Tag Archives: forgiveness

Lenten Reflections – Tuesday, March 11

Mahatma-Gandhi-The-weak-can-never-forgive-Forgiveness-is-the-attribute-of-the-strong-Framed-Quote-670So often, forgiveness is mistakenly thought of as a sign of weakness. During this Lenten season, we, as Catholic Christians, should take the time to reflect on the words contained in the Our Father. Particularly, the words “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive others.” Eight words, when put together in a prayer, presents to so many (including me), a true challenge to our Christian faith. Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive others. We pray for God’s forgiveness of our sins, but somehow, to forgive another person’s misdeeds, is just out of our grasp.
Sometimes, forgiveness, at the time of a particularly horrific offense against another human being, just seems impossible. The wounds are too raw. We may even take “comfort” in the biblical passage from Exodus 21:23-24 “But if the woman herself is injured, the punishment shall be life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.” Perhaps this excerpt from Exodus may give “validity” to our feelings of revenge.

Often, it is the mundane annoyances in our everyday lives, whether it is petty arguments or misconceptions, which leads to estrangements from family, friends or even the Church.

However, we need to step back, and realize that forgiveness is a process. We must pray, with hope, for the Holy Spirit’s guidance towards healing, not only of ourselves, but to the person or persons who harmed us. We should take comfort in Matthew 5:39 “But now I tell you: do not take revenge on someone who wrongs you. If someone slaps you on the right cheek, let him slap you on your left cheek too.” As Jesus was nailed to the crucifix, He uttered, “Forgive them, Father! They don’t know what they are doing.” We must pray for the strength to forgive, however long it takes, or risk God’s judgment against us.

We know that without forgiveness, there can be no love, and without reconciliation, there can be no freedom.
It is my hope that during the season of Lent, we truly reflect on these eight words from Our Lord’s Prayer, and realize the gift of God’s unconditional love and forgiveness of us. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, we were given the ultimate gift of salvation.

-Anne Wasielewski

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It’s hot in here – Lenten Reflection for March 22, 2013

In today’s first reading we hear the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and their visit to the fiery furnace. This tale has a powerful message for all of us, just like all Scripture does, if we simply stop and listen, holding the words in our hearts.

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This image is from the Catacombs of Priscilla, Rome, Italy.

What would you do if faced with serving another god and making homage to an idolatrous statue and by doing so, reject God? And let’s up the ante… the punishment for not doing this would be a horrifying death in the fiery furnace?

If you are like me, perhaps you will say that you would never reject God. Well, that may be the case for you, but if I even think about this for a minute, I can see just where and how I reject God all day long. Perhaps it is even worse, because I do it so mindlessly, God forgive me.

We are at a critical point in our Lenten journey with Jesus. Jerusalem is calling to us; not a fiery furnace, but the cross awaits us, just as it awaits Jesus. Certain death. Suddenly this whole Christian thing is looking very uncomfortable. Very, very uncomfortable.

Most likely, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, could have rationalized their way out of this. I know that I could! “Le’s see, I think. I ‘pretend’ to follow King Nebuchadnezzar’s god, and when I get out, I will make good on what I have done wrong! Phew! No fiery furnace for me!”

Now as our new Pope Francis recently reminded us that “the Lord never tires of forgiving,” true enough. However, do we ever tire of making the wrong choices? I know that I feel like I tire of making them, but somehow, I… keep… making… them… *sigh*

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are a reminder, forerunners of Christ, of what happens when we make the correct choice. Often we lose it all – or seemingly so. Do we really lose it? Or do we gain? If our life is solely grounded in the material, then forget it. If we are solely grounded in how many hours we spend in church or in prayer, looking up at God, we might want to forget that, also. Once again, we find ourselves in the great both/and of life. We have certain obligations and responsibilities to our material life, true enough. And wouldn’t we want time in church and in prayer?

How do we hold the tension between heaven and earth and make the correct choices? Sometimes we have to choose the most difficult thing. Jesus lived that for us, he died for us. There were many before him who foreshadow what was to come, from Moses to Abraham to – I could go on and on – and including, our three friends in the hot spot.

This Sunday we will hear the Passion, and then we enter Holy Week. What awaits us? The same things that awaited Jesus. Choices between life and death, with the counter-intuitive choice of death bringing new life.

The fiery furnace and the Cross attract me, but do I really choose them? Luckily for us, our tireless God forgives us, but ultimately our choice will have to be made.

What will we do?

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Lenten Reflections – March 17, 2013 by the Wasielewski Family

March 17, 2013 Fifth Sunday in Lent
tumblr_linziwvcNR1qdrmhno1_400This Gospel reading has to be one of our favorite as it is the foundation of the teachings of Jesus, and the grace of God’s forgiveness for our sins and shortcomings.

How often in our society do we judge and condemn others? You simply pick up the newspaper, and the headlines scream Guilty, person held without bail. As a society, we quickly jump to conclusions – we have tried and convicted the person – the jury of popular opinion. Yet, if we take a minute to really reflect, and place ourselves in the other person’s shoes, I know that we would pray for compassion and a just trial.

Who has not made a mistake, whether out of poor judgment or extreme emotional distress. Yet it seems that we expect God to forgive us, but forgiving others in the way that Jesus forgives us day in and day out is an entirely different matter. We attend Mass every week, and prayer the “Our Father”…forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us…”

But do we really forgive as Jesus forgives us?

The Wasielewski Family

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