Some years ago Hollywood came out with a movie called “Love Story,” whose musical theme is very beautiful and was extremely popular for years. But the producers of the film came up with a really stupid slogan which was supposed to help promote the film. It was, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” I don’t know who came up with that nonsense, but I suspect that he or she had never really been in love. Unfortunately, we humans in our clumsiness and selfishness often offend others, even those we love the most, and we MUST say “I’m sorry,” and really mean it.
In the opening prayer of today’s Mass, we say to Our God, “Father of Mercy, hear the prayers of your repentant children. . .” A repentant person is one who is conscious of having done wrong and offended someone, and is truly sorry and willing to admit it. The cry of the repentant person is simply: I’m sorry! This is so true that when Our Divine Lord founded his Church and gave it its sacramental system, he instituted one sacrament out of the seven to be a liturgical, official, life-giving way of saying “I’m sorry.” It is the sacrament of Penance or Reconciliation. When a child can truthfully say, perhaps with tears in small eyes, “I’m sorry,” there is hardly a parental heart, no matter how angry or offended, that does not melt and instantly forgive. When lovers have offended one another, nothing can be as healing and restorative than those sincere words: I’m sorry. And we know from the teachings of Our Lord that any sin will be forgiven if the sinner sincerely acknowledges his or her guilt and returns to God saying, in all truth, “I’m sorry.”
So, don’t ever fall for the Hollywood drivel, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” That might be a catchy slogan, but it’s very poor psychology and even poorer theology. Thank you for seeking God’s truth, God Bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.
Note: This message was composed some years ago.