Monday, April 18, 2011

Forgiveness And Suffering: The Conjoined Twins

Ecce Homo (detail) 1526 Oil on wood, by Quentin Massys in the Palazzo Ducale, Venice.


Forgiveness is the offering of unconditional mercy to someone who deserves it the least!

It may be, that the toughest task confronting a human being is the obligation to forgive.
Each of us is obligated to forgive:  Even in the face of cruelty and betrayal.

Our Lord Jesus commands us to forgive – forgive 70 times 7 times, if necessary.
  • Forgiveness is the indispensable obligation of a Christian.  
  • Forgiveness must be the fundamental attitude of a Christian.  
  • Forgiveness is the offering of unconditional mercy to someone who deserves it the least!
Our Crucified Lord Jesus taught us that our being forgiven by God Our Father
hinges upon our willingness to forgive others.

Our Crucified Lord Jesus taught us to pray,
  “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”  
To re-phrase this:
  Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive: meaning, in the same manner as we forgive,
  and with the same attitude we hold about forgiving those who trespass against us.

The heart of forgiveness is sacrifice – the sacrifice that our Lord Jesus offered at the Last Supper, and still offers every day during the celebration of Holy Mass and the Holy Eucharist:
“This is the cup of my Blood ... 
It will be shed for YOU so that SINS may be FORGIVEN.  DO THIS in memory of me.”

We should not be surprised then, that forgiveness causes us suffering.
By God’s plan of Redemption, all authentic forgiveness participates in the Passion of Christ.
To forgive us, God’s Son had to suffer and sacrifice Himself.

For this reason, the first sacrifice that Christ-like forgiveness asks us to make is to renounce all the resentments and grudges that dominate our lives.  Because, to forgive in the way Christ does requires us to offer unconditional mercy to someone who deserves it the least!  Our Lord Jesus did this -- even from His Cross of suffering and humiliation: “Father, forgive them; they know not what they do.”
It is precisely through the suffering of Our Lord Jesus that we are forgiven.

Therefore, you and I will cherish forgiveness only by embracing the Cross of Christ -- by embracing His sufferings and our own sufferings caused by others.

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