Today’s first reading speaks of forgiveness. The first week of the Spiritual Exercises has us consider our sins and God’s forgiveness and love.

When I was five or six years old, I remember my father teaching me how to hit a baseball. He would stand close and underhand the ball to home plate where I was standing, ready to hit it out of the park like the Mighty Casey of the famous poem. I took a mighty swing and failed to hold onto the bat. It flew out of my hands and hit my father square in the shin. He fell to the ground in pain. I ran into the house and to my room where I cried uncontrollably in shame and sorrow.

It was only a matter of a minute or two before my father came into the room and hugged me with all the love he had, so much love that my shame, sorrow and tears disappeared. He assured me that he was fine and one day I would be a great baseball player. I don’t know about becoming a great baseball player, but I sure did learn an awful lot about unconditional love that day.

This is but a small indication of God’s love for each of us. Imagine it!

—David McNulty works for the Midwest Jesuits. Dave and his wife Judy are grandparents of six.