The Grace of Forgiveness

Authored by Dom Benedict Heron in Issue #30.1 of The Sower

I do not always find forgiving easy. Indeed, I sometimes find it a real struggle. Yet I know that if I am to follow the teaching and example of Jesus, I must forgive everything, always, and unconditionally. This is, of course, only possible through the grace of God.

Let us look at the teaching of Jesus and the New Testament. Jesus taught us to pray: ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors’ (Matthew 6:12). We are to forgive ‘seventy times seven’ (Matthew 18:22), which means we are to forgive indefinitely. And Jesus gave us the perfect example by forgiving those who put him to death: ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do’ (Luke 23:43).

There is also a beautiful passage in St. Paul: ‘As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.’(Colossians 3:12-13).

We are the first victims of our unforgiveness. When we do not forgive, or in so far as we do not forgive fully, we do not experience the peace and joy which Jesus wishes to give us. Moreover, unforgiveness, which is a spiritual sickness, can also affect our physical health. Statistics show us that during the eighteen months after the departure or death of a spouse, when there can be much unforgiveness, bitterness, resentment and anger, people are considerably more likely to get cancer than at other times.

The rest of this online article is available for current subscribers.

Start your subscription today!


This article is from The Sower and may be copied for catechetical purposes only. It may not be reprinted in another published work without the permission of Maryvale Institute. Contact sower@maryvale.ac.uk

Articles from the Most Recent Issue

Editor's Reflections: Adult Faith Formation and Culture Change
By Dr. James Pauley
Free This year marks the twentieth anniversary of one of the most important publications the U.S. Bishops have ever written: Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us . The ideals and principles expressed in this document are deeply convicting and can be summed up with these stirring words: “adult faith formation is essential to who we are and what we do as... Read more
From the Shepherds: Catechesis in the Light of the Papal Magisterium of Pope Francis Evangelii gaudium - An Access to the Church’s Mission
By Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst
Free Looking back on the past and on the development of the church since the Second Vatican Council, there are two well-known and profound documents, which have brought the biblical call for evangelization into our pastoral consciousness: Evangelii nuntiandi in 1974 and Evangelii gaudium in 2013. Both apostolic letters have reflected on the manner in... Read more
Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us: A Reflection on Discipleship
By Peter J. Murphy
Do you feel the Holy Spirit working? Do you sense that deeper calling, that desire for renewal, that burning within your heart? Yes, it is the same burning that the disciples on the road to Emmaus felt as their Lord and Savior journeyed with them. Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us was written twenty years ago as a prophetic and challenging... Read more

Pages

Watch Tutorial Videos

We've put together several quick and easy tutorial videos to show you how to use this website.

Watch Now