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

Psalm 103: 1-4, 6-8, 11 (From Psalms for Praying © 2007 Nan C. Merrill)

The beloved is kind and merciful
towards those who are humble.
slow to anger, and rich in compassion.
Bless the Beloved, O my soul,
and all that is within me;
I bless your Holy Name!
Bless the Beloved, O my soul,
and remember the goodness of Love.
You forgive our stubbornness
You heal our disease,
You save us from the snares of fear.
You crown us with steadfast
Love and mercy.
The Beloved is kind and merciful,
toward those who are humble. 

Through You comes peace and
justice for all who are oppressed.
You make known the pathway of
truth, And guide us on the Way.
As far as the heavens are high above
the earth, so great is your loving response
towards those who are humble.

 

Reading

Matthew 18:21-22

Peter approached Jesus and asked him, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy times seven times.”

 
 

Reflection

The 18th century poet, Alexander Pope once wrote, “To err is human; to forgive divine.” This quote came to mind when I read this passage from Matthew which makes an important link between God forgiving us and our forgiving others. Peter asks how many times he should forgive another and offers what he regards as a very generous seven times; beyond what the cultural norms of his time would have suggested. Then Jesus multiplies that by seventy; in other words our readiness to forgive should be without limit. The reason is that is the way God acts towards us.

Likewise, all the world’s major religions teach us about the necessity of forgiveness; it has been only recently that the medical and scientific world has begun to delve into the importance of forgiveness for health and well-being. It is now widely recognized that unforgiveness, or holding on to past hurts and resentments, deeply affects our emotional and physical health. Jesus speaks to the necessity of forgiveness because he knows the effects unforgiveness has on individuals, communities and nations.

 

 

Reflection Questions

What about you… what needs to be forgiven in you?
What holds you back from forgiving?
Ask God to listen and to hold your past hurts and resentments and unforgiveness and ask God for healing and peace for you and our world ….

Who or what do you need to forgive?

 
 

Closing Prayer

The Christian must make peace even when feeling as the victim of one who has unjustly offended and struck. … In our times, forgiveness appears more and more as a necessary dimension for an authentic social renewal and for the strengthening of peace in the world.” John Paul II, 2001 Lenten Message