Pope Francis says "If you do not forgive, God will not forgive you...But if you can't do it, ask the Lord to give you the strength to do it: Lord, help me to forgive." FULL TEXT + Video


St. Peter's Square
Wednesday, April 24, 2019
Catechesis on the "Our Father": 13. How we refer them to our debtors

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

Today we complete the catechesis on the fifth question of the "Our Father", dwelling on the expression "as we also forgive our debtors" (Mt 6:12). We have seen that it is proper to man to be a debtor before God: from Him we have received everything, in terms of nature and grace. Our life was not only wanted, but loved by God. There really is no room for presumption when we join hands to pray. There are no "self made man" in the Church, men who have made themselves. We are all indebted to God and to many people who have given us favorable living conditions. Our identity is built starting from the good received. The first is life.

Those who pray learn to say "thank you". And we often forget to say "thank you", we are selfish. Those who pray learn to say "thank you" and ask God to be kind to him or her. However much we strive, there is always an unbridgeable debt before God, which we will never be able to repay: He loves us infinitely more than we love him. And then, as much as we commit ourselves to live according to Christian teachings, in our lives there will always be something to ask forgiveness for: let's think about the days passed lazily, the moments when the grudge has occupied our heart and so on. It is these experiences, unfortunately not rare, that make us implore: "Lord, Father, forgive us our debts". We thus ask forgiveness from God.

Come to think of it, the invocation could also be limited to this first part; it would have been beautiful. Instead, Jesus welds it with a second expression that is one with the first. The relationship of vertical benevolence on the part of God is refracted and is called to translate itself into a new relationship that we live with our brothers: a horizontal relationship. The good God invites us to be all good. The two parts of the invocation are tied together with a merciless conjunction: we ask the Lord to forgive our debts, our sins, "like" we forgive our friends, the people who live with us, our neighbors, the people who he did something not nice about it.

Every Christian knows that for him the forgiveness of sins exists, we all know this: God forgives everything and always forgives. When Jesus tells his disciples the face of God, he outlines it with expressions of tender mercy. He says that there is more joy in heaven for a sinner who repents, rather than for a crowd of righteous people who do not need conversion (see Lk 15.7.10). Nothing in the Gospels suggests that God does not forgive the sins of those who are well disposed and asks to be re-embraced.

But the abundant grace of God is always challenging. Those who have received so much must learn to give so much and not hold back only what they received. Those who have received so much must learn to give so much. It is no coincidence that the Gospel of Matthew, immediately after giving the text of the "Our Father", among the seven expressions used, suffers to emphasize precisely that of fraternal forgiveness: "If you in fact forgive others for their faults, the Father your who is in heaven will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your faults "(Mt 6,14-15). But this is strong! I think: sometimes I heard people say: "I will never forgive that person! I will never forgive what they did to me! " But if you do not forgive, God will not forgive you. You close the door. We think, we are able to forgive or if we do not forgive. A priest, when I was in the other diocese, told me anguished that he had gone to give the last sacraments to an old woman who was on the point of death. The poor lady could not speak. And the priest says to her: "Madam, do you repent of sins?" The lady said yes; he could not confess them but he said yes. It's enough. And then again: "Do you forgive others?" And the lady, on her deathbed said: "No". The priest remained distressed. If you do not forgive, God will not forgive you. We think, we who are here, if we forgive or are able to forgive. "Father, I can't do it, because those people made me so many." But if you can't do it, ask the Lord to give you the strength to do it: Lord, help me to forgive. Here we find the bond between love for God and love of neighbor. Love calls love, forgiveness calls forgiveness. Again in Matthew we find a very intense parable dedicated to fraternal forgiveness (see 18,21-35). Let's listen.

There was a servant who had a huge debt with his king: ten thousand talents! An impossible sum to repay; I don't know how much it would be today, but hundreds of millions. But the miracle happens, and that servant receives not a payment extension, but the full amnesty. An unexpected grace! But here it is that very servant, immediately afterwards, rages against his brother who owes him a hundred denari - small thing -, and, although this is an accessible figure, it does not accept excuses or supplications. Therefore, in the end, the master calls him back and has him condemned. Because if you don't try to forgive, you won't be forgiven; if you do not try to love, you will not be loved either.

Jesus inserts the power of forgiveness into human relationships. In life, not everything is resolved with justice. No. Especially where we must put a barrier to evil, someone must love beyond the necessary, to start a story of grace again. Evil knows its revenge, and if it is not interrupted it risks spreading and suffocating the whole world.

To the law of retaliation - what you did to me, I give it back to you, Jesus replaces the law of love: what God has done to me, I give it back to you! Let us think today, in this very beautiful Easter week, if I am able to forgive. And if I don't feel capable, I have to ask the Lord to give me the grace to forgive, because knowing how to forgive is a grace.

God gives every Christian the grace to write a story of good in the lives of his brothers, especially those who have done something unpleasant and wrong. With a word, a hug, a smile, we can convey to others what we have received most precious. What is the precious thing we have received? Forgiveness, which we must be able to give to others.

Greetings in Various Languages:
Je salue cordialement les pèlerins venant de France et de Suisse, en particulier les jeunes de Guyane française, et les Guides du Liban ! En ce temps où nous célébrons la Résurrection du Seigneur, n’ayez pas peur de manifester que Jésus est vivant, qu’il est votre vie ! Bonnes fêtes pascales à tous et que Dieu vous bénisse.
I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, especially those from the United Kingdom, Ireland, Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and the United States of America. In the joy of the Risen Christ, I invoke upon you and your families the loving mercy of God our Father. May the Lord bless you all!
Herzlich heiße ich die Brüder und Schwestern deutscher Sprache willkommen. Ich freue mich, die vielen jungen Menschen zu begrüßen, besonders die Firmlinge und Ministranten. Christus lebt! Mit seiner Auferstehung hat der Herr die Sünde und den Tod überwunden. Der Auferstandene erneuere unser Leben und mache uns fähig, die Kraft der Liebe und Vergebung unseren Nächsten zu schenken. Gesegnete Ostern!
Saludo cordialmente a los peregrinos de lengua española venidos de España y Latinoamérica, en modo particular saludo a los alumnos del Seminario Menor de Tui-Vigo, en su 60 aniversario de fundación, acompañados por su Obispo, Mons. Luis Quinteiro Fiuza. Pidamos al Señor que nos dé la gracia de saber escribir una historia de bien en la vida de nuestros hermanos y de transmitirles con gestos de ternura la experiencia del perdón gratuito que Él nos ha dado. ¡Feliz Pascua de Resurrección! Que Dios los bendiga.
De coração saúdo todos os peregrinos de língua portuguesa, com menção particular dos fiéis de Ramalhão, Alvorminha, Vidais e Salvador da Bahia. A Virgem Maria, que permaneceu ao pé da cruz de Jesus, amando até ao fim, para depois ser inundada de alegria infinita com a ressurreição do seu Filho, nos ensina que o amor faz a Páscoa: quem ama passa da morte à vida. A todos vós e aos vossos entes queridos, desejo uma santa Páscoa!
أرحب بالحاضرين الناطقين باللغة العربية، وخاصة بالقادمين من مصر، ومن الشرق الأوسط. إن "أغفر لنا ... كما نغفر نحن" هو ذروة الصلاة الربية، كما يعلمنا القديس يوحنا ذهبي الفم، أن: "دينونتنا تعتمد علينا"، أي أننا سنحصل في المقابل على ما قدمناه نحن للآخرين. ليبارككم الرب جميعا ويحرسكم دائما من الشرير!
[I warmly welcome the Arabic-speaking pilgrims, especially those from Egypt and the Middle East. "Forgive us ... as we forgive" is the culminating point of the Lord's Prayer, and, as Saint John Chrysostom teaches us, "the judgment of ourselves depends on us", that is we will have in return what we ourselves have offered to others . May the Lord bless you and always protect you from the evil one!]
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I affectionately greet the Italian-speaking pilgrims.

In particular, I welcome the preadolescents of Milan, accompanied by their Archbishop, Monsignor Mario Delpini, and their priests and educators. Dear children, I encourage you to grow in faith and charity, committing yourselves to bear good fruit. May the Gospel be your rule of life, as it was for your saints: Ambrose and Charles, who with their love changed their world.

I address a special thought to the confirmed candidates of the Diocese of Treviso, gathered here with their Pastor, Monsignor Gianfranco Gardin; with the power of the Holy Spirit, be generous witnesses of Christ.

I greet the faithful of the oratories and parishes, especially those of Lecce, Cava dei Tirreni and Magione; the new Deacons of the Society of Jesus, with their families; the Religious and Religious; educational institutions and associations, in particular the Città della Speranza Foundation, of Monte di Malo.

A thought I address to the young, the elderly, the sick and newlyweds.

For all I invoke the joy and hope that come from the Easter of Christ. May you experience the living Jesus, to welcome the gift of his peace and become his witnesses in the world.
Source of Text and Image: Vatican.va - Unofficial Translation