Reflections - September 17, 2017

“Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive?  Mt. 18:21.
 
We live in a world where recognizing our faults and apologizing for them is disappearing from our vocabulary.  The most we hear some people say is “I’m sorry”, but, “I’m sorry”, and what else?  We must be able to admit when we fail and ask forgiveness with a sincere apology.  There can be no reconciliation if we do not dislodge defensive attitudes, that we see at all levels, which prevent us from admitting our sins and also reinforces resentments toward our neighbor.
 
What prevents us from forgiving?  Well the Catechism of the Church #1865 tells us of the deadly sins and enumerates the sin of pride:  “It is the sin that obscures the conscience and corrupts the concrete valuation of good and evil”.
 
If my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive?  As many as seven times.  I believe that in some current environments not even one time would be forgiven.  But these attitudes bring much affective and spiritual pain.  This is why Jesus tells us that there is no limit to forgiveness.  Forgiveness is our spiritual healing and it is within our plan of salvation.  Also the person that forgives and admits his/her error receives peace and spiritual relief because they are associating with the redemption of Christ, whose generosity and welcome has no limits – is infinite.  A specialist in medicine, a practicing Catholic, told me “that in his professional experience a good confession ‘reconciles us affectively and spiritually’ with our brother and the Lord”.
 
I invite you to pray the Our Father slowly this week when you receive the Holy Eucharist and to pause to reflect on the phrase:  “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us”.  This prayer can also help “restore many family and community wounds”.  Amen.