Context: A humble Catholic and politician champions prison ministry and rehabilitation for England's most hardened criminals of the twentieth century. In a particularly insightful scene from the HBO drama entitled Longford, a radio Q & A is revisited toward the end of the film whereby an anonymous caller interrupts a sprightly conversation about Lord Longford's love of the saints and bluntly confronts him about his long dedication towards convicted murderer Myra Hindley.
Caller: [...in view of everything we now know about her, don't you regret having supported her all that time? ...(long pause) it's a simple answer Lord, yes or no? Do you regret it? ]
Longford: [ Not at all, as a matter of fact, I consider my visiting Myra Hindley and, indeed, all of the other prisoners I visited for over fifty years to be one of the great blessings of my life... now perhaps we could get back to the subject of saints?]
Radio Host: [But, hasn't she betrayed you? She's ruined your good name, she's taken all of that hard work you did for her and thrown it back in your face.] Longford: [Yes... (with hesitation), perhaps there's some truth in that. Ummm, forgiving her has proven difficult, very difficult (mournful expression). Not for what's she's done to me (chuckling) - that's neither here nor there - but the terrible crime themselves...forgiveness is the very cornerstone of my faith, and the struggle to deepen my faith is my life's journey, so in this respect she has enriched my spiritual life beyond measure, and for that I will always be grateful to her. ] (long pause)
Longford:[If people think that makes me weak or mad so be it, that is the path I am committed too. To love the sinner, but hate the sin, to see the best in people not the worst, to believe that anyone, no matter how evil, can be redeemed... eventually.]
Despite the rather esoteric and provocative example, how is forgiveness known in our ordinary lives? To be sure, it quietly taps on our hearts in a subtle yet daunting stubbornness - a persistent far away, closen-up embrace.