Welcoming the Holy

Here we invite you to take time for yourself in personal prayer. The following spiritual reflection offers words and images which we hope will evoke for you an experience of God.


 

Opening Prayer 

Loving God, so full of mercy and constant forgiveness, turn our hearts with your gentle strength. Allow us to realize our own weaknesses and thereby be quicker to forgive and understand when others hurt us. May we live with compassion and an abundance of love. Amen. 

 

Reading

Matthew 18:21-23
Peter approached Jesus and asked him, "Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive? As many as seven times." 
 

Reflection

Life is good. God blesses each of us in countless ways.; Yet, the truth is that we are human and relationships can often be challenging. Because we find it difficult to believe that God loves us unconditionally, our self-esteem is easily shaken. We so often feel hurt by others, offended, feeling we have been treated unfairly, misjudged, or misunderstood. It can be hard for us to let things go to forgive and move forward.
Far less often do we realize our need to be forgiven we are oblivious to the ways our words and deeds have hurt others. Sometimes it is something we have said or done, sometimes it is what we have not said, or what we have failed to do. We easily excuse ourselves - "I was just tired. She deserved it." There is a natural tendency to avoid reflecting on our own weaknesses. 
In the Our Father we pray, "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." 
 

As I prayed with the Gospel for today, I was reminded of a true story that happened in October 2006. It was widely covered on TV and in newspapers. AAA man  named Charles Roberts was a driver who transported milk for Amish farmers. One day he stormed a one-room schoolhouse and shot ten young girls (five died)and then he killed himself. The Amish, whose religious beliefs include nonviolence, were shocked and they grieved for their daughters, the neighbors, their community. Many of those Amish people, including the parents who had just buried their daughters the day before, attended the burial service at the cemetery for the killer. They hugged his widow and other members of the killer's family.  They publicly stated that they forgave the killer. In the year following the murders of the girls, that Amish community even sent money to the killer's widow and three young children. That is what real forgiveness looks like!
Whom do we need to forgive? What are we waiting for? God shows us unlimited mercy, and is always quick to forgive us, continuing to bless us! Can we do the same for others - be merciful, forgive, and bless them? As Father Michael Casey wrote. "If we have the magnanimity to forgive and not to allow the injuries done to us to define our lives, then there will be peace within us, peace with our neighbor, and ultimately peace with God."  

 

Closing Prayer 

God of tenderness and mercy, may we be slow to take offense, quick to forgive and peaceful in our living.  Amen 

 

Sisters of Saint Joseph of Rochester

Sisters of Saint Joseph of
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