Monday 19th February
Luke 7:48 And he said to her: “Your sins are forgiven.”
If Lent begins with an emphasis upon confessing and repenting of sin;
the underlying theme of the season and of Holy Week
is God’s compassionate mercy and forgiveness.
We enter into this process of repentance not to earn God’s forgiveness,
but in response to the forgiveness that is already ours.
God does not need our repentance in order to forgive, God forgives simply because God is God, and it is God’s nature to forgive.
Our repentance and saying sorry is to receive the gift that is already ours.
Mercy is at the heart of God, and our relationship with God.
The reason we can face confidently the darker side of our nature
is because we can be confident that we are understood and forgiven.
Because of that forgiveness we can grow through our mistakes,
and learn to love because of our vulnerability and weakness.
May this Lenten journey teach us to love ourselves as God loves us.
The Cistercian monk, Thomas Merton once described God as:
“Mercy, within Mercy, within Mercy”.
A beautiful description of God, but one we so easily forget
and need to remind ourselves of time and time again.
Tuesday 20th February
Luke 11:4 Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Yesterday’s reflection on knowing ourselves to be forgiven,
Brings with it the responsibility to share that gift with others,
especially those we find it difficult to forgive.
“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”.
Forgiving those who hurt us is not easy, but it is what we are called to do.
Forgiveness is not something we can turn on like a tap,
and often it is a process that we have to work hard at.
We begin with a willingness to forgive, even if we still feel resentment;
we then spend time slowly working to soften that resentment we feel,
seeking to find sympathy and understanding for those who have hurt us.
It can be a long hard journey, but a worthwhile one;
one from which we benefit more than anyone else.
As we make this holy journey to Easter, and embrace God’s forgiveness,
is there someone that we need to begin this process with?
I remember Archbishop Desmond Tutu once saying
that forgiveness is God’s business.
We may find it hard to forgive sometimes but God never does.
We probably need to stop trying so hard to forgive from our own strength alone
and align ourselves with God’s forgiveness,
and allow that to loosen the grip of our resentment.
To place ourselves in that stream of mercy, within mercy, within mercy,
and allow it to sooth and heal our resentment
and make it possible for mercy and forgiveness to flow through us.