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The Lord’s Prayer

Those who have received much must learn to give much.

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If you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins”. (Matthew 6:14 – 15)

In his catechesis on the “Our Father”, Pope Francis reflected on the fifth request of the “Lord’s Prayer”, by focusing on the expression “as we forgive those who trespass against us”.  He said: “The Gospel of Matthew, immediately after having given the text of the “Our Father”, of the seven expressions used, pauses to emphasize precisely that of fraternal forgiveness”.

On April 24, 2019, at the Wednesday General Audience, the Pope urged the faithful to forgive each other, recalling that Jesus includes the power of forgiveness in human relationship, as God forgives each of us ...

When Jesus describes the face of God to his disciples, He outlines it with expressions of tender mercy. God forgives everything and forgives always the sins of those who are well disposed and ask to be embraced again… Forgiveness, which we too must be able to give to others, is the most precious thing we have received. Those who have received much must learn to give much, and not to keep only for themselves what they have received. We are all debtors to God, and to all those people who have given us favourable living conditions.

In the Church there is no ‘self-made man’, men who have created themselves. Our identity is built first and foremost with the good received. The first is life. Our life has not only been wanted, but has been loved by God

God loves us infinitely more than we love Him. As much as we try to live according to Christian Teaching, in our life there will always be something for which to ask forgiveness. Let us think about days spent lazily, about moments in which rancour has filled our heart, and so on.

As much as we may strive, there is always an inexhaustible debt to God. We have received everything from Him, in terms of nature and grace.

“Lord, Father, forgive us our debts” . So, let us ask God for forgiveness. Let us ask the Lord to forgive our debts, our sins, ‘as’ we forgive those who have done something bad to us. Often our complaint is precisely our inability to forgive others. 

 “Father, I cannot do it, because those people treated me so harshly”.  Pope Francis continued:  “But if you cannot do it, ask the Lord to give you the strength to do so: Lord, help me to forgive”. Here again, we find the connection between love of God and love of neighbour. Love attracts love; forgiveness attracts forgiveness…If you do not forgive, God will not forgive you.

Pope Francis concluded his catechesis with the parable in the Gospel of Matthew, dedicated to fraternal forgiveness (cf. 18:21-35). There was a servant who had contracted an enormous debt with his king. 10,000 talents! An impossible amount to repay. A miracle happened, and that servant received not a deferred payment but full commutation. An un-hoped for grace! But, immediately thereafter, that servant got angry with a fellow servant who owed him something minor — and, although this is an attainable sum, he would not accept excuses or pleas. Therefore, in the end, the master called for him and had him condemned.

In life not everything is resolved with justice. No. Especially where one must put a stop to evil, someone must love beyond what is due, in order to recommence a relationship of grace…

God gives every Christian the grace to write a story of good in the life of his or her brothers and sisters, especially of those who have done something regrettable or wrong. With a word, an embrace, a smile, we can pass on to others the most precious thing we have received. What is the most precious thing we have received? Forgiveness, which we too must be able to give to others. (General Audience April 24, 2019)

“I felt the pain for having offended Him,..  I had such a vivid clarity, being in front of that Divine Sun; especially, I could see the smallness, the nonentity of my being, and I was stunned at how I could have such cheek - where had I taken that boldness to offend a God so good, who, in the very act in which I was offending Him, assisted me, preserved me, nourished me; and if He had any rancor with me, it was for the sin I committed, which He greatly hated, while He loved me immensely, He excused me before Divine Justice, and was all occupied with removing that wall of division, which sin had produced between the soul and God. Oh! if all could see who God is, and who the soul is in the act of sinning, all would die of sorrow, and I believe that sin would be exiled from the earth.”(Luisa - Volume I)


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