I think I will end my quotes from Chapter 6 with this one and move on in Sister Lucia’s “Calls” From the Message of Fatima or I’ll not complete the book before the end of the year…I’ll be typing every word! Honestly it is hard to choose since all her words are part of a beautiful whole. Nevertheless, Sister Lucia’s words I’ve chosen to quote today are these:
But if we are to hear this Voice and understand it our spirit must not be “hardened” and the Evangelist tells us that the hearts of the disciples were hardened which is why they did not understand the words of Jesus.
This quote is a good preparation for the next chapter in Sr. Lucia’s book: Chap. 7 - The Call to Forgiveness. May the Lord grant us all the graces we need to open our hearts to Him and allow Him to soften them and help us to pray the words He taught us to pray: “Our Father Who art in heaven…forgive us as we forgive those who trespass against us…” Let us not harden our hearts against anyone or anything that can keep us from hearing His Voice.
I’ve been so blessed in re-reading this last book of Sister Lucia of Fatima. It has given me far more insights into the Our Lady’s role in God’s Plan as well as our own “calls” as members of the Body of Christ. How Good and how Patient God is! This is the 100th Anniversary of Our Lady’s Apparitions at Fatima, yet I wonder how many – especially those of the younger generations – know anything about them. Devotion to Our Lady has declined in so many places.
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your Faithful; kindle in us the Fire of Your Love.
Mary, Mother of the Church, Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.
Jesus, I trust in You!
The beginning of a Christian’s fall
often begins with a failure to FOR-
GIVE, it hardens your heart to hear
Jesus’, the Shepherd’s voice!!
“For the sake of His Sorrowful Passion,
have mercy on us and on the whole
Yes, when we pray as Jesus taught us: “Our Father…forgive us as we forgive those who trespass against us”…we need to mean what we pray. We simply MUST forgive or we will not be forgiven, that is what we are asking in the Lord’s Prayer!
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:
V. "And Forgive Us Our Trespasses, as We Forgive Those Who Trespass AGAINST US"
2838 This petition is astonishing. If it consisted only of the first phrase, “and forgive us our trespasses,” it might have been included, implicitly, in the first three petitions of the Lord’s Prayer, since Christ’s sacrifice is “that sins may be forgiven.” But, according to the second phrase, our petition will not be heard unless we have first met a strict requirement. Our petition looks to the future, but our response must come first, for the two parts are joined by the single word “as.”
and forgive us our trespasses . . .
2839 With bold confidence, we began praying to our Father. In begging him that his name be hallowed, we were in fact asking him that we ourselves might be always made more holy. But though we are clothed with the baptismal garment, we do not cease to sin, to turn away from God. Now, in this new petition, we return to him like the prodigal son and, like the tax collector, recognize that we are sinners before him. Our petition begins with a “confession” of our wretchedness and his mercy. Our hope is firm because, in his Son, "we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."We find the efficacious and undoubted sign of his forgiveness in the sacraments of his Church.
2840 Now - and this is daunting - this outpouring of mercy cannot penetrate our hearts as long as we have not forgiven those who have trespassed against us. Love, like the Body of Christ, is indivisible; we cannot love the God we cannot see if we do not love the brother or sister we do see. In refusing to forgive our brothers and sisters, our hearts are closed and their hardness makes them impervious to the Father’s merciful love; but in confessing our sins, our hearts are opened to his grace.
2841 This petition is so important that it is the only one to which the Lord returns and which he develops explicitly in the Sermon on the Mount. This crucial requirement of the covenant mystery is impossible for man. But “with God all things are possible.”
. . . as we forgive those who trespass against us
Yes, dear Brother Pat, Thanks for your reply. The Catechism reminds us in CCC - 3839 :
… we return to Him like the prodigal son and, like the tax collector, recognize that we are sinners before Him. Our petition begins with a “confession” of our wretchedness and His mercy. Our hope is firm because, in His Son, "we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."We find the efficacious and undoubted sign of his forgiveness in the sacraments of his Church.
Looking at Jesus Crucified on Calvary, and seeing Mother Mary there, we find the perfect examples for forgiving those who trespass against us. We can have hope, despite our own sins, because in Jesus we have been forgiven. He has pleaded for all of us: “Father forgive them…” and Mary hearing His Words, united herself with Him anew.
Only by God’s Grace coming through Mary, as the Church teaches, can we forgive. It is God’s Life and Love in us which enables us to forgive, and to love as He loves. Mary is the icon of the Church.
I do not find that expression “forgive yourself” in the Gospels or anywhere in the Sacred Scripture. I think it may have been stated by somone who wanted to help anyone having difficulty with guilt. It is God’s forgiveness we need to seek humbly. We also need to seek forgiveness of those whom we have offended when possible, in order to repay damages or seek reconciliation as part of true repentance.
There can be such a thing as “good guilt” or “bad guilt”. When Jesus began His Ministry, He preached “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.” It takes a humble heart to admit sin, repent, and ask God’s forgiveness. To feel guilt when we have done wrong is an example of “good guilt”, but to become scrupulous to the extreme of seeing sin in everything would be an example of “bad guilt” and a good spiritual director may be needed to help a person burdened with scrupulosity.
Sometimes it is a hard heart that will not forgive others. That same kind of a hard heart often overlooks his own sins while condemning others. Mary’s heart softens hard hearts because if we do as Jesus said, “Behold your Mother” we see her forgiving with Jesus all the evil that was done on Calvary. We need to give ourselves completely to Jesus through Mary and trust Him to forgive sins. When we hear the beautiful words of Absolution by the priest in confession, we hear Christ saying: “I absolve you”. As Catholics, we believe in the forgiveness of sins by Christ in that sacrament of His Church.
We also need to keep trusting in the intercession of our Mother: “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen” You are wise to keep praying for more grace to trust Jesus more, and believe more fully in His Love for us.
I agree that we must seek God’s forgiveness and forgive others. I think the Bible and the Catechism refer to loving oneself. I think that forgiving oneself is part of that. It means trying to let go of guilt and shame and fear regarding sins that have been forgiven. This is especially important for those that are unaffirmed, have anxiety disorders, or depression. Forgiving ourselves–that is, choosing to receive God’s Mercy–helps us to forgive others, with Mary’s help…
The Lord tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves (Lev. 19:18; Mark 12:31 and Mt. 22:39). Jesus enlarges on that in his Sermon on the Mount (Mt 712) that we do nothing to another we would not do to ourselves. Fianlly he tlls us “Love one another as I have loved you”. H willingly emptied Himself for us. “To choose to receive God’s Mercy” is not the same as “forgiving ourselves”.
No where is Scripture is any one except ordained Catholic priests given the power of God to forgive sins, and this power is given by Jesus Himself in the Gospel when he told his first priests: Receive the Holy Spirit, whose sins you forgive they are forgiven them and whose sins you retain they are retained. (Jn 20:23).
The Sacrament of Confession is given to us that we may encounter Christ and receive from Him the forgiveness we need. God knows our need for this Sacrament. In this Sacrament we have the assurance of God that we are forgiven when the priests says, “I absolve you” it is Christ who speaks. In Faith we receive God’s Mercy.
Of course God knows the individual heart and He knows when we are truly repenting of our sins and He forgives us, but He knows also we need to humble ourselves and confess our sins to the priest who has been given God’s authority to forgive. We need to hear Him say “I forgive you”. God knows how easily people can talk themselves into anything, how our own hearts can condemn us – He does not leave us to decide for ourselves but gives us His Love and His Forgivenss. Hope that helps, Pat.