Tuesday, March 12, 2013

70 x 7

 This is a blog about a subject that I have been pondering for a long time.  It is about the subject of forgiveness.  We all easily honor the two great commandments to honor God fully and to love our neighbor as ourselves.  But, we all have a great deal of difficulty in dealing with the corollary to the second commandment regarding our neighbors - and that is forgiving them.

I thought it was time for me to finally attempt to deal with this subject in light of the gospel readings of this past Sunday dealing with reconciliation.  We are taught about God’s Divine Mercy and we  go to confession to reconcile with Him in order to receive that divine mercy but how good are we at our human mercy and forgiveness of others?
One of my favorite saints is Saint Peter because he is so real and human in his mistakes along his own personal journey with Jesus. Yet, Jesus always forgave him and reconciled with him to the extent that He built His Church upon his leadership.  Peter asks Jesus, “‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?’  Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.’” Matthew 18:21.

Wow, that is a staggering amount of forgiveness - nearly 500 times! Like the vastness of the size of the universe, this is very difficult to comprehend and very difficult to accomplish.  Yet, in perspective, we sin against God by breaking His Commandments and we take for granted His forgiveness, mercy and reconciliation with us so we can enjoy the reward of heaven in our afterlife.  And, He expects no less from us towards each other as He rightly would of the progeny of His creation.

So, we hear expressions such as “I will forgive but never forget.”  We get angry and hold grudges against those who have those who have intentionally or unintentionally done something we think is against us.  Or, we take umbrage and hold resentments against others for slighting us or for not giving us our “due” respect and honor.  Or, perhaps, we resent people who just do not like us for no apparent reason.  Or, we get very upset because a the driver of a car cuts us off or we make a driving error and receive an Italian salute.   Any or all of these “transgressions” call for us to forgive the other not just once or even seven times but seventy times seven.  This seems an ominous and impossible task and, also, it seems beyond our human ability to accomplish.  However, Jesus does not think so nor is it a suggestion from Him.  He tells us straightforward that this is what we must do.
What if we refuse or cannot?  Then it will constitute a big block to receiving God’s graces in our life and make it impossible for Him to grant us His divine mercy.  Forgiving perceived transgressors during Lent and beyond is much more important than giving up chocolate, desserts or whatever.  We must do it regularly so it becomes part of who we are as Christians.

Pray for me in my quest to succeed in forgiving and I will pray for your success.

Now, you know what I think and I would very much like to know what you think about this subject.   

Let the light of our Lord shine upon you!

Ray Makowski, Co-Founder, Director and Secretary-Treasurer

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