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Vigils Readings

March 14, 2023

Forgive us, as We Forgive3

from a sermon by Caesarius of Arles

If any one of us is in conflict with another, let us end the quarrel lest we ourselves end badly. Do not consider this unimportant, my beloved. Let us call to mind that our life here is mortal and frail, that it is endangered by many and great temptations, and this makes us pray that we may not be overcome. And so, we realize that even the just are not without some sins. But there is one remedy which enables us to keep alive. For God, our Master, told us to say in our prayers: “Forgive us the wrong we have done as we forgive those who wrong us.” We have made a contract with God and taken a resolution that the wrong must be forgiven. This makes us ask with complete confidence to be forgiven provided we too forgive.

If, on the contrary, we do not forgive, how can we in good conscience hope that our sins will be forgiven? Let us not deceive ourselves: God deceived no one. It is human to be angry, but I wish it were impossible. It is human to become angry but let us not water the small plant born of anger with various suspicions. Let us not permit it to develop into a tree of hatred. It happens also frequently that a father is angry with his son, but he does not hate the son. He is angry because he wishes to correct the son. If this is his purpose, his anger is animated by love.

We read in Scripture: “Why look at the speck in your brother’s eye when you miss the plank in your own?” You find fault with another person for being angry, and you keep hatred in yourself. Anger in comparison with hatred is only a speck, but if the speck is fostered, it becomes a plank. If, on the contrary, you pluck out the speck and cast it away, it will amount to nothing.

Our Master says in another place: “Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer.” Those who hate their brother, walk around, go out, come in, march on, are not burdened by any chains and are not shut up in any prison, but they are bound by their guilt. Do not think of them as not being imprisoned. Their heart is in prison…

You hate your brothers and sisters and walk safely around and refuse to be reconciled with them, and God has given you time and opportunity. Yet you are a murderer and are still alive. If you felt God’s wrath you would be suddenly snatched away with your hatred toward others. God spares you; spare others likewise; make up and seek reconciliation with them. But suppose you want reconciliation and another does not want it. That is enough for you; you have something to grieve for, you have freed yourself. If you want agreement and the other refuses, say confidently: “Forgive us the wrong we have done as we forgive those who wrong us.

3Fraternal Harmony (Morin Sermon 185) 1-2: PLS IV, 446-447. (CR VI p 215)




March 14, 2023
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