St. Peter's Square
Wednesday, 10 April 2019
Catechesis on the "Our Father": 12. Forgive us our debts
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning! The day is not so beautiful, but good morning anyway!
After asking God for the bread of every day, the prayer of the "Our Father" enters the field of our relationships with others. And Jesus teaches us to ask the Father: "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors" (Mt 6,12). How we need bread, so we need forgiveness. And this, every day.
The Christian who prays asks God first of all for his debts, that is, his sins, the bad things he does. This is the first truth of every prayer: we were also perfect people, we were also crystalline saints who never deflected from a life of good, we always remain children who owe everything to the Father. Which is the most dangerous attitude of every Christian life? It is pride. It is the attitude of those who stand before God thinking they always have the accounts in order with Him: the proud believe that he has everything in his place. Like that Pharisee in the parable, who in the temple thinks he is praying but actually praises himself before God: "I thank you, Lord, because I am not like the others". And the people who feel perfect, the people who criticize others, are proud people. None of us is perfect, nobody. On the contrary, the tax collector, who was behind, in the temple, a sinner despised by all, stops on the threshold of the temple, and does not feel worthy to enter, and entrusts himself to the mercy of God. And Jesus comments: "These, unlike of the other, he returned home justified "(Lk 18:14), that is forgiven, saved. Why? Because he was not proud, because he recognized his limitations and his sins.
There are sins that are seen and sins that are not seen. There are glaring sins that make noise, but there are also devious sins, which lurk in the heart without us even realizing it. The worst of these is the arrogance that can infect even people who live an intense religious life. Once upon a time there was a convent of nuns, in the year 1600-1700, famous, at the time of Jansenism: they were perfect and it was said of them that they were as pure as the angels, but superb as the demons. It's a bad thing. Sin divides fraternity, sin makes us presume to be better than others, sin makes us believe that we are similar to God.
And instead of God we are all sinners and we have reason to beat our breasts - everyone! - like that publican at the temple. St. John, in his first Letter, writes: "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us" (1 Jn 1: 8). If you want to deceive yourself, say that you have not sinned: so you are deceiving yourself.
We are indebted above all because in this life we have received so much: existence, a father and a mother, friendship, the wonders of creation ... Even if we all go through difficult days, we must always remember that life is a life grace, it is the miracle that God has extracted from nothing.
Secondly we are indebted because, even if we succeed in loving, none of us is able to do it with his own strength. True love is when we can love, but with the grace of God. None of us shines with its own light. There is what the ancient theologians called a "mysterium lunae" not only in the identity of the Church, but also in the history of each of us. What does this "mysterium lunae" mean? Which is like the moon, which has no light of its own: it reflects the light of the sun. We too have no light of our own: the light we have is a reflection of the grace of God, of the light of God. If you love it is because someone, outside you, smiled at you when you were a child, teaching you to respond with a smile. If you love it is because someone next to you has awakened you to love, making you understand how in it resides the sense of existence.
Let's try to listen to the story of some person who made a mistake: a prisoner, a convict, a drug addict ... we know so many people who make mistakes in life. Without prejudice to the responsibility, which is always personal, you sometimes ask yourself who should be blamed for his mistakes, if only his conscience, or the story of hatred and abandonment that someone carries with him.
And this is the mystery of the moon: first of all we love because we have been loved, we forgive because we have been forgiven. And if someone has not been illuminated by sunlight, it becomes as cold as the winter terrain.
How can we fail to recognize, in the chain of love that precedes us, also the provident presence of God's love? None of us loves God as He loved us. Just stand before a crucifix to grasp the disproportion: He loved us and always loves us first.
Let us pray therefore: Lord, even the holiest among us does not cease to be your debtor. O Father, have pity on us all!
Je salue cordialement les pèlerins de langue française, en particulier les jeunes des diocèses de Rouen et du Havre accompagnés de leurs évêques respectifs, Monseigneur Dominique Lebrun et Monseigneur Jean-Luc Brunin, ainsi que les nombreux groupes de jeunes venus de France. Alors que nous allons bientôt célébrer la passion et la résurrection de Jésus, souvenons-nous que, sur la croix, Dieu nous a aimés plus que nous ne l’aimerons jamais, et demandons-lui d’avoir pitié de nous. Que Dieu vous bénisse !
I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, especially those from England, Ireland, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Australia, Sri Lanka and the United States of America. May the Lenten journey bring us to Easter with hearts purified and renewed by the grace of the Holy Spirit. Upon you and your families I invoke joy and peace in Christ our Redeemer!
Von Herzen grüße ich die Pilger deutscher Sprache. Besonders heiße ich den Kulturausschuss des Landkreises Waldshut-Tiengen in Deutschland, die Jugendseelsorge Thurgau in der Schweiz und die Ministranten aus Eupen in Belgien willkommen. Leben wir immer in der Dankbarkeit für die unermessliche Güte Gottes, der uns in Jesus mit seiner Gnade erfüllt.
Saludo cordialmente a los peregrinos de lengua española provenientes de España y América Latina. Acercándonos cada vez más a las fiestas de Pascua, los animo a no dejar de mirar a Cristo en la cruz, para que su amor purifique todas nuestras vidas y nos libre del orgullo de pensar que somos autosuficientes. Que la gracia de la resurrección de Cristo transforme totalmente nuestra vida. Que Dios los bendiga.
Queridos peregrinos de língua portuguesa, de coração vos saúdo a todos, desejando-vos – neste tempo de Quaresma – a graça de experimentar a grande bênção que é o Perdão de Deus, o qual nos torna capazes de olhar o mundo com mais bondade. Assim Deus vos abençoe a vós e às vossas famílias.
أرحب بالحاضرين الناطقين باللغة العربية، وخاصة بالقادمين من الأردن، ومن الأراضي المقدسة، ومن الشرق الأوسط. لنتعلم أن غفران الله مرتبط بالمغفرة التي نقدمها لإخواننا. يقول المسيح: "اغفروا، يغفر لكم... لأنه بالكيل الذي تكيلون يكال لكم" (لو 6، 37 - 38). ليبارككم الرب جميعا ويحرسكم دائما من الشرير!
[I warmly welcome the Arabic-speaking pilgrims, in particular those from Jordan, the Holy Land and the Middle East. We learn that God's forgiveness is linked to the forgiveness we offer our brothers. Christ says: "Forgive, and you will be forgiven ... because with the measure with which you measure, it will be remeasured to you" (Lk 6, 37 - 38). May the Lord bless you and always protect you from the evil one!]
Serdecznie witam polskich pielgrzymów. Drodzy bracia i siostry, zbliżamy się do Niedzieli Palmowej, która wprowadzi nas w Wielki Tydzień męki Pańskiej. Otwórzmy nasze serca na miłość Boga, który „własnego Syna nie oszczędził, ale go za nas wszystkich wydał” (Rz 8, 32), dla naszego zbawienia. Nie to będzie czas miłosierdzia i łaski dla was i waszych bliskich. Niech Bóg wam błogosławi!
Srdačno pozdravljam hrvatske hodočasnike, a na osobit način delegaciju Hrvatskoga vojnog učilišta, u pratnji biskupa vojnog ordinarija msgr. Jure Bogdana. Neka Božji blagoslov bude uvijek nad vama i vašim obiteljima, kako biste u povjerenom vam poslanju mogli djelovati za opće dobro ljudskoga društva. Također pozdravljam Šibensko pjevačko društvo „Kolo“, prigodom stodvadesete obljetnice osnutka. Od srca sve blagoslivljam! Hvaljen Isus i Marija!
I warmly welcome the Italian-speaking pilgrims.
I am pleased to welcome the Religious who are taking part in the Course of the Superior Major Union of Italy and of the Pontifical Faculty of Education Sciences Auxilium.
I greet the parish groups, especially those of Codivara and San Marco di Castellabate; the family members of soldiers who died abroad in times of peace; the San Niccolò di Prato Conservatory and educational institutions, in particular that of Grottammare.
I address a special thought to the young, the elderly, the sick and newlyweds.
We are concluding the journey of Lent. The light and the consolation of the Easter of the Lord are now close. Filled with joy and hope, let us prepare ourselves to make the sentiments of Christ our own and to live fully the days of his passion and glorification.
FULL TEXT + Image Source: Blog Share from Vatican.va - Unofficial Translation