Lenten journey: Friday in the third Week of Lent - 26.03.2019
Here the main character is Peter, who “had heard the Lord speak many times about forgiveness, about mercy”. The Apostle, apparently, in his simplicity, — for “he had not studied much; he was not a scholar; he was a fisherman” — did not fully understand the meaning of those words. However, “he came up to Jesus and said to him, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?’”. Seven times may have even seemed “generous” to Peter. But “Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven’”.
Applying the lesson to everyone, Francis recalled the words of the Our Father, in which we say: “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors”. He explained that this is “an equation”. In other words, “if you are not capable of forgiveness, how can God forgive you?”. The Lord “wants to forgive you”, the Pope added, “but he cannot if you keep your heart closed and mercy cannot enter”. One might object: “Father, I forgive, but I cannot forget that awful thing that he did to me...”. The answer is to “ask the Lord to help you forget”. In any case, the Pontiff added, it may be true that “one can forgive, but one does not always manage to forget”, but an attitude of you’re “forgiven” but “you’ll pay for this” is surely unacceptable. Instead, one must “forgive as God forgives”, and God “forgives the maximum”.
(POPE FRANCIS SANCTAE MARTHAE, 1st March 2016)