Today I’m thinking about forgiveness. In the prayer that Our Lord gave us, he suggests that we ask God the Father to “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Have you ever really contemplated these words? We are to not only ask God to forgive us, but we ask him to forgive us in the same way that we forgive someone else. We must practice forgiveness toward others to the same degree that we want God to forgive US.
When was the last time someone wronged you. When was the last time someone lied to someone else about you, did or said something just to intentionally hurt your feelings, or perhaps even physically harmed you to satisfy his/her own foolish pleasure. Perhaps it damaged your reputation, or damaged your pride, or harmed you physically or emotionally to the point where you never fully recovered? If you seek out this person and express your forgiveness to him or her, then you are forgiving those who trespass against you. Now imagine God forgiving you in the same way for the times you have offended HIM in an equally serious way, such as when you commit serious sin. Powerful!
Probably the most famous example in the history of the Catholic Church is the example of St. Maria Goretti, a young Italian girl who lived her short life in the 1890s. When she was 12 years old, an acquaintance of hers made sexual advances to her. When she refused him, he stabbed her fourteen times. She forgave him before she died, and it had such a powerful effect on the young man that he converted to the Catholic Church and became a lay brother in a monastery while she became a canonized saint in the Church. Her feast day was earlier this month, July 6.