I forgave your entire debt

First Question of the Day

Is there some offense I don’t have to forgive?

Scripture of the Day

Old Testament: Sirach 28:2–4

Forgive your neighbor the wrong done to you;
then when you pray, your own sins will be forgiven.
Does anyone nourish anger against another
and expect healing from the LORD?
Can one refuse mercy to a sinner like oneself,
yet seek pardon for one’s own sins?

Gospel: Matthew 18:21–35

Peter approached Jesus and asked him,
“Lord, if my brother sins against me,
how often must I forgive him?
As many as seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.
That is why the Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king
who decided to settle accounts with his servants.
When he began the accounting,
a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount.
Since he had no way of paying it back,
his master ordered him to be sold,
along with his wife, his children, and all his property,
in payment of the debt.
At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said,
‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.’
Moved with compassion the master of that servant
let him go and forgave him the loan.
When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants
who owed him a much smaller amount.
He seized him and started to choke him, demanding,
‘Pay back what you owe.’
Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him,
‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’
But he refused.
Instead, he had him put in prison
until he paid back the debt.
Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened,
they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master
and reported the whole affair.
His master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant!
I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to.
Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant,
as I had pity on you?’
Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers
until he should pay back the whole debt.
So will my heavenly Father do to you,
unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart.”

Note: Some translations of The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant are more specific about the amount the debtor owed his king: 10,000 talents. “Huge sum” is too easily misunderstood. A laborer earned one denarius for a day’s labor. It would take 15 to 20 years of work to pay back one talent. The point is that the amount is a sum that a man could never pay back. We can never make full reparation for the damage our sin has caused. God tells us that the measure we use for others is the measure he will use for us.

Video of the Day
Immaculee Ilibagiza keynote speech at the 2017 Women’s Conference

Prayer of the Day

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy kingdom come, Thy Will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who have trespassed against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

More Questions of the Day

  • With whom are you most angry?
  • Is there someone we need to forgive or need to ask to forgive us?

Mercy Quote

Tell sinners that no one shall escape My Hand; if they run away from My Merciful Heart, they will fall into My Just Hands. Tell sinners that I am always waiting for them, that I listen intently to the beating of their heart… when will it beat for Me? Write, that I am speaking to them through their remorse of conscience, through their failures and sufferings, through thunderstorms, through the voice of the Church. And if they bring all My graces to naught, I begin to be angry with them, leaving them alone and giving them what they want. — Divine Mercy in My Soul: Diary of Saint Faustina, #1728

Lenten Action

Make a good confession. Have your entire debt forgiven, and then go and do likewise.

Let us celebrate with a feast

Feast of Saint Cyril

Collect

O God, who through the Bishop Saint Cyril of Jerusalem led your Church in a wonderful way to a deeper sense of the mysteries of salvation, grant us, through his intercession, that we may so acknowledge your Son as to have life ever more abundantly. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

First Question of the Day

This Lent, what is it that God wants to do for you?

Gospel of the Day: Luke 5:1–3, 11–32

Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus,
but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying,
“This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
So to them Jesus addressed this parable.
“A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father,
‘Father, give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’
So the father divided the property between them.
After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings
and set off to a distant country
where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation.
When he had freely spent everything,
a severe famine struck that country,
and he found himself in dire need.
So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens
who sent him to his farm to tend the swine.
And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed,
but nobody gave him any.
Coming to his senses he thought,
‘How many of my father’s hired workers
have more than enough food to eat,
but here am I, dying from hunger.
I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him,
“Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
I no longer deserve to be called your son;
treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”‘
So he got up and went back to his father.
While he was still a long way off,
his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion.
He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.
His son said to him,
‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you;
I no longer deserve to be called your son.’
But his father ordered his servants,
‘Quickly, bring the finest robe and put it on him;
put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
Take the fattened calf and slaughter it.
Then let us celebrate with a feast,
because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again;
he was lost, and has been found.’
Then the celebration began.
Now the older son had been out in the field
and, on his way back, as he neared the house,
he heard the sound of music and dancing.
He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean.
The servant said to him,
‘Your brother has returned
and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf
because he has him back safe and sound.’
He became angry,
and when he refused to enter the house,
his father came out and pleaded with him.
He said to his father in reply,
‘Look, all these years I served you
and not once did I disobey your orders;
yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends.
But when your son returns
who swallowed up your property with prostitutes,
for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’
He said to him,
‘My son, you are here with me always;
everything I have is yours.
But now we must celebrate and rejoice,
because your brother was dead and has come to life again;
he was lost and has been found.'”

Second Question of the Day

Will you come in to the party?

Prayer

Eternal Father, I abandon myself to your will, which is love.

To become a “dust of love”

Ash Wednesday

Quote of the Day

Lent is a time for remembering.  It is the time to reflect and ask ourselves what we would be if God had closed his doors to us.  What would we be without his mercy that never tires of forgiving us and always gives us the chance to begin anew?  Lent is the time to ask ourselves where we would be without the help of so many people who in a thousand quiet ways have stretched out their hands and in very concrete ways given us hope and enabled us to make a new beginning.

Lent is the time to start breathing again.  It is the time to open our hearts to the breath of the One capable of turning our dust into humanity.  It is not the time to rend our garments before the evil all around us, but instead to make room in our life for all the good we are able to do.  It is a time to set aside everything that isolates us, encloses us and paralyzes us.  Lent is a time of compassion, when, with the Psalmist, we can say: “Restore to us the joy of your salvation, sustain in us a willing spirit”, so that by our lives we may declare your praise (cf. Ps 51:12.15), and our dust – by the power of your breath of life – may become a “dust of love”.

— Pope Francis, March 1, 2017, homily

Psalm of the Day: 103, verses 1–5, 10–14

Bless the LORD, my soul;
all my being, bless his holy name!
Bless the LORD, my soul;
and do not forget all his gifts,
Who pardons all your sins,
and heals all your ills,
Who redeems your life from the pit,
and crowns you with mercy and compassion,
Who fills your days with good things,
so your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

He has not dealt with us as our sins merit,
nor requited us as our wrongs deserve.
For as the heavens tower over the earth,
so his mercy towers over those who fear him.
As far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our sins from us.
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him.
For he knows how we are formed,
remembers that we are dust.

Delay not your conversion to the Lord

Feast of Saint Polycarp

Scriptures of the Day

Old Testament: Sirach 5:1–8

Rely not on your wealth;
say not: “I have the power.”
Rely not on your strength
in following the desires of your heart.
Say not: “Who can prevail against me?”
or, “Who will subdue me for my deeds?”
for God will surely exact the punishment.
Say not: “I have sinned, yet what has befallen me?”
for the Most High bides his time.
Of forgiveness be not overconfident,
adding sin upon sin.
Say not: “Great is his mercy;
my many sins he will forgive.”
For mercy and anger alike are with him;
upon the wicked alights his wrath.
Delay not your conversion to the LORD,
put it not off from day to day.
For suddenly his wrath flames forth;
at the time of vengeance you will be destroyed.
Rely not upon deceitful wealth,
for it will be no help on the day of wrath.

Psalm: 1

Blessed the man who follows not
the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the LORD
and meditates on his law day and night.
He is like a tree
planted near running water,
That yields its fruit in due season,
and whose leaves never fade.
Whatever he does, prospers.
Not so the wicked, not so;
they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
For the LORD watches over the way of the just,
but the way of the wicked vanishes.

Gospel: Mark 9:41–50 

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink
because you belong to Christ,
amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin,
it would be better for him if a great millstone
were put around his neck
and he were thrown into the sea.
If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off.
It is better for you to enter into life maimed
than with two hands to go into Gehenna,
into the unquenchable fire.
And if your foot causes you to sin, cut if off.
It is better for you to enter into life crippled
than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna.
And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.
Better for you to enter into the Kingdom of God with one eye
than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna,
where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.

“Everyone will be salted with fire.
Salt is good, but if salt becomes insipid,
with what will you restore its flavor?
Keep salt in yourselves and you will have peace with one another.”

Quotes of the Day

for Everlasting Love may still return
if hope reveals the slightest hint of green
— Dante, The Divine Comedy, Volume II: Purgatory, Canto III. verses 134–135

We are souls who met a violent death,
and we were sinners to our final hour;
but then the light of Heaven lit our minds,
and penitent and pardoning, we left
that life at peace with God, Who left our hearts
with longing for the holy sight of Him.
— Dante, The Divine Comedy, Volume II: Purgatory, Canto V. verses 52–57

Prayer of the Day: for Divine Mercy

O Greatly Merciful God, Infinite Goodness, today all mankind calls out from the abyss of its misery to Your mercy—to Your compassion, O God, and it is with its mighty voice of misery that it cries out. Gracious God, do not reject the prayer of this earth’s exiles! O Lord, Goodness beyond our understanding, who are acquainted with our misery through and through and know that by our own power we cannot ascend to You, we implore You, anticipate us with Your grace and keep on increasing Your mercy in us, that we may faithfully do Your Holy Will all through our life and at death’s hour. Let the omnipotence of Your mercy shield us from the darts of our salvation’s enemies, that we may with confidence, as Your children, await Your final coming—that day known to You alone. And we expect to obtain everything promised us by Jesus in spite of all our wretchedness. For Jesus is our Hope: Through His merciful Heart, as through an open gate, we pass through to heaven. (Diary of Saint Faustina, #1570) Amen.

Be made clean

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Day 2 Intercession

May each person suffering from the loss of a child through abortion
find hope & healing in Christ.

Quote of the Day

I would now like to say a special word to women who have had an abortion. The Church is aware of the many factors which may have influenced your decision, and she does not doubt that in many cases it was a painful and even shattering decision. The wound in your heart may not yet have healed. Certainly what happened was and remains terribly wrong. But do not give in to discouragement and do not lose hope. Try rather to understand what happened and face it honestly. If you have not already done so, give yourselves over with humility and trust to repentance. The Father of mercies is ready to give you his forgiveness and his peace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. To the same Father and his mercy you can with sure hope entrust your child. With the friendly and expert help and advice of other people, and as a result of your own painful experience, you can be among the most eloquent defenders of everyone’s right to life. Through your commitment to life, whether by accepting the birth of other children or by welcoming and caring for those most in need of someone to be close to them, you will become promoters of a new way of looking at human life.

— Pope John Paul II, The Gospel of Life #99

Questions of the Day

  • What do you want?
  • Where do you hurt?
  • Do you want to be healed?

Scriptures of the Day

From the Old Testament: Isaiah 8:239:3

First the Lord degraded the land of Zebulun
and the land of Naphtali;
but in the end he has glorified the seaward road,
the land west of the Jordan,
the District of the Gentiles.

Anguish has taken wing, dispelled is darkness:
for there is no gloom where but now there was distress.
The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom
a light has shone.
You have brought them abundant joy
and great rejoicing,
as they rejoice before you as at the harvest,
as people make merry when dividing spoils.
For the yoke that burdened them,
the pole on their shoulder,
and the rod of their taskmaster
you have smashed, as on the day of Midian.

From the Gospels

When Jesus came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him. And then a leper approached, did him homage, and said, “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.” He stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, “I will do it. Be made clean.” His leprosy was cleansed immediately. — Matthew 8:1–3

And as Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed [him], crying out, “Son of David, have pity on us!” When he entered the house, the blind men approached him and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I can do this?” “Yes, Lord,” they said to him. Then he touched their eyes and said, “Let it be done for you according to your faith.” And their eyes were opened. — Matthew 9:27–30

He was teaching in a synagogue on the sabbath. And a woman was there who for eighteen years had been crippled by a spirit; she was bent over, completely incapable of standing erect. When Jesus saw her, he called to her and said, “Woman, you are set free of your infirmity.” He laid his hands on her, and she at once stood up straight and glorified God. — Luke 13:10–13

Many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them, not even around the door, and he preached the word to them. They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above him. After they had broken through, they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Child, your sins are forgiven.”Mark 2:2–5

There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years. She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors and had spent all that she had. Yet she was not helped but only grew worse. She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak. She said, “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.” Immediately her flow of blood dried up. She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him, turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who has touched my clothes?” But his disciples said to him, “You see how the crowd is pressing upon you, and yet you ask, ‘Who touched me?’” And he looked around to see who had done it. The woman, realizing what had happened to her, approached in fear and trembling. She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”Mark 5:25–34

Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and made her stand in the middle. They said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” They said this to test him, so that they could have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger. But when they continued asking him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he bent down and wrote on the ground. And in response, they went away one by one, beginning with the elders. So he was left alone with the woman before him. Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She replied, “No one, sir.” Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, [and] from now on do not sin any more.”John 8:4–11

From the Psalms: Psalm 130

A song of ascents.

I
Out of the depths I call to you, LORD;
Lord, hear my cry!
May your ears be attentive
to my cry for mercy.
If you, LORD, keep account of sins,
Lord, who can stand?
But with you is forgiveness
and so you are revered.

II
I wait for the LORD,
my soul waits
and I hope for his word.
My soul looks for the Lord
more than sentinels for daybreak.
More than sentinels for daybreak,
let Israel hope in the LORD,
For with the LORD is mercy,
with him is plenteous redemption,
And he will redeem Israel
from all its sins.

Hymn of the Day
I heard the voice of Jesus say

Prayer of the Day

To Jesus the Healer

Lord Jesus, you opened the eyes of the blind, healed the sick, forgave the sinful woman, and after Peter’s denial confirmed him in your love. Listen to my prayer, forgive all my sins, renew your love in my heart, help me to live in perfect unity with my fellow Christians that I may proclaim your saving power to all the world. — New Saint Joseph’s Prayer Book #190

To Jesus, Friend of Sinners

Lord, Jesus, you choose to be called the friend of sinners. By your saving death and resurrection free me from my sins. May your peace take root in my heart and bring forth a harvest of love, holiness, and truth. — New Saint Joseph’s Prayer Book #191

Trust in God’s Mercy (USCCB)

Gracious Father,
I thank you for the mercy you have shown in forgiving my sins and for the peace that comes from being reconciled with you and with your Church.
O God, you are faithful, and you never abandon those who hope in you. I know that my redemption from sin and death has been purchased at the cost of your Son’s blood. In return for this priceless gift, I resolve today to renew my trust in your unfailing mercy.
In times of doubt, when painful memories of past sins threaten to destroy the peace you have given, let the power of your Holy Spirit cast out all self-condemnation and give me greater confidence in your word of pardon.
Teach me to encourage others so they, too, may seek your tender compassion and come to know your peace, which nothing can take away.
I pray this in the name of Jesus, your Son, in whom you have restored me to life. Amen.

Find Help and Hope Now

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The Love of the Lord

Feast of Saint Faustina
God’s Secretary and Apostle of Divine Mercy

Everlasting love, pure flame, burn in my heart ceaselessly and deify my whole being, according to Your infinite pleasure by which You summoned me into existence and called me to take part in Your everlasting happiness.

O merciful Lord, it is only out of mercy that You have lavished these gifts upon me. Seeing all these free gifts within me, with deep humility I worship Your incomprehensible goodness.

Lord, my heart is filled with amazement that You, absolute Lord, in need of no one, would nevertheless stoop so low out of pure love for us.

I can never help being amazed that the Lord would have such an intimate relationship with his creatures. That again is His unfathomable goodness. Every time I begin this meditation, I never finish it, because my spirit becomes entirely drowned in Him.

What a delight it is to love with all the force of one’s soul and to be loved even more in return, to feel and experience this with the full consciousness of one’s being.

There are no words to express this.

Diary of Saint Faustina: Divine Mercy in My Soul # 1523

Praise of Divine Majesty

Psalm of the Day: 145
Make known the glorious splendor of God’s kingdom

Praise. Of David.

I will extol you, my God and king;
I will bless your name forever and ever.
Every day I will bless you;
I will praise your name forever and ever.

Great is the LORD and worthy of much praise,
whose grandeur is beyond understanding.
Each generation praises your deeds to the next
and proclaims your mighty works.

They speak of the splendor of your majestic glory,
tell of your wonderful deeds.
They speak of the power of your awesome acts
and recount your great deeds.
They celebrate your abounding goodness
and joyfully sing of your justice.

The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and abounding in mercy.
The LORD is good to all,
compassionate toward all your works.

All your works give you thanks, LORD
and your faithful bless you.
They speak of the glory of your reign
and tell of your mighty works,

They make known to the sons of men your mighty acts,
the majestic glory of your rule.
Your reign is a reign for all ages,
your dominion for all generations.
The LORD is trustworthy in all his words,
and loving in all his works.
The LORD supports all who are falling
and raises up all who are bowed down.

The eyes of all look hopefully to you;
you give them their food in due season.
You open wide your hand
and satisfy the desire of every living thing.

The LORD is just in all his ways,
merciful in all his works.
The LORD is near to all who call upon him,
to all who call upon him in truth.
He fulfills the desire of those who fear him;
he hears their cry and saves them.
The LORD watches over all who love him,
but all the wicked he destroys.

My mouth will speak the praises of the LORD;
all flesh will bless his holy name forever and ever.

Every day Jesus

As I was cleaning up my living quarters, I paused a moment (or fifteen) to browse through an open notebook that had been sitting around for a while — to see what I might find, to see if there was anything relevant for today, for now, or something I could recycle.

I found and am recycling the following list:

  • Seek God in every “now.”
  • Bear a cross without grumbling.
  • Praise someone, support a food bank, donate clothing.
  • Broaden your circle.
  • Live simply and humbly.
  • Do something kind for a “least” one.
  • Ask God for something today, something deep.
  • Give someone another chance.
  • Beg God for courage to face fear.
  • Forgive someone who wronged you; Jesus shows you how.
  • Where are you on the ladder of love? Is it time to move up another rung?
  • What is God calling you to do?
  • Confess your collaboration in national sins.
  • Walk humbly with God.
  • Give someone a break today through a small act of kindness.
  • Thank God for the waters that nourish your faith: Eucharist, scripture, prayer, service, friends, nature, pets. Revel in one of them today. (Note: They forgot to mention the sacrament of reconciliation, so I’m adding it. If you have burdens you need lifted, give Jesus your sins. He can handle them!)
  • Be patient with all that is messy in life.
  • Overlook something today out of love and mercy.
  • Use fewer words. Shine the spotlight on another.
  • Change your plans when love intrudes.
  • Share your truth and love with another.
  • Who in your neighborhood, workplace, parish, or family are you missing out on?
  • Apologize to God or someone. Mend bridges.
  • Pass on your faith today; live joyfully.
  • Touch is a holy thing. Live your life more seamlessly.
  • Ask God for a genuine respect for Every One.
  • Ask Jesus to give you clearer sight.
  • Share readily; love alone endures.
  • Do something today that makes you happier, healthier, holier.
  • Use your hands to love someone.
  • Become more selfless.
  • Live your convictions, no matter what.
  • Overcome prejudice.
  • Pray the name of Jesus throughout the day.
  • Don’t throw any stones today (hateful words, gossip, hurtful criticism).
  • Gaze upon a crucifix today.
  • Jesus invites us to greater freedom. Accept his invitation. Love.
  • Practice good communication skills, really listen.
  • Cooperate with God’s grace today through some word or deed.
  • Work for a more just world — the kind Jesus lived and died for.
  • Perform a loving deed. Be extravagant!
  • “I love you and am so proud of you!”
  • Thank God for your loyal friends.
  • Allow knowledge of self — your capacity for evil — to keep you close to Jesus.
  • Love can get messy. Put on a spiritual or real apron, and serve someone today.
  • Jesus died for love of you and me. Embrace this way of loving, knowing it often involves a cross.
  • Celebrate!

The list sounded so Pope Francis, so Year of Mercy. Usually I note my source, but in this case I had not. Time to google. These nuggets came from a 2014 Catholic Update newsletter published for Lent and were accompanied by scripture references for meditation (which I did not write down).

Still relevant.

Return and live!

Scriptures of the Day

Today the Prophet Ezekiel tells us that we are not bound by our past. The Lord waits for us to turn to him, to come to him as little children, so He may give us the fullness of life.

Old Testament Reading: Ezekiel 18:1–10; 13b; 30–32

The word of the LORD came to me:
Son of man, what is the meaning of this proverb
that you recite in the land of Israel:

“Fathers have eaten green grapes,
thus their children’s teeth are on edge”?

As I live, says the Lord GOD:
I swear that there shall no longer be anyone among you
who will repeat this proverb in Israel.
For all lives are mine;
the life of the father is like the life of the son, both are mine;
only the one who sins shall die.

If a man is virtuous—if he does what is right and just,
if he does not eat on the mountains,
nor raise his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel;
if he does not defile his neighbor’s wife,
nor have relations with a woman in her menstrual period;
if he oppresses no one,
gives back the pledge received for a debt,
commits no robbery;
if he gives food to the hungry and clothes the naked;
if he does not lend at interest nor exact usury;
if he holds off from evildoing,
judges fairly between a man and his opponent;
if he lives by my statutes and is careful to observe my ordinances,
that man is virtuous—he shall surely live, says the Lord GOD.

But if he begets a son who is a thief, a murderer,
or lends at interest and exacts usury–
this son certainly shall not live.
Because he practiced all these abominations, he shall surely die;
his death shall be his own fault.

Therefore I will judge you, house of Israel,
each one according to his ways, says the Lord GOD.
Turn and be converted from all your crimes,
that they may be no cause of guilt for you.
Cast away from you all the crimes you have committed,
and make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit.
Why should you die, O house of Israel?
For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,
says the Lord GOD. Return and live!

What grieves Abba, our Eternal Father, even more than our transgressions — our falls, falling short of the measure of love — is the fear we experience after our fall, fear that prevents us from turning back to the one who can heal and restore us. Children, come! Turn to your Elder Brother, Jesus, who is ready to reconcile you with your Father.

Gospel Reading: Matthew 19:13–15

Children were brought to Jesus
that he might lay his hands on them and pray.
The disciples rebuked them, but Jesus said,
“Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them;
for the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
After he placed his hands on them, he went away.

 

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