“The LORD is kind and merciful slow to anger, and rich in compassion." Psalm 103: 8
Romans 14: 7-9
by Sister Judith Bloxham, OSB
In the first reading for this Sunday, Sirach speaks of anger and those who (unknowingly?) hug this emotion tight within themselves. If only we could bend our hearts and spirits to forgive those who spark our feelings of anger. If only we could spend time thinking and feeling how the Lord continually is forgiving us; then, perhaps, we could grow in being able to forgive others.
St. Paul reminds us, that “None of us lives for oneself and no one dies for oneself." And yet, we so often like to count the times someone annoys us and we find it hard, or impossible, to forgive that person. In the Gospel, even Peter asks the Lord, “…how often must I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus replies to Peter that he must forgive “seventy-seven times.” Jesus is using an Eastern expression which means for us, “always and without limit!” The Lord’s parable of forgiving another in the same way we have been forgiven so often, reminds us that this can only happen when there is Love expressed in our life and that we can recognize this Love in others.
St. Benedict, and so many of his followers up to our present time, have spoken to this forgiving love that we must endeavor to live out in our families, communities, and in all of the unexpected situations and relationships in our lives. May we pray for one another in this spirit of love, especially during this time of uncertainty and illness in our world.
From the Rule of St. Benedict
“There is a good spirit that frees us from evil ways and brings us closer to God and eternal life. All who follow the monastic way of life should strive to cultivate (this spirit), spurred on by fervent love. Thus, the pure love for one another as of one family should be their ideal.” RB 72: 2-4 (Translation – Patrick Barry, OSB)
“I give you a new commandment, says the Lord: love one another as I have loved you.” John 13:34