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Tuesday, March 28, 2000

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Daniel 3:25, 34-43
Psalm 25
Matthew 18:21-35

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how to want to forgive

"My heavenly Father will treat you in exactly the same way unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart." —Matthew 18:35

"To err is human, to forgive divine." This saying of Alexander Pope expresses the heart of the Gospel. We must forgive, but only God has the power to forgive. Therefore, we are desperately in need of God's grace to forgive.

The Lord often gives us the grace to forgive others by reminding us of how much He has forgiven us. The Lord continues to say to each of us: "I canceled your entire debt when you pleaded with Me. Should you not have dealt mercifully with your fellow servant, as I dealt with you?" (Mt 18:32-33) Pope John Paul II has taught: "God's forgiveness becomes in our hearts an inexhaustible source of forgiveness" (Message for the World Day of Peace, Jan. 1, 1997).

Look at a crucifix. See the love, pain, blood, and death of Jesus. Look at what Jesus did in our place. "He was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins, upon Him was the chastisement that makes us whole, by His stripes we were healed. We had all gone astray like sheep, each following his own way; but the Lord laid upon Him the guilt of us all" (Is 53:5-6).

We love and express love by forgiving others because Jesus first loved us (see 1 Jn 4:19). Accept the grace to forgive by recalling how much you have been loved and forgiven.

Prayer:  Father, by Your grace I decide to forgive everyone for every sin committed against me.

Promise:  "With contrite heart and humble spirit let us be received." —Dn 3:39

Praise:  Sally was only able to forgive a friend when she reached out to that friend by giving her a gift and kind words as commanded by God's Word in the parable of the Prodigal Son.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, July 28, 1999

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 3, 1999