Jesus said to his disciples, «When you pray, do not use a lot of words, as the pagans do, for they hold that the more they say, the more chance they have of being heard. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need, even before you ask him.
»This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, holy be your name, your kingdom come and your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts just as we have forgiven those who are in debt to us. Do not bring us to the test but deliver us from the evil one’. If you forgive others their wrongs, your Father in heaven will also forgive yours. If you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive you either».
Jesus asks us to establish a fatherly and filial relationship with His Father; He is also our Father. Since prayer is a relationship, we are asked to know ourselves (as sons of God) and also God with whom we would like to build this relationship. How can we build a relationship with God without knowing his will?
It is God's will that man should know this God of love and mercy and, as a child of God, that he too should be full of love and compassion. Forgiveness has an important place in this knowledge and in being'. Forgiveness is, therefore, not an option, but the essence of the Christian life.
If God asks us to forgive ourselves generously, it is because He knows that the best means available to man to build a divine and human relationship is through forgiveness.
Action of the day: Be merciful
«If you forgive others their wrongs, your Father in heaven will also forgive yours»
+ Fr. Joan MARQUÉS i Suriñach
(Vilamarí, Girona, Spain)
Today, Jesus proposes us a great and difficult target: to forgive those who offend us. And He establishes a very reasonable measure: ours: «If you forgive others their wrongs, your Father in heaven will also forgive yours. If you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive you either» (Mt 6:14-15). In another place, He had already given us the Golden Rule of human coexistence: «In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this sums up the Law and the Prophets» (Mt 7:12).
We want God to forgive us and would like others to forgive us too; but, on the other hand, we seem quite reluctant to do it ourselves. To apologize is kind of difficult; but to forgive is even more so. Should we be humbler, it should not be so difficult; but our pride makes it much harder. This is why we could establish the following equation: the humbler, the easier; the prouder, the more difficult. This will give us a clue to find out our degree of humility.
When the Spanish Civil War was over (year 1939), some ex-captive priests were celebrating a thanksgiving mass in a small town, somewhere in Spain. The officiating priest, after saying the words of the Lord's Prayer «and forgive us our debts», he remained speechless and was unable to go on. He could not drive himself to forgive those who had made them suffer so much in a hard labor camp, in that very same town. After a few moments of a most impressive silence, he went on with the prayer: «as we forgive our debtors». Afterwards, they asked themselves which homily had been the best one. And they all agreed: the silence of the officiating priest when he was saying the Lord’s Prayer. It is difficult, but with the Lord’s help it is possible.
Furthermore, God's forgiveness is total; it gets as far as oblivion. We tend to forget pretty soon the favours we receive, but not so much so with offenses... If married couples knew how to forget them, they would avoid, and probably overcome, many family dramas.
Let us hope the Mother of mercy helps us understanding our fellow men and forgiving them totally.