This week Peter asks Jesus, “If my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive? As many as seven times?” Then Jesus offers the familiar response, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy seven times.”
Every time we pray the Our Father, we ask for the grace we need to forgive those who trespass against us. We pray these words over and over again because we need to pray them over and over again. Forgiveness is a difficult but necessary thing. Too often we allow bitterness, resentment, and anger to hold us hostage. The Lord desires to free ourselves from these burdens, but we have to truly desire this freedom.
Here is another prayer that might help us along the path to forgiveness and reconciliation.
Almighty God, You have listened patiently to my concerns and consoled me in times of hardship. Let me remember Your presence and love for me when I am called upon to forgive another person for an unkind word or action. You have shown me how to act, what to say, what to do, and yet I sometimes react in anger and find it difficult to forgive others as You so often have forgiven me. Grant that I may recognize this failing in myself and remember Your words and example whenever I have need of a forgiving spirit. Amen
Peace, Fr. Steve