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Forgiveness is a choice to love

Christ tells us to forgive everyone, but sometimes that does not seem so easy. Forgiving a debt is one thing, but what about those who really hurt us? Perhaps the difficulty springs from confusion as to what forgiveness really is.

Forgiveness does not mean forgetting, which is probably impossible anyway. It also does not mean that we ignore our anger and hurt. Doing so is just not healthy.

Forgiveness is a choice: the simple choice to love rather than to harm the person in return. By choosing love over vengeance, we free ourselves from remaining beholden to our pain. We free others to experience a love that leads to gratitude and reconciliation, and we free everyone to be united with Christ’s own loving heart.

Forgiveness does not mean pretending nothing happened or acting like there are no consequences. It just means choosing love. This Lent, let us choose love. For we have received the same love and merciful forgiveness from our God.

To whom in our lives can we give the gift of our forgiveness? Where are we in need of forgiveness: from others, from ourselves, from God?

—Stephen Kramer, SJ, is a Jesuit deacon of the Central and Southern Province currently finishing his Master’s degree in Theology at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry.  He will be ordained to the priesthood in June.

 


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March 26, 2019

Mt 18: 21-35

Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.“ For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves.

When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’

Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt. When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place.

Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Forgiveness is a choice to love

Christ tells us to forgive everyone, but sometimes that does not seem so easy. Forgiving a debt is one thing, but what about those who really hurt us? Perhaps the difficulty springs from confusion as to what forgiveness really is.

Forgiveness does not mean forgetting, which is probably impossible anyway. It also does not mean that we ignore our anger and hurt. Doing so is just not healthy.

Forgiveness is a choice: the simple choice to love rather than to harm the person in return. By choosing love over vengeance, we free ourselves from remaining beholden to our pain. We free others to experience a love that leads to gratitude and reconciliation, and we free everyone to be united with Christ’s own loving heart.

Forgiveness does not mean pretending nothing happened or acting like there are no consequences. It just means choosing love. This Lent, let us choose love. For we have received the same love and merciful forgiveness from our God.

To whom in our lives can we give the gift of our forgiveness? Where are we in need of forgiveness: from others, from ourselves, from God?

—Stephen Kramer, SJ, is a Jesuit deacon of the Central and Southern Province currently finishing his Master’s degree in Theology at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry.  He will be ordained to the priesthood in June.

Prayer

Our Lord Jesus Christ,
whose Most Sacred Heart flows with infinite mercy,
teach us to pray for those who persecute us,
to bless those who curse us,
and to forgive all who trespass against us.

Aware that we are granted mercy
in the same measure by which we show mercy,
strengthen us always to choose love
and to unite ourselves unceasingly
to your Most Sacred Heart.

Amen.

—Stephen Kramer, SJ

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Mt 18: 21-35

Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.“ For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves.

When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’

Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt. When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place.

Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Prayer

Our Lord Jesus Christ,
whose Most Sacred Heart flows with infinite mercy,
teach us to pray for those who persecute us,
to bless those who curse us,
and to forgive all who trespass against us.

Aware that we are granted mercy
in the same measure by which we show mercy,
strengthen us always to choose love
and to unite ourselves unceasingly
to your Most Sacred Heart.

Amen.

—Stephen Kramer, SJ

 

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Prayer

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on his humble servant.

From this day all generations will call me blessed,
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear Him
in every generation.

He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the humble.

He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever.

—Magnificat prayer

 

 

 


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The wonder of Jesus’ life

To have the story of the Annunciation as our Gospel during Lent is a stark reminder of Jesus’ humanity and the effect his Passion must have had on his loved ones. Mary and Joseph raised Jesus and walked with him throughout his life. They were his parents – they fed him, educated him, protected him. From the moment Mary heard about her son, she expressed her desire to follow God’s will for what would become their life together.

Reflecting on this story during this liturgical season allows me to consider the mystery of the Holy Family. I think in particular of the pain Mary must have felt over the loss of her son. How could she not remember the awe she felt when hearing the angel’s message as she approached the cross? May we recall the wonder and awe of life, even in the midst of the darkest suffering.

—Sara Spittler is the First Years Chaplain and a Religious Studies teacher at Saint Ignatius College Prep in Chicago.

 

 

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Feast of the Annunciation

Lk 1: 26-38

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.

The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.”

Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

 

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

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Forgiveness is a choice to love

Christ tells us to forgive everyone, but sometimes that does not seem so easy. Forgiving a debt is one thing, but what about those who really hurt us? Perhaps the difficulty springs from confusion as to what forgiveness really is.

Forgiveness does not mean forgetting, which is probably impossible anyway. It also does not mean that we ignore our anger and hurt. Doing so is just not healthy.

Forgiveness is a choice: the simple choice to love rather than to harm the person in return. By choosing love over vengeance, we free ourselves from remaining beholden to our pain. We free others to experience a love that leads to gratitude and reconciliation, and we free everyone to be united with Christ’s own loving heart.

Forgiveness does not mean pretending nothing happened or acting like there are no consequences. It just means choosing love. This Lent, let us choose love. For we have received the same love and merciful forgiveness from our God.

To whom in our lives can we give the gift of our forgiveness? Where are we in need of forgiveness: from others, from ourselves, from God?

—Stephen Kramer, SJ, is a Jesuit deacon of the Central and Southern Province currently finishing his Master’s degree in Theology at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry.  He will be ordained to the priesthood in June.

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

March 26, 2019

Mt 18: 21-35

Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.“ For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves.

When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’

Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt. When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place.

Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Forgiveness is a choice to love

Christ tells us to forgive everyone, but sometimes that does not seem so easy. Forgiving a debt is one thing, but what about those who really hurt us? Perhaps the difficulty springs from confusion as to what forgiveness really is.

Forgiveness does not mean forgetting, which is probably impossible anyway. It also does not mean that we ignore our anger and hurt. Doing so is just not healthy.

Forgiveness is a choice: the simple choice to love rather than to harm the person in return. By choosing love over vengeance, we free ourselves from remaining beholden to our pain. We free others to experience a love that leads to gratitude and reconciliation, and we free everyone to be united with Christ’s own loving heart.

Forgiveness does not mean pretending nothing happened or acting like there are no consequences. It just means choosing love. This Lent, let us choose love. For we have received the same love and merciful forgiveness from our God.

To whom in our lives can we give the gift of our forgiveness? Where are we in need of forgiveness: from others, from ourselves, from God?

—Stephen Kramer, SJ, is a Jesuit deacon of the Central and Southern Province currently finishing his Master’s degree in Theology at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry.  He will be ordained to the priesthood in June.

Prayer

Our Lord Jesus Christ,
whose Most Sacred Heart flows with infinite mercy,
teach us to pray for those who persecute us,
to bless those who curse us,
and to forgive all who trespass against us.

Aware that we are granted mercy
in the same measure by which we show mercy,
strengthen us always to choose love
and to unite ourselves unceasingly
to your Most Sacred Heart.

Amen.

—Stephen Kramer, SJ

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Mt 18: 21-35

Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.“ For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves.

When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’

Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt. When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place.

Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Prayer

Our Lord Jesus Christ,
whose Most Sacred Heart flows with infinite mercy,
teach us to pray for those who persecute us,
to bless those who curse us,
and to forgive all who trespass against us.

Aware that we are granted mercy
in the same measure by which we show mercy,
strengthen us always to choose love
and to unite ourselves unceasingly
to your Most Sacred Heart.

Amen.

—Stephen Kramer, SJ

 

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Prayer

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on his humble servant.

From this day all generations will call me blessed,
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear Him
in every generation.

He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the humble.

He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever.

—Magnificat prayer

 

 

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

The wonder of Jesus’ life

To have the story of the Annunciation as our Gospel during Lent is a stark reminder of Jesus’ humanity and the effect his Passion must have had on his loved ones. Mary and Joseph raised Jesus and walked with him throughout his life. They were his parents – they fed him, educated him, protected him. From the moment Mary heard about her son, she expressed her desire to follow God’s will for what would become their life together.

Reflecting on this story during this liturgical season allows me to consider the mystery of the Holy Family. I think in particular of the pain Mary must have felt over the loss of her son. How could she not remember the awe she felt when hearing the angel’s message as she approached the cross? May we recall the wonder and awe of life, even in the midst of the darkest suffering.

—Sara Spittler is the First Years Chaplain and a Religious Studies teacher at Saint Ignatius College Prep in Chicago.

 

 

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Feast of the Annunciation

Lk 1: 26-38

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.

The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.”

Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

 

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!