Prayer of St. Francis (5)
Dec 20, 2015
Prayer of St. Francis (5)
Where there is injury, pardon
“Forgive them Father,
for they know not what they do.”
(Luke 23:34, Jesus on Cross).
This line of the Prayer of St. Francis spells out how to heal our world around us by the power of forgiveness.
Forgiveness! This powerful word has the power to change the world. The teachings of Jesus can be summed up in the words he spoke hanging from the cross. To exude love in the face of all the troubles and pain that face us is the ultimate response to Jesus’s command: “Follow me.” (Matt. 19:21)
Jesus never did say “Worship me”; but he did say “Follow me”. Worshipping is easy; all we have to do is mouth the words, then go on to live our life as before. But to follow Jesus we have to act like Jesus, and Jesus loved all who came to him, those who rejoiced in the words of Jesus and those who rejected the words of Jesus; he summed up his response to all in the words “Father, forgive them”, for Jesus clearly understood the hearts of humanity: “For they know not what they do.” This last statement is the key to forgiveness; for truly we know not what we do, and God understands this perfectly, knowing before we do something that indeed, we know not what we do, and therefore the mistake (and the word “sin” means mistake) we make is simply because we do not understand what we do.
Jesus understood us well, and spoke God’s Love for us in that simple statement, that we truly do not know what we do. We are truly just a baby, or perhaps a toddler, in the scheme of things, as we still act in cave person ways in much of our lives. Oh yes, we have all these things that make us seem like we are an advanced species, but our emotions and reactions are not that much different from the days of 50,ooo years ago: look at the agony and pain of so much of our world, simply because we do not live this line of the Prayer: Where there is injury, pardon. Instead our reaction is fear and instinctual reaction of creating more injury.
Peace comes but one person at time. Our world will not find peace until each individual feels that action of this one line: Where there is injury, pardon. Forgiving one another will hopefully be someday the knee jerk reaction we give, and not revenge and more.
This one phrase sums up salvation in the fullness of action. When we are able to Love as God loves, then we will have reached the full meaning of salvation. Salvation, in the eyes of God, is our turning to let the God, whose image we are, flow through us into the world, and act as the salvation of the world. That is the essence of Christ: he let God flow through his very being and reflected the Love of God for the world in every action. Jesus could say to the poor, “Your sins are forgiven,…. arise take up you pallet and walk.” (Matt. 9:5)
Love, and forgive: there is no more perfect way to live.
“And if I give all my possessions
to feed the poor, and if I
surrender my body to be burned,
but do not have love,
it profits me nothing.”
1 Corinthians 13:3
Questions to Ponder
Perhaps the most difficult act possible is to forgive another. How in your hear to you feel to those that have injured those that are close to you?
Perhaps a still more difficult question is: how have you forgiven yourself for your actions?
“Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.”
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