FORGIVE OFFENSES WILLINGLY
V. Adoramus Te Christe et benedicimus Tibi.
R. Quia per sanctam Crucem tuam redemisti mundum.
From the holy Gospel according to Matthew:
A debtor was brought before [the king] who owed him a huge amount. […] Moved with compassion the master of that servant let him go and forgave him the loan. When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a much smaller amount.[…] He had him put in prison until he paid back the debt. […] His master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! […] Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?’ Then he handed him over to the torturers.
Lord, you forgave him so much! You forgave him a debt that exceeds the imagination! Ten-thousand talents, 270 tons of gold!
Forgive me for asking: Could you not have also forgiven him for not sparing his debtor? You forgave his unimaginable sins… Why did you not forgive his refusal to forgive? Is the refusal to forgive offenses so great a sin? Did he not have the right to demand justice?
He did. But that is not where in lies his sin. The point is not that he himself could not forgive, but that he wasted the love that you so abundantly bestowed upon him. You showed him mercy without limits, not so that he would feel freed from his debt, but so that he would love others with the same love he encountered. So that he would forgive with the same forgiveness he encountered. You demanded nothing of him that you yourself did not first give him. And in excess!
Lord Jesus, we bless your presence and power in all those who forgive.
You are the mercy that enables us to forgive offenses willingly. We ask you at this station: Destroy in us our old selves! Kill in us the merciless debtor! Teach us to forgive willingly — by way of warning, without waiting for a request and atonement from the wrongdoers. Oh, how incredible is your mercy! I want to trust it – even when you call me to offer it to others, forgiving without hesitation. Amen.
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