Godzdogz

Godzdogz

The blog of the Dominican student brothers at Blackfriars, Oxford.

Built on the four pillars of our Dominican life – preaching, prayer, study, and community – Godzdogz offers many resources for exploring the Catholic Faith today.
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The duty to forgive

Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Tuesday 3 of Lent

Readings: Daniel 3:25, 34-43; Psalm 24; Matthew 18:21-35

A friend of mine has on his desk a little plaque that reads: ‘the one thing I can’t stand is when other people just can’t admit their faults. I’d admit mine – if I had any’. This witty phrase always brings a chuckle, but it also encapsulates something about human nature. None of us really wants to appreciate the darker side to ourselves. It takes bravery and suffering. But it is essential for us to confront these parts of ourselves if we are to live our lives more fully.

In Lent we are called to reflect on these parts of ourselves, and confront them. If we do this properly, we will see the parts of our lives that need to be reformed, and we won’t be happy! We might see in ourselves a person we don’t want to be. But this lesson in pain will help us to lead better lives.

Our pain causes us to seek forgiveness, and to know that the love of God is not removed from us when we display our weaknesses. This is good news – but we must not allow that to eclipse our duty to forgive other people. When we see our own weakness, we ought to understand the weakness of others. This is what is taught in today’s gospel. The servant, having been released from his debt by his master, then fails to show any mercy to the man who is in debt to him. Jesus points out that forgiveness is indispensable for our lives together as humans. We must forgive each other seventy-seven times. Unless we are prepared to accept that we are as weak and sinful as our brothers and sisters, and forgive them their trespasses, we cannot expect to be shown mercy.

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