“My heavenly Father will treat you in exactly the same way unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart.” —Matthew 18:35
Jesus not only told Peter to forgive 70x7 times, but also implied that we would need to forgive more (Mt 18:22). Usually we don’t get hurt 70x7 times because we don’t let others have that many shots at us. After a few hurts, we, like turtles, put our heads back in our shells to prevent any additional wounding.
When Jesus calls us to forgive 70x7 times, He calls us to expose ourselves to repeated hurts. “When a person strikes you on the right cheek, turn and offer him the other” (Mt 5:39). He is not calling us to be masochistic, just to love as He loves, to love even enemies. God was and is hurt and insulted 70x7 x 70x7 times.
If we were God, we would just withdraw from the ungrateful rebellion of our planet and leave it doomed. Yet God does just the opposite. After His covenant is spurned and His prophets murdered, He sends His Son to save us and thereby exposes Himself to even greater hurt and insult (Mt 21:33-39).
By God’s grace, let’s forgive one another, not only to stop hurt but to absorb future hurts. Some forgivenesses prepare us to be hurt again and forgive again. The hurts go on and we forgive them as fast as they come. A more faithful translation of Jesus’ words on the cross is, “Jesus kept saying: ‘Father, forgive them’ ” (see Lk 23:34).
Prayer: Father, by Your grace, may I forgive as fast and as often as I am hurt.
Promise: “Moved with pity, the master let the official go and wrote off the debt.” —Mt 18:27
Praise: At the age of fifteen, St. Clare was moved by the preaching of St. Francis of Assisi and left her father’s home to follow Francis. He became her lifelong friend and spiritual guide. Others came to follow her and they became the “Poor Clares,” living lives of prayer and austerity.
Rescript: "In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant the Nihil Obstat for the publication One Bread, One Body covering the time period from August 1, 2022 through September 30, 2022. Reverend Steve J. Angi, Chancellor, Vicar General, Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio January 31, 2022"
The Nihil Obstat ("Permission to Publish") is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted the Nihil Obstat agree with the contents, opinions, or statements expressed.