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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Daily Reflections - March 13, 2012


To Forgive — and TO be Forgiven
 
Daily we pray in the Our Father, “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.” This makes the gift of God’s forgiveness of our sins dependent on our forgiving others. Yet we find it so difficult to forgive. I know an Indonesian nun who once confided to a group, “I haven’t been able to pray the Our Father for the past 15 years now because my father wronged me terribly when I was young and I cannot forgive him.”
This nun understood perfectly what the Our Father is all about. She understood that the Lord’s Prayer is a dangerous prayer that sets conditions. And she took that prayer seriously. It is nice to be forgiven — but to forgive?
On October 2, 2006, a lone gunman entered an Amish schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania, and shot 10 Amish girls aged six to 13. Charles Roberts shot the girls and then turned the gun on himself. Five of the girls died and the other five were seriously injured.
Shocking! But then an even greater shock came. The Amish community, including the families of the dead and wounded children, forgave Roberts. They visited his wife, Marie, and offered their condolences to her and the couple’s three children.
Film producer Larry Thompson reacted by saying, “When I heard what happened in the Amish community that day and how the people forgave Charles Roberts, I remembered how I always prayed, ‘Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.’ I could talk the talk but the Amish people in Nickel Mines walked the walk of forgiveness.”
This Christian sect took the words of Jesus seriously because they knew there is no way to go around Jesus’ words and example. They knew that we will only be forgiven if we forgive, as Jesus once said, “Forgive and you will be forgiven,” which is stressed in the parable we have read today. Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD
 
REFLECTION QUESTIONS: Do you find it difficult to forgive? What could be the reason?
 
Lord, grant me the courage to take the giant step of forgiveness. Teach me that however painful forgiveness may be, it is infinitely better than refusing to forgive.

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