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The Holiness of Forgiveness
(c) Mary TV/ Mateo Ivankovic 2016

 


January 28, 2020
St. Thomas Aquinas, Priest, Doctor of the Church

Dear Family of Mary!

“Dear children! Today I am calling you to pray even more, until you feel the holiness of forgiveness in your heart. There must be holiness in the families, little children, because there is no future for the world without love and holiness – because in holiness and joy, you give yourselves to God the Creator who loves you with immeasurable love. This is why He sends me to you. Thank you for having responded to my call.” (January 25, 2020)

“Today I am calling you to pray even more, until you feel the holiness of forgiveness in your heart….”

Our Lady calls us to “pray even more” so that we will begin to feel “the holiness of forgiveness” in our hearts. I have been asking myself what this holiness of forgiveness might be. (Obviously I am not praying enough yet!)

We know that Jesus was very focused on forgiveness during his public ministry. Jesus was all about forgiveness. When Jesus was healing people, He was forgiving their sins at the same time. When Jesus taught, He taught about the necessity of forgiving others, and the need we have to be forgiven. Jesus came to forgive all of us, because we are all sinners. All of us. Jesus is forgiveness itself.

So, the holiness of forgiveness must have to do with how close we are getting to Jesus. The closer we come to Jesus, the more we will become forgiven and learn to forgive. Forgiveness will pulse through our veins and live in our hearts. We will be forgivers, like our Lord.

In St. Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus teaches this parable about forgiveness:

Mt 18: 21-35

Then Peter came up and said to him, “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.

“Therefore, the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began the reckoning, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents; and as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made.

So, the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, `Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him the lord of that servant released him and forgave him the debt.

But that same servant, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat he said, `Pay what you owe.’ So, his fellow servant fell down and besought him, `Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ He refused and went and put him in prison till he should pay the debt.   

When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. Then his lord summoned him and said to him, `You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you besought me; and should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his lord delivered him to the jailers, till he should pay all his debt.

So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.” (Mt 18: 21-35)
 
Obviously, the wicked servant saw forgiveness as a one-way street. Forgiveness flowed his way but did not flow through him to others. It is impossible to forgive if one is self-centered and grasping. Forgiveness comes from a heart that is humble and giving, a heart that does not build its own kingdom, but instead is open to helping others, to building community and love.

We will feel the holiness of forgiveness to the extent that we pray and pray and pray. The closer to Jesus we become, the more we will understand that our kingdom is in heaven, and there is no need to grasp for ourselves here on earth. Jesus is forgiveness and we must be as well.

There is so much more to say about forgiveness. What a blessed word it is! What a blessed gift it is!! What a blessed relief it is for our sin-sick souls. The holiness of forgiveness!
 
In Jesus, Mary and Joseph!
Cathy Nolan
©Mary TV 2020