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Gazing at the falling snow through her window, Margaret Rose Realy, Obl. OSB, experienced the spiritual peace of working to forgive old hurts.

For many of us forgiveness may be an ongoing commitment. At times it is employed for the smallest of slights several years ago, at others for a great harm that affects our daily functioning.

The flip side of forgiveness is a spiritual peace; a spiritual acceptance that I will continue to place before God the soul of the person I strive to forgive—for memories are imbedded.

As I write this essay it’s snowing. I recalled that several years ago I wrote about my first encounter with spiritual peace at age seven, encountering God as it snowed.

I was seven, lying on my back on the Flexible Flyer sled and wearing a one piece red-quilted snowsuit. It was early morning, very early. Snow had fallen through the night and when I woke the flakes were still coming down. In my excitement I’d hastily bundled up, pajamas underneath, and in the pre-dawn light fled the house without breakfast or parents’ knowledge. No one would be at the hill and I could play freely.


child in red snowsuit on a sled


Two blocks away was Martin Road Park and a sizeable hill for sledding. Up and down I went a dozen times or more, until I lay panting and happily spent beyond its skirt. Rolling over on the sled I faced the clouds and giggled as snowflakes landed on eyelashes, and cried with a love so deep there were no words—and as a child I knew no object for that love.

The only thing heard that morning was my heartbeat and breathing. Snow is quiet and it quieted a world that was, for me, abusive and loud. At the age of seven I had experienced, for the first time, the sensation of spiritual peace and holy love.

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Snow is quiet and it quieted a world that was, for me, abusive and loud. #catholicmom

snowfall on trees, fence, and yard


As I now watched the snow outside continue, I wondered if manna had fallen the same way in the desert—if it lightly built up on stems and leaves and covered the ground. I wondered, too, at the conflicted People of God who praised and soon griped at that perfect gift grown tiresome.

And I see in myself how often I gripe about something that is ultimately for my good—specifically forgiveness. Forgiveness, much like gathering up manna, can be a chore, and tiresome in its repetition. But ultimately it brings what we need, and I know how grateful I am that forgiveness exists.

I watched the snow coming down and make white all that seemed dead and dark. I felt again the peace the seven-year-old-me knew, of gently falling grace, and realized in myself a desire to meet in heaven those souls who had harmed me, and to see who God had intended them to be.

Copyright 2022 Margaret Rose Realy, Obl. OSB
Images: Canva Pro