Face to Face (Kirk Blackard)

To open the Jubilee of Mercy, Pope Francis said that “this is the time for mercy. It is the favourable time to heal wounds, a time not to be weary of meeting all those who are waiting to see and to touch with their hands the signs of the closeness of God, a time to offer everyone, everyone, the way of forgiveness and reconciliation.” To give and receive mercy is one of the most intimate encounters that one can have with another person. And yet it is what we must do to become full human beings, to recognize the divine spark that is in each human soul. If “the glory of God is man fully alive,” as St. Irenaeus says, then mercy changes us into the people we are called to be. It smooths our rough edges, builds our fortitude for the next time we are faced with that fundamental question: can I forgive again?

Because we will need to forgive, over and over again. Even, at times, the same person for the same act against us. It may take years to forgive, but each time we do, it brings us closer to closure and the forgiveness that God asks of us: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”

Misty Wright would be more than justified, in everyone’s estimation I think, in not forgiving Keith Blackburn. In October 1992, Keith shot Misty in the face in order to avoid her being a witness to his attempt to steal her car. Face to Face is the story of Misty and Keith coming to terms with their new reality after the shooting–Keith in prison, Misty in constant rehabilitation. After a meeting between them years later, the story turns to their relationship–indeed, friendship–as they navigate how to give and receive mercy.

Face to Face is a worthy read during the Year of Mercy or for anyone struggling with the difficult and personal process of forgiving another.

For an honest review of this book, I was provided a complimentary review copy.


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