Through Lent with Pope Francis
When we have been offended or let down, forgiveness is possible and desirable, but no one can say that it is easy. There is no family that does not know selfishness, discord, tension and conflict.Amoris Laetitia 107-8
Today we recognise that being able to forgive others implies the liberating experience of understanding and forgiving ourselves.
Often our mistakes, or criticism we have received from loved ones, can lead to a loss of self-esteem. We become distant from others, avoiding affection and fearful in our interpersonal relationships. Blaming others becomes falsely reassuring.
We need to learn to pray over our past history, to accept ourselves, to learn how to live with our limitations, and even to forgive ourselves, in order to have this same attitude towards others.
All this assumes that we ourselves have had the experience of being forgiven by God. We have known a love that is prior to any of our own efforts, a love that constantly opens doors, promotes and encourages.
Prodigal Son – elder son
Luke 15:20-32 (NCB)
“So the younger son set out for his father’s house. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion. He ran to him, threw his arms around him, and kissed him.
Then the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quickly bring out the finest robe we have and put it on him. Place a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Then bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us celebrate with a feast. For this son of mine was dead and has come back to life. He was lost, and now he has been found.’ And they began to celebrate.
“Now the elder son had been out in the fields, and as he returned and drew near the house, he could hear the sounds of music and dancing. He summoned one of the servants and inquired what all this meant. The servant replied, ‘Your brother has come home, and your father has killed the fatted calf because he has him back safe and sound.’
The elder son then became angry and refused to go in.
His father came out and began to plead with him, but he said to his father in reply, ‘All these years I have worked like a slave for you, and I never once disobeyed your orders. Even so, you have never even given me a young goat so that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours returns after wasting his inheritance from you on prostitutes, you kill the fatted calf for him.’
“Then the father said to him, ‘Son, you are with me always, and everything I have is yours. But it was only right that we should celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and now he has been found.’ ”
Thought for Today
Is there anyone in my life I need to forgive?
Do I need forgiveness from anyone else? Have I asked for forgiveness?
Song of the Prodigal – written and sung by Jo Boyce