Our Lord tells us to pray like this: (The Lords prayer) …
“Yes (he says), if you forgive others their failings, your heavenly Father will forgive you yours; but if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive your fails either.”
Saint Francis meditation on the Our Father is a good way for us to enter into these words of “Being”. Making the words a living Word in our lives as Christians and as Franciscans.
7. Forgive us our trespasses: (St. Francis wrote)
Through Your ineffable mercy
Through the power of the passion of Your beloved Son
And through the merits and intercession
Of the ever blessed Virgin and Your elect.
Or as the priest says at mass “Don’t look on our sins but on the faith of your church”
Entering into The Passion and wounds of our Lord, we then must say to yourselves;
Here I am self,
Here I am brother/sister,
Here I am Lord,
8. As we forgive those who trespass against us: (St. Francis wrote)
And what we do not completely forgive,
Make us, Lord, forgive completely
That we may truly love our enemies because of You
And we may fervently intercede for them before You,
Returning no one evil for evil
And we may strive to help everyone in You.
So how do we put these words of St. Francis into action…
1. Ask for the grace to forgive
2. Be thankful for those who have hurt you
3. lovingly except them as they are, as Jesus would
4. pray for your enemies
5. be kind and charitable
Keep in mind the words “in You” I believe this gets to what it truly comes down to. Would you treat Jesus like this? If we know Jesus then we know the Father. When the Son of man died for our sins and hung on a tree He portioned the Father to forgive us with his “ineffable mercy” as St. Francis puts it. So why do we hold on to feelings of bitterness and resentment? When we are guilty of wrongdoing and fear separation from God and want to be forgiven for our sins don’t we look to the sacrament of reconciliation that is if our pride does get in the way. God waits there for us ready to pour out his mercy. Do we get excited about forgiving others?
St. Anthony whose feast day is today said this when preaching to his brothers:
O House of God! O Gate of Heaven! O confession of sins! Blessed is He who humiliates himself in you! My dearest brothers, humble yourselves and enter through the door of confession!
Both Francis and Anthony used the words “in you” because once we become like Jesus we do not act on our own. We move to being free of our selves and our own wants and we let “Thy will be done.” It’s like making an offering of self, freeing us from the illusion of power, which we attach ourselves too. True power is that of forgiveness the key to the House of God, the Gate of Heaven, and the door of confession.
May the Lord give us all pardon and peace, as we would give others that same love.
A talk on Forgiveness June 13 2010 given to The Saint Paschal Baylon Fraternity, Secular Franciscans on Mission Hill- Boston