Forgiveness: our direct route to heaven

Forgiven Debts We Cannot Pay
Pope Francis’ Meditation on the Pardon of Assisi

Forgiveness — pardon — is surely our direct route to that place in heaven. How hard it is to pardon! How much effort it takes for us to forgive others! Let us think about this.

Here at the Porziuncola everything speaks to us of pardon! What a great gift the Lord has given us in teaching us to forgive – or at least to try to forgive – and in this way to touch the Father’s mercy! We have heard the parable in which Jesus teaches us to forgive (cf. Mt 18:21-35).

Why should we forgive someone who has offended us?

Because we were forgiven first, and of infinitely more. There is no one here who has not been forgiven. Let each of us reflect on this… Let us reflect in silence on the wrong we have done and how the Lord has forgiven us.

The parable tells us exactly this: just as God has forgiven us, so we too should forgive those who do us harm. This is the caress of forgiveness. A forgiving heart caresses. It is far removed from the attitude of: “You’ll pay for this!” Forgiveness is something other.

So it is with the prayer that Jesus taught us, the Our Father, in which we say: “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Mt 6:12). The debts are our sins in the sight of God, and our debtors are those whom we, for our part, must forgive.

Pope Francis’ meditation at Basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels, Porziuncola – Assisi, August 4, 2016

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. — Jesus, Matthew 5:7

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Father, I have sinned against…”

Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained. — Jesus, John 20:22–23

So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; hence, she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little. — Jesus, Luke 7:47

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