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Friday, September 28, 2012
The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.
My penance after reconciliation was to pray for the person I was having issues with. I like that the priests I go to now give prayer or some sort of action as a penance rather than, say, ten Hail Mary's. However sometimes the ten Hail Mary's would be easier to do than to pray for someone I am angry with.
But I guess that is the point. The more I pray for someone the less I hold onto my anger towards them. And it was suggested that I pray that they will get all that I want. Funny at first I thought that meant a new car or the awesome boots at Nordstroms.
Why should we pray for someone else? Jesus is asked in Matthew 18: 21-35 by Peter, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven." Then he tells the parable of the king who wishes to settle old accounts with his slaves. When one is brought before the king he does not have the money to pay him back so the king orders that he and his family be sold as repayment. The slave falls to the ground and prostrates himself before the king and begs for mercy. The king is moved with pity and forgives him his debt. As the slave was leaving he sees a man who owes him money and he grabs him around the neck, demanding repayment. When the man couldn't pay he has him arrested. The other slaves who saw this report it to the king. The king is very angry and said to him, "why shouldn't you show mercy to your fellow slave like I had mercy on you". He then had that slave imprisoned and tortured until he could repay his debt.
To me this story says that I need to forgive as the Father has forgiven me. God is above all and He sent his only Son to pay for our sins. I need to forgive others in gratitude for what has been given to me. The irony is when I let go of my anger and pray for that person, I am happier. The juxtaposition between letting go of anger and being happy through prayer is amazing. I will realize after a little bit of time that the anger is dissipating. It really is a miracle but you have to work at it. Even if it is through gritted teeth at first.
What does being angry really get you but a headache and anxiety anyways? Ninety-nine percent of the time the other person has moved on and doesn't even know your upset. Anger is like drinking poison then waiting for the other person to die. Once you can give that over to God in prayer it is freeing. Trust me I know.
Therefore "Pray without ceasing", 1 Thessalonians 5:17. Now I pray that they get all that I want, which is happiness, forgiveness, love of family and friends, and most importantly to feel God's love.