Even in LOVE will sometimes come disagreement, anger, and hurt. Now what do we do? Especially in this YEAR OF MERCY how do we follow the Will of God?
Our Father, Who art in heaven Hallowed be Thy Name;
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.
Trespasses: “To pass over, to go beyond one’s right in place or act; to injure another; to do that which annoys or inconveniences another; any violation of law, civil or moral; it may relate to a person, a community, or the state, or to offenses against God. “
Maybe I never thought about this before, but when I pray the words “….Forgive us our trespasses….” I’m asking God to forgive me. I’m not asking the person I offended to forgive me. Is it not important to seek forgiveness from the person I offended? Well, of course it is very important to ask the offended party’s forgiveness, but the saving of my soul does not depend on actions where I have no control. Therefore, the offended party may have temporary control of my feelings of guilt and remorse, but no control over the health of my soul. This seemingly paradoxical statement is emotionally confounding.
When I sin, it is necessary for me to confess my sin to God. As a Catholic, I do this through the Sacrament of Confession. A good Confession will include my true remorse for my sin. I must be sincere in my resolve to “Amend my life” so as to avoid this sin in the future. I must make amends by repairing (or truly trying to repair) the damage I caused. Asking the offended party’s forgiveness is a most important element in the making of amends. However in the GOOD Confession, God has forgiven me and my soul is repaired and cleansed. It is sad and sometimes even tragic when forgiveness from the offended person is not received. At this point all I can do – all I should do – is pray that this person will find graces to forgive. This equation is valid for any trespass – big or small.
The other important element in FORGIVENESS is written “ …As we forgive those who trespass against us…“. This aspect is the primary element to forgiveness where the whole is truly greater [other] than the sum of its parts. God demands that I forgive others. My forgiving those that trespass against me is necessary for me to be in the right mindset to ask God’s forgiveness and to be able to forgive myself. In the discipline of forgiveness, there is no place for a cold heart.
By practicing forgiveness I should be able to anticipate my task of forgiving to become easier – as a good habit always does. Being in the habit of easily forgiving will make me more sensitive to my offensive behaviors or trespasses. This makes it more likely that I’ll be “Delivered from evil” – AVOIDING TEMPTATION. As people see me Witness by forgiving, I am making it easier for them to forgive me my trespasses and maybe making it easier for them to forgive others also.
Much good comes from a small forgiveness. The whole of our interactions with others is always greater than the sum of its parts. This synergism is more experience and Faith than logic or science. We need faith. We need to forgive one another.