that I continue. I enjoy tapping. Isn’t that what ought to be important in undertaking something that attracts you? Being good or better than others, being praised, feeling like a big deal, all these things are fleeting and superficial. I believe the question is, “Do I enjoy what I am doing?” Yes it is work and effort, but I do still feel good about my pathetic attempts to dance. I do it for myself, and not for others. Tapping is not a service project. It is my fun. When I run, I should do it to enjoy myself, or maybe “give God pleasure.” Maybe I give God pleasure when I tap? What do I know.
Thursday, May 23, 2019
Someone said, “Growing old is not an affliction. It is a natural condition.” So don’t whine about growing old, whatever “old” is for you. I first thought that I was growing old when I turned 30. “Life is passing me by. I have done nothing.” Whiner. Many people never make it to 30. Their life is cut short from what is natural. We are supposed to age. Tragedy is when we do not get to do what we are supposed to do naturally. You young people need to treat us old folks better because we are in our natural condition. We are not a burden or living too long. And for us who are really old, we need to ask what is the plan for today, since we have this day. Really, each day is a gift of life, not an affliction to endure. Let’s be of service and useful to others today. Until we need our nap.
Wednesday, May 22, 2019
I think that worship services could be like a 5th step in the 12 step spiritual path of recovery. How? In the 5th step you say out loud your faults, character defects, and shortcomings. Embarrassing yes, but it does the job of “Recovery” from a messy, short-circuited life. In a worship service, I think we need to go beyond simply saying out loud, “Mercy Lord!” Mercy for what? Say out loud, for others to hear, what you want mercy for. It makes you reflect and list your shortcomings and say them so others will hear them. “Mercy Lord for I am selfish, self-centered, jealous, envious, lustful, prejudiced, self-pitying, etc.” We don’t want to do this, because we tend to put on our public face when going to public worship. But we don’t change for the better any more than a drunk gets better if they skip the 5th step. When I tell people in a homily, out loud, a shortcoming of mine, they may think me a bad priest and want me to go away. I call it my 5th step way of preaching. Or maybe I am really a bad priest?
Tuesday, May 21, 2019
We refer to people in prison as “doing time.” They do the same old things everyday, the same routines, fearful of breaking a rule, lest they be punished even more. Some people in organized religion are “doing time” insofar as they keep following rules to avoid punishment. Addicted people, following their addictions are enslaved, imprisoned in their addictions. So are people who are all focused on appearances. Recovery programs break free of addictions. Mediation can help people of religion get free from routines, fears, and dualities, that separate themselves from one another. Some things we have to do daily to survive, but many things we do daily simply build prison walls that take away the sunshine of the spirit that can set us free. Sadly, many people prefer “doing time.” They might fear the unknown.
Monday, May 20, 2019
The risen Jesus and the recovering addict are a lot alike. “Heresy?” You say. I think not. When Jesus rose from the dead no one recognized him. People who had known him thought that he was a fellow traveler on the road to Emmaus, or the gardener to Mary Magdalene, or a ghost to his cowardly disciples. When he called out to them from shore while they were fishing, they did not know it was him. Jesus risen was totally unrecognizable. But he was still Jesus. When a person gets deep into recovery from an addiction, you can hear their old acquaintances say, “We don’t even recognize you.” This is what we call a spiritual change. I call it resurrection, eternal life, a new person, but in fact it is the same person whose spiritual insides have changed their outsides. Recovery meetings are filled with resurrected people.
Sunday, May 19, 2019
It is a lot easier, in some ways, if you don’t believe in God. Why? Well, you won’t be bothered with the question, “What does God want from me?” My old belief in God was quite self-serving and self-centered. My question was, “What do I want from God?” Give me this and that, or keep this and that away from me. My religion was all about what God could do for me or what I wanted from God. The more self-sufficient I was, the less I bothered with God stuff. My outlook and focus began to change when I said, “I give myself to you, good and bad, to do with me as you want. May I do your will.” Since I am naturally selfish, I have to say this prayer everyday, or I am in peril. This prayer then asks what does God want from me. I don’t know, unless I meditate or have contact with others who might be self-destructing. When I am of service, I am more sure that I am doing what my God wants than what a selfish or fear-based ego wants. It is not easy. It is not the softer way.
Saturday, May 18, 2019
I remember looking for something that I thought I had lost. I think it was my chain of keys, car, house and office. My life was in ruins. Why does God abandon me! For what am I being punished? And so on. I looked everywhere. I backtracked where I had been and what I had done. Nothing. I gave up. My life was over. Then I tried to put something into my pants pocket. There were my keys. They were inside my pants while I looked for them outside. Dummy right? But don’t many of us look for our soul, our spiritual life, a god or power outside of ourselves? We go to nature scenes, parks, churches, temples, gurus, classes, self-help books and so on. Only to eventually stumble onto the reality that it is all inside of ourselves if only we keep looking. If there is a God or soul, or spirit it is within us. It is part of our DNA. And that stranger you see near your space. They have soul too.
Friday, May 17, 2019
I recall a time or many a time, in which I was going to do something not good, and said, “I will deal with the consequences later.” For one, I assume there will be a later. If I were going to jump off a cliff, or play with explosives, or drive while on heavy pain meds, a “later” is bit of an assumption. Second, I have found consequences tend to deal with me. They take control. If I steal, the consequences might be jail. I don’t deal with jail. I just suffer the consequences of loss of freedom. If addicted to something the consequences are guilt, depression, shame and loss of self-esteem. That can be a jumping off point and there is no later for jumping off. Most of us don’t really deal with these feelings. We bury them beneath some diversion like shopping, exercise, eating treats, or entertainments such as movies, music or just more bad behavior! Often, I avoid bad behavior by saying to myself, “I will feel worse later, or the same ole same old.” Bad behavior is not a solution for me.
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Some of you think that my stuff about the twelve steps of AA having nothing to do with you because you are not a drunk. So let me tell you that if you are in a relationship, like marriage, the twelve steps can be a great help. Say what? Bill Wilson, the Co-founder of AA had a friend and advisor named Fr. Ed Dowling, a Jesuit. Dowling's day job was his active ministry with Cana Conferences. These were conferences, gatherings, for married couples. Dowling used the twelve steps to help married couples. So if you are having issues in your relationship with your partner or want to better the relationship, don't sell short the twelve steps. Maybe a recovering drunk could be of some help to you? Now, if you like the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius, and Jesuits do, since he was their founder, Fr. Dowling noted a surprising resemblance between the exercise of St Ignatius and the twelve steps. The twelve steps are a perennial wisdom, put together in a fashion that is useful to many a modern person and our modern problems.
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Why do people think that a spiritual experience or awakening must be like a white lightening event or a deep sense of Godness close to them? Some people don’t have that happening in their life, but they can still have a spiritual experience. Like What? Well, think of someone who is self-centered, who only thinks of themselves and acts in compulsive, self-destructive ways. Yuck, right! Then they follow some instructions that help them to grow up, such that they become people who try to be of use to others in a selfless manner. This to me is a spiritual experience. I can think of women who were all selfish, self-destructive, putting bad stuff into their bodies. Then they began to follow a much healthier way of life, and became fine wives, partners, and parents. That is a spiritual awakening. It is never simply and only private. Proof is when the experience becomes communal. Gotta go and be of service to someone.
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
I know problem drinkers who say that the 12 steps are silly. They point to step number 2. It says some power will return them to sanity. They don’t think they are insane, so they don’t need the steps. They point out that they might make bad decisions but no different from other people. They take a job that is all wrong. They move to another place that is not a good fit for them. They marry the “wrong” person. Well, I point out that these examples are all under the category of “mistakes.” They are not considered insane. Insanity is when you compare and contrast yourself to others who don’t have your problem, your lack of power, and say, “See, we are all alike.” Like what? Like saying, “I can drink like a normal person.” Though normal in other flawed ways with “mistakes” you are insane in thinking you can drink like a “normal” person. This is why step 2 is early in the process. Oh, today, I am ordained 42 years. I had to admit insanity along the way.
Monday, May 13, 2019
I don’t try so much to change the outside world as to change my inside world to meet the conditions of the outside world and not get crazy. A flat tire is an example. Sure you can change the tire or get it changed. But what attitude did you bring to the discovery that you had a flat tire? Rage, whining, self-pity, and blaming someone else? This is all the inside stuff that no tire changer can fix. And you will take these moods and feelings into the rest of your day which will make so much more drama that changes nothing of the outsides. So I work on my insides, with meditation, sleep, healthy food, so that I will be able to meet the outside world as it presents itself to me, ever so suddenly. My daily plans move from “must” to “preference.” It works for me.
Sunday, May 12, 2019
The past bad behavior can lock me in, be a prison for me, repeating itself over and over as habits tend to do, no matter how much I promise I “won’t do it again.” Or the past can be a key that unlocks a brighter future of better behavior. A lock or a key: it all depends on whether or not we are on a spiritual path. This is not dogma or religious affiliation, but rather an energy to which we connect that propels us into a new way of living on a daily basis. Meditation is key for me: it is often my connector practice that links me to the power I need daily to change for the better. I see the past as a great teacher of what not to do and why I acted that way. On the spiritual practice of meditation I seem to find tools and direction for better behavior. I have a better attitude. Like what? Acceptance replaces resentment. Service, being useful to others, replaces whining and self-pity. And fear no longer manages my life. I hold the key today.
Saturday, May 11, 2019
A too big ego is unmanageable. When I am in this state, I tend to try or think I can do things that I cannot do, that are beyond me. So I need to get a second opinion from someone who knows about big egos. I cannot manage things that are beyond me. Failure, and the expending of wasted energy are the results. Another reason that big ego is unmanageable is that when I act on it, the impetus is to get the approval, and esteem from others. I end up trying to do things that in fact I do not enjoy, simply for praise from others. But I cannot guarantee that praise, much less that I will be noticed. So this goal cannot be managed either. Daily, I try to keep a right size ego that is useful to others and does not beat myself up. If my resentment list remains empty, this is a good indicator that I am staying right-sized.
Friday, May 10, 2019
How does a spinning ballerina keep her balance and not get all dizzy and lopsided? She focuses on one thing. So every time she makes a full turn she looks for that one thing to keep her balanced. What a great way for me to go through the day. I often am spinning around and losing my way, metaphorically doing this or that, thinking crazy, so maybe the way for me to get a balance, stay on the path of spiritual growth is to have one thing I keep returning to as my focus. Maybe a bit of a mantra that I return to as I am in whatever mode of activity or emotion. Keep my day sober. “Acceptance,” or “This too shall pass,” or “Live and let live,” or “Life on life’s terms.” These phrases have helped me as I spin through me day. They keep me from getting dizzy from life, and losing focus. As Elton John sings, “Tiny Dancer,” I think of myself as a tiny dancer going through life, on this spinning planet.
Thursday, May 9, 2019
Why don’t we Christians see images of Jesus cooking, as a sign of holiness, goodness, godliness? So many times people can think of cooking as a drudgery, mundane, non-spiritual, and a chore, while they think going to church, praying, is when they are being holy. Well, in the gospel of John, 21: 1-14, it shows Jesus cooking and feeding his wayward disciples. Not only is he cooking on a fire grill, he feeds them, not as a reward for good behavior and loyalty, but in spite of bad behavior. So I think of cooking as an act of holiness, saintliness, and service and even more so when you do it for people who are not very nice and certainly have not “earned” your cooked food. Think of wayward children, and other family members or community members. So maybe less time in church and more time grocery shopping and in the kitchen or at the grill will make you holier. The people who cook for me and feed me are very holy. And I am bad.
Wednesday, May 8, 2019
What if you don’t have a spiritual experience when you try to meditate? If you are practicing the 12th step of the 12 step process of recovery from addiction, it says, “Having had a spiritual experience...”. Are we all doomed if no spiritual experience? Did we do the steps wrong? Is there no god? Well, as someone remarked, maybe what we need is “spiritual growth,” rather than a spriritual experience. I may not be too certain what a spiritual experience is but I can tell when I am acting better and not in my old behavior. Or moving from vice to virtue one might say. If I am being more of service to others, selflessly, kinder, forgiving and accepting of others, less all about me as the center of the universe, then my higher power is at work. I don’t need to have a spiritual experience to prove it. I can be delusional about a spiritual experience, but cannot fool myself about behavior, and even if I try, others will somehow remind me.
Tuesday, May 7, 2019
I played hide and seek with my grandniece and nephew in Miami. I "found" them before I could see them. I heard of sensed their presence. This reminded me of God and mediation. Sometimes God likes to hide and be sought. But God wants to be found just as the children wanted me to find them. God is just obvious enough to be sensed by someone who seeks to find. I think of mediation as the seeking time and effort. We sense the presence even though we do not have direct sight of God. God is always a little bit hidden so that we will make some effort if we want to find the Divine Presence. God is moving about in my life though not so obvious as to take no effort on my part. God moves about in the silence and stillness of my prayer. God is hidden but active. If my niece hid so completely that I could not find her, then I would have given up and the game would be a dud. God is not a dud. But when I make no effort to search, I become a dud.
Monday, May 6, 2019
FR. TERRY RYAN, CSP
JOHN 21: 1-14
MAY 5, 2019
Why don’t we ever have holy pictures of Jesus cooking, grilling food, baking bread, being in the kitchen fixing a meal? When we think of Jesus saying, “Follow me,” we think of walking on water, crucifixion, raising the dead to life, multiplying food for the crowds who are hungry. So we think, “That is not anything I can do.” So this “follow me” can be kind of off-putting if not confusing.
In today’s gospel we have a very clear scene of Jesus preparing breakfast for his wayward “followers” who did not follow very well when he was being executed. Though they lied, were cowards, ran away, he still cooks for them. He offers them bread and grilled fish. Bread takes time to make. It is not store bought. So Jesus has been busy through the night preparing to feed these guys. He does not complain. Rather his feeding them is an act of forgiveness. They certainly did not earn this breakfast from good behavior. Jesus cooks with boundless love and acceptance.
So cooking, being a kitchen person for people who may have done your wrong, or ignored you, is a way to “follow me.” How many of us see cooking for others as beneath us, or a drudgery, or unfair. We might then do it with resentment and self-pity. I suspect that we would have fewer vocations if all these priests had to cook for others on a daily basis. We prefer, many of us, to be waited on when it comes to food preparation.
Why not think of cooking, baking, food shopping and preparation, as being right up there with raising the dead and walking on water. It is not a lesser task, but one that can keep our egos right-sized if we can do it with acceptance, then joy, and finally with love. My Mom was this way with us wayward kids. Well, my sisters were wayward. I was perfect!😇
Sunday, May 5, 2019
Someone reminded me that God is like a Call Box. When I feel stressed, afraid, lost, alone, forlorn, God is here for me. Call boxes are those phones that are, or used to be, on highways, especially in more remote places, like mountain passes. You can call for help. If we get too panicky we might not notice a call box along the road. We tend to forget or not notice that God is with us on our spiritual journey. The Third Step Prayer of the Twelves Steps in Recovery Programs asks that God relieve us of our difficulties so that we can be of use to others. There is a lot of trust in such a prayer. When we feel lost we can be found. Most of our prayers are really call box prayers, especially when we feel in really dark places, the tunnels of life when we see no way out. God, the Call Box, is there with us.
Saturday, May 4, 2019
If I always try to eat with people who are just like me, then I think I miss a chance to grow. If I eat with people who are different than me, I get to practice tolerance and patience. Plus, I might learn something from their different opinions or ideas about religion, politics, society, and the culture. I think it is good to have my personal opinions challenged, otherwise how do they get tested? I am supposed to be a Christian, so Jesus is supposed to be my mentor. Well, he did not eat with people who were just like him. And I don't see him telling these people to shape up and be like him. If I ate with prostitutes and greedy bankers/finance people, I would be following the example of my mentor. After recovery meetings, addicts sometimes have "fellowship" which is going out to eat together. In the meeting they appear to be alike in their focus on recovery. But in the fellowship afterwards, people tend to bring out their differences as the conversation shifts to multiple topics. This is when tolerance, patience, listening skills, and openness to learn can be practiced. With this attitude you can talk about anything...and become a better person for it.
Friday, May 3, 2019
What is the "Cosmic Christ?" More importantly, am I going to become a better person because I believe in a Cosmic Something? I think not. Why, you ask? Well, I think I might feel ashamed, or guilty about doing bad stuff. I might be disgusted with myself, which is really an ego trip. But I won't change if I think the offense is against a cosmic something or an amorphous power out there. I will just go on doing the same bad behavior over and over. Change will only come when I realize I have offended some person. The offense has to be personal. It is between me and the offended one. For Christians that would be Jesus Christ who is not cosmic. He was and still is human. He has a humanness about him. Recovering addicts in 12 step programs know this when they do their 4th step and look at their side of the street. When they realize that they offended persons, that is when the energy for change comes. That change begins with an apology to the offended person. I don't apologize to the cosmic universe. I get the theology, and the Oneness idea, but I am into me changing, and that is a one on one realization. If my God is too big to be offended, then what is the point in me being sorry and wanting to change? My God is too big to be angry, and judgmental, but plenty small enough to be hurt by the mess of my self-will run riot.
Thursday, May 2, 2019
An alcoholic in recovery and a normal drinker may be the same in one sense. Neither may want a drink when sober. But once they each take that drink, the difference shows up. The alcoholic in recovery does not need a drink until they have one. Then the craving sets in. The normal drinker does not have the craving for "more." The 12 Steps will not keep you from that first drink. Only a relationship with a power greater than yourself will do that. So what good are the steps and all the AA stuff? They are to deal with alcoholism which is a lot more than drinking. It is a whole personality, damaged with flaws and character defects, living fear-based lives and being clueless. The steps don't show up until Chapter five in the big book. All that goes before chapter five is about that first drink and a Higher Power, whatever that might be. It is not the alcoholic left to themselves. So I suggest to the newcomer that they simply keep coming to meetings, don't drink and read the Big Book up through chapter four. I don't make it like a lot of institutional religion which loads you up with too much stuff too soon, lots of rules must do stuff. Keep it simple. Don't drink today.
Wednesday, May 1, 2019
Do you forgive others so that they will like you? To make them feel better? When I forgive, I have no control over how the other person will feel or respond. So my act of forgiveness is not about them. My forgiveness is selfish. It is about me. Say what? Well, selfish is not always bad. I forgive so that my peace and happiness will not be in the hands of someone who hurt me in the first place. I don't want to be hostage to another person's feelings or opinion of me. I will feel better if you will feel better? It does not really work. It is an attempt at control that can prove fruitless. I forgive others because I need to be healed of the damage done to me by others. Some of the damage has been done by people who are dead. My wanting them in hell, should there be such a place, does not heal me. I get people off my resentment list by forgiving them their wrongs done to me. This kind of forgiveness is not weakness. It is wisdom on the spiritual path.