Forgive As We Are Forgiven, 2007
Thomas A. Droleskey
me, Deus, et discerne causam meam de gente non sancta: ab homine iniquo
et doloso erue me: quia tu es Deus meus et fortitudo mea. Quare mea: quare me repulisti, et quare tristis incedo, dum affligit me iminicus. Emitte lucem
tuam, et veritatem tuam: ipsa me deduexerunt, et adduxerunt in montem
sanctum tuum, et in tabernacula tua.
me, O God, and distinguish my cause against an ungodly nation: O deliver
me from the unjust and deceitful man: for Thou art my God and my strength.
Why has thou cast me off? and why do I go sorrowful whilst the enemy afflicteth me. O send out Thy light and Thy truth: they have led me and brought me
unto Thy holy hill, even unto Thy tabernacles. (Psalm 42:1-2)
Passiontide begans with First Vespers last night, Saturday, March 24, 2007. Today Passion Sunday. We are to intensify our
meditation upon the events leading up to Our Lord's Passion and Death,
calling to mind how our own sins caused the Second Person of the Blessed
Trinity made Man in Our Lady's Virginal and Immaculate Womb to suffer unspeakable horrors in His Sacred Humanity.
for Passion Sunday is Psalm 42, which is prayed by a priest at the foot
of the steps of the altar at every Traditional Latin Mass except for
Masses for the dead and the Masses offered during Passiontide. We want
our cause to be distinguished from those who are unjust and deceitful.
We want to rely upon the strength and the light given us by Our Lord
to be led up the holy hill of Calvary on a daily basis so that we might
more worthily Him in Holy Communion and bear more willingly the crosses
we are asked to bear without complaint, indeed bearing them in imitation
of Him and of His Most Blessed Mother, who suffered in total communion
with Him during His Passion and Death. Just as Septuagesima Sunday ushered
in a period of preparation for the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday,
so is it the case that Passion Sunday ushers in a final week of preparation
for Holy Week, which begins on Palm Sunday. We should be earnest about
intensifying our Lenten practices, especially by seeking out the Mercy
of the Divine Redeemer in the Sacred Tribunal of Penance.
We must meditate upon the full extent
of the spiritual agony Our Lord experienced during His Passion and Death.
He, the one mediator between His Co-Eternal Father and man, had to pay
back in His Sacred Humanity the blood debt of our own sins to Himself
in His Sacred Divinity as God. Our Lady, the Co-Redemptrix and the Mediatrix
of all graces, suffered completely with the Word Who was made Flesh
in her Virginal and Immaculate womb, having as a result of her Immaculate
Conception a perfection communion of her Immaculate Heart with her Divine
Son's Sacred Heart. Only a handful of genuine, certified mystics, such as Saint Bridget of Sweden and Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich, have
been permitted by Our Lord and His Blessed Mother to even begin to penetrate
the depth of this suffering. The rest of us have to pray to grasp at
least some of the horrors of this suffering by using our puny, finite
minds and by spending time before the Blessed Sacrament in fervent prayer
and reading solid books that give us some small clues as to what our
sins caused the Divine Redeemer and His Most Blessed Mother to suffer
in our behalves.
Our Lord fulfilled
the Father's will in order to save us from the guilt of our own sins
and to make it possible for us to be the beneficiaries of the fruits
of His Redemptive Act, administered to us by the working of the Holy
Ghost in the sacraments and by means of actual grace. Although He suffered
unjustly by repaying a debt that was not His own, He extended mercy
to His executioners, namely, each one of us, as He hung on the gibbet
known as the Holy Cross. It is this unmerited mercy that we hope and
pray will be extended to us if we, having cooperated with the graces
He won for us on Calvary, persevere until our dying breaths in states
of sanctifying grace. We do not merit Heaven. We do not merit God's
mercy and forgiveness, which are freely bestowed upon us in this life
if we seek them out with a sincere and contrite heart in the hospital
of Divine Mercy that is the confessional.
was one of the hallmarks of Our Lord's Public Ministry. The Pater
Noster, which includes seven specific petitions, teaches us that
we must forgive others as we ourselves have been forgiven by the Divine
Redeemer. Et dimmite nobis debita nostra, sicut et nos dimmitimus
debitoribus nostris. And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive
those who trespass against us. Those words are exact and precise.
We must forgive others with the same degree of depth and spontaneity
that Our Lord forgives us when we make a good, humble and contrite confession
of our sins in the Sacrament of Penance. There is nothing that anyone
can do to us or say about us that is in the slightest bit the equal
of what one of our least venial sins caused Our Lord to suffer in His
Sacred Humanity during His Passion and Death. If He forgives us, who
merit only condemnation and death because of our sins, so freely as
the fruits of His Redemptive Act are applied to us who seek them out,
then who are we to withhold, even for one moment, complete and total
forgiveness to those who transgress against us?
We must forgive our
family members when they misunderstand us. We must forgive complete
strangers who assign to us the basest of motives when they write or
speak about us or our work, understanding there is much merit to be
earned if we patiently endure calumny and detraction and humiliation and outright rejection in order to await
the manifestation of the intentions of all hearts at the General Judgment
of the Living and the Dead on the Last Day. So what if either a relative
or a stranger attacks us unjustly and misunderstands us or our work?
So what? So what if a friend of longstanding decides to end a friendship? So what if people gossip about us? So what if even relatives and former friends consider us crazy for our embrace of Tradition without compromise? Painful? Sure. So was the Cross of the Divine Redeemer. Our focus at all times must be so entirely supernatural that
we have the same spirit of ready forgiveness and an earnest recourse
to fervent prayer whenever we have been done an injustice, content indeed
to wait until the Last Day for the intentions of all hearts to be laid
We must even
forgive those in public life who are sworn enemies of the true Church,
outside of which there is no salvation. We must forgive the enemies
of Christ who are masquerading as "shepherds" within the confines of the conciliar church. We must not
only forgive these people who we may never meet personally but we must
pray for them. Fervently. Ceaselessly.
of saying three Ave Marias each morning upon arising and each
night upon retiring (adding "O Blessed Mother, help us to be like
thee") is certainly one that we should rekindle as a means of making
reparation for the harm to souls done by those in public life and in
the counterfeit church of conciliarism who are promoting things contrary to the Deposit of Faith
and to the patrimony of her authentic Tradition, to say nothing of a
means to convert these people. Those of us who are totally consecrated
to Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart know that she will use
the fruit of our prayers and merits as she sees fit for ourselves and
those we pray for. As her consecrated slaves, we give her everything
to be disposed of as she sees fit for the honor and glory of the Blessed
Trinity and for the sanctification and salvation of human souls.
have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and
hate thy enemy. But I say to you, Love your enemies: do good to them
that hate you: and pray for them that persecute and calumniate you:
That you may be the children of your Father who is in heaven, who maketh
his sun to rise upon the good, and the bad, and raineth upon the just
and the unjust. For if you love them that love you, what reward shall
you have? Do not even the publicans do this? And if you salute your
brethren only, what do you more? Do not also the heathens do this? Be
you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect." (Mt. 5:43-48)
Our love for
others must be an imitation of God's love for us, which is not a mere
expression of sentimentality. God's love for us is an act of His Divine
Will. God wills our good, the ultimate expression of which is the salvation
of our immortal souls. We love no one authentically if we do or say
anything, by omission or commission, which in anyway interferes with
the salvation of his immortal soul. We must will, therefore, this good
for all men and women in the world. We must pray for the conversion
of everyone on this planet who is alive at present to the One, Holy,
Catholic and Apostolic Church, doing so regardless of the degree of
hostility they might have for us and/or for the Church at the moment
we offer our prayers for them. We are in need of constant conversion.
We are in need of prayers from others. We are in need
of making reparation for our own many sins. We are in need
of seeking forgiveness both from God in the Sacrament of Penance and
from others. What a salutary thing it is, therefore, for us to put aside
grudges and resentments and to offer forgiveness right readily, to quote
Saint Thomas More, and to pray to the Immaculate Heart of Mary that
all people will come to be totally consecrated to her so that they will
know the Divine Mercy that flows from her Son's Sacred Heart.
It may be necessary
for us to remonstrate with others because of something they have said
or done. One of the Spiritual Works of Mercy is to admonish the sinner.
When such a situation presents itself, we must offer a word of correction
without the slightest trace of righteousness. However, we must understand
that there is the possibility that our obligation to comply with the
injunction to admonish a sinner carries with it the possibility that
we will be misunderstood and/or rejected, resented and reviled. If such
an admonishment goes badly, then all we can do is to pray, hoping that
the one who has been admonished will respond to the promptings of grace
to have a change of heart. We must be careful never to condemn a person
as we condemn the sinful things a person does. Our Lord taught this
when He forgave Saint Mary Magdalene when she was caught in adultery:
Jesus lifting up Himself, said to her: 'Woman, where are they that accused
thee? Hath no man condemned thee?' Who said: 'No man, Lord.' And Jesus
said: 'Neither will I condemn thee. Go, and now sin no more.'" (Jn. 10-11)
Lord forgave His friend, understanding the weakness of fallen human nature.
However, he did not reaffirm her in her sins. It is no act of "compassion"
or "tolerance" to reaffirm someone in a life of unrepentant
mortal sins. We cannot be a disciple of Our Lord and be indifferent
to the effects of sin on the souls of ourselves or those who God's Providence
places in our lives. It is a fundamental act of both charity and justice
to lead such souls into the Church if they are outside of her sheepfold
and to lead those who have strayed back into the confessional. If we
understand our own need for mercy and forgiveness, then we will be better
able to help others who do not at first glance recognize their own need
for same to became mendicants in the Sacrament of Penance and to make
a firm purpose of amendment to reform their lives.
Father Edward Leen's In the Likeness of Christ discussed the lack of mercy prior to Our Lord's Incarnation and His Redemptive Act on the wood of the Holy Cross. We must show mercy to others in order to receive Divine Mercy.
"Under the reign of Satan men were hard and unfeeling, without pity or tenderness. The one thing they looked up to was the physical power to dominate, and the one thing they feared was the helplessness of poverty. Their life was divided between pleasure and cruelty.... Conversion of heart was for them extremely difficult. What God required on the part of man as a necessary condition of their friendship with Him was to them abhorrent, for the practice of the Christian virtues of submission, humility, and patience would be regarded by them as degrading."
of the disputes we encounter in life that result in the holding of grudges
and the nurturing of resentments are pretty petty. Even if they are
more significant and more frequent than we think beyond our capacity
to forgive, we must remember the exchange between Saint Peter and Our
Peter came unto Him and said: 'Lord, how often shall my brother offend
against me, and I forgive him? Till seven times.'
saith to him: 'I say not to thee, till seven times; but till seventy
times seven times.'
" 'Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened to a king, who would take
account of his servants. And when he had begun to take the account,
one was brought to him, that owed him ten thousand talents. And as he
had not wherewithal to pay it, his lord commanded that he should be
sold, and his wife and children all that he had, and payment to be made.
'But that servant falling down, besought him, saying: "Have patience
with me, and I will pay thee all." And the lord of that servant
being moved with pity, let him go and forgave him the debt.
'But when that servant was gone out, he found one of his fellow servants
that owed him an hundred pence: and laying hold of him, he throttled
him, saying: "Pay what thou owest." And his fellow servant
falling down, besought him, saying: "Have patience with me, and
I will pay thee all." And he would not: but went and cast him into
prison, till he paid the debt.
'Now his fellow servants seeing what was done were very much grieved,
and they came and told their lord all that was done. Then his lord called
him; and said to him: "Thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all
the debt, because thou besoughtest me: Shouldst not thou then have had
compassion on thy fellow servant, even as I had compassion on thee?" And his lord being angry, delivered him to the torturers until he paid
all the debt.
'So also shall my heavenly Father do to you, if you forgive not every
one his brother from your hearts.'" (Lk. 18: 21-35)
These words are pretty
plain. We must forgive everyone. We must seek forgiveness from
those to whom we have done injustices. This does not mean that we have
restore someone who has hurt us to an intimate friendship or that we
cannot seek justice without malice or recrimination when a situation
demands. It does mean, however, that we must have hearts that
are so closely bound to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred
Heart of Jesus that we never surrender to the temptation to think that
we are so important or that some hurt is so significant that we have
license therefore to be exempt from the parable of Our Lord that Saint
Luke recorded in his Gospel. And we must be ready to forgive others
with the generosity of the father in the Parable of the Prodigal Son.
This is not an option in the interior life of a Catholic. It is nothing
other than a Divine command for us to obey lest we not be forgiven our
own sins by God.
Father Leen upon the fact that each of us hurts and disappoints others, which is why we must be so ready to forgive in the likeness of Our Lord Himself:
"In other words, it is the law of things as they actually are that we must continually suffer from others; it is the condition of our being that we shall be the victims of others' abuse of their free wills; it belongs to our position that our desires and inclinations should be continually thwarted and that we should be at the mercy of circumstances. And it is our duty to bear that without resentment and without rebellion. To rebel is to assert practically that such things are not our due, that they do not belong to our position. It is to refuse to recognize that we are fallen members of a fallen race. The moment we feel resentment at anything painful that happens to us through the activity of men or things, at that moment we are resentful against God's Providence.
"We are in this really protesting against His eternal determination to create free beings; for these sufferings which we endure are a consequence of the carrying into effect of that free determination. If we expect or look for a mode of existence in which we shall not endure harshness, unkindness, misunderstanding, and injustice, we are actually rebelling against God's Providence, we are claiming a position that does not belong to us as creatures. This is to sin against humility. It is pride."
To accept the reality of our lives is to accept God's Providence. We must be grieved because of our sins. But we cannot take back our actions. There is no taking back what is in the past. It is done. We need to be chastened by our misdeeds, to resolve to love God and others, and not to give in to the devil's desire to use a sense of sorrow for sin as a means to withdraw from the work God expects us to do. To learn from the passing of time in one's life is not to give rise to discouragement or despair. It is not to harden our hearts toward ourselves-or toward those who may have offended us. Moreover, to learn from the passing of time in one's life is to trust more fully in God's mercy.
As Father Leen noted:
"It is true that He cannot but look with hatred on sin, and that He cannot love us insofar as we are sinners. But He can, and does, love us for any little good that remains in us, and above all He loves us for what we can possibly become if we respond to the pressing appeals of His grace. He does not love sin, but He does love those who are sinners, and He never shrinks from contact with us, or from our contact with Him, as long as there remains the possibility of our rejecting that which is displeasing in His sight. It is to wrong Him to think otherwise; and the Devil never has got a fully decisive victory over a soul until he has robbed it of full confidence in the inexhaustible goodness of the Heart of Jesus to the wayward, the faithless, and the sinful. And not the very gravest of our infidelities inflict so cruel a wound on that Heart, as is that wound that is inflicted on it when we doubt of its tenderness and mercy.
"Those who came into contact with Him whilst He lived on earth never had this attitude of fear toward Him, even when they recognized His awe-inspiring holiness. In spite of the consciousness of grave sin that many who approached Him must have had, we see no trace in their dealings with Him of their having a tendency to shrink from His presence or to dread His approach. . . . It is evident that not only did the Savior show a habitual readiness to forgive sin, but He must have exhibited such graciousness, tenderness, sympathy, and kindness toward sinners that it caused comments and criticism amongst the rigidly righteous [the Pharisees]. . . .
"But when it is a question of the soul and the soul's life-of its nearness to or remoteness from God, there are no limits to be placed to the extent of His anxious tenderness. Hence, His almost extravagant joy when the sinful or the lukewarm, surrendering to the assaults of His grace, turn to Him appealingly and cast themselves at His feet with a sincere confession of their helplessness and a humble appeal for help. The acknowledgment of our powerlessness leaves Him, as it were, powerless to resist our entreaties."
One of the concrete
things we can do this Passiontide, therefore, is to offer a word or
two of forgiveness to someone who has hurt us--and to seek such forgiveness
out from others we may have hurt. A person to whom we offer forgiveness
might reject our offer and remain steadfast in a spirit of self-righteous
resentment; a person from whom we seek forgiveness may refuse to give
it to us. Nevertheless, we must make the effort, understanding once
again that nothing is ever wasted with God. No prayer is ever wasted.
No effort to offer forgiveness or to seek it is ever made in vain. For
even if nothing is seen to result in human terms, we must, as noted
above, trust that Our Lady will use what we give her in ways that might
be made manifest to us only in eternity.
for today's Mass reminds us that Our Lord proclaimed Himself in no uncertain
terms to be God. "Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham was
made, I AM." The Second Person of the Blessed Trinity became man
in Our Lady's Virginal and Ommaculate womb to redeem us on the wood
of the Cross by paying back in His Sacred Humanity the debt of
sin that we owed to Him in His Infinity as God. We owe it Him, therefore,
to seek out His mercy with humility and to be administers of it to others
without reservation and without counting the cost. If God in the Flesh
could forgive His very executioners, who were the human instruments
at one point in time by which all human sins took their toll upon His
Body, then we can and must forgive all others.
May Our Lady,
the Queen of Mercy, help us to have a blessed Passiontide so that we
might be ready to enter into the Easter Triduum in a spirit of solemn
remembrance of the events of her Divine Son's Passion, Death, and Resurrection,
which are made present in an unbloody matter on altars of Sacrifice
on every day but Good Friday.
Vivat Christus Rex!
Viva Cristo Rey!
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Jude, pray for us.
Saint John the Beloved, pray for us.
Saint Frances of Rome, pray for us.
Saint John Bosco, pray for us.
Saint Dominic Savio, pray for us.
Saint John of God, pray for us.
Saint Scholastica, pray for us.
Saint Benedict, pray for us.
Saint Anthony of Padua, pray for us.
Saint Francis of Assisi, pray for us.
Saint Thomas Aquinas, pray for us.
Saint Bonaventure, pray for us.
Saint Augustine, pray for us.
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, pray for us.
Saint Francis Xavier, pray for us.
Saint Peter Damian, pray for us.
Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, pray for us.
Saint Lucy, pray for us.
Saint Monica, pray for us.
Saint Agatha, pray for us.
Saint Philomena, pray for us.
Saint Cecilia, pray for us.
Saint John Mary Vianney, pray for us.
Saint Vincent de Paul, pray for us.
Saint Vincent Ferrer, pray for us.
Saint Athanasius, pray for us.
Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, pray for us.
Saint Isaac Jogues, pray for us.
Saint Rene Goupil, pray for us.
Saint John Lalonde, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel Lalemont, pray for us.
Saint Noel Chabanel, pray for us.
Saint Charles Garnier, pray for us.
Saint Anthony Daniel, pray for us.
Saint John DeBrebeuf, pray for us.
Saint Alphonsus de Liguori, pray for us.
Saint Dominic, pray for us.
Saint Hyacinth, pray for us.
Saint Basil, pray for us.
Saint Vincent Ferrer, pray for us.
Saint Sebastian, pray for us.
Saint Tarcisius, pray for us.
Saint Bridget of Sweden, pray for us.
Saint Gerard Majella, pray for us.
Saint John of the Cross, pray for us.
Saint Teresa of Avila, pray for us.
Saint Bernadette Soubirous, pray for us.
Saint Genevieve, pray for us.
Saint Vincent de Paul, pray for us.
Pope Saint Pius X, pray for us
Pope Saint Pius V, pray for us.
Saint Rita of Cascia, pray for us.
Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich, pray for us.
Venerable Pauline Jaricot, pray for us.
Father Miguel Augustin Pro, pray for us.
Francisco Marto, pray for us.
Jacinta Marto, pray for us.
Juan Diego, pray for us.
The Longer Version of the Saint Michael the Archangel Prayer, composed by Pope Leo XIII, 1888
O glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Prince of the heavenly host, be our defense in the terrible warfare which we carry on against principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, spirits of evil. Come to the aid of man, whom God created immortal, made in His own image and likeness, and redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of the devil. Fight this day the battle of our Lord, together with the holy angels, as already thou hast fought the leader of the proud angels, Lucifer, and his apostate host, who were powerless to resist thee, nor was there place for them any longer in heaven. That cruel, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil or Satan who seduces the whole world, was cast into the abyss with his angels. Behold this primeval enemy and slayer of men has taken courage. Transformed into an angel of light, he wanders about with all the multitude of wicked spirits, invading the earth in order to blot out the Name of God and of His Christ, to seize upon, slay, and cast into eternal perdition, souls destined for the crown of eternal glory. That wicked dragon pours out. as a most impure flood, the venom of his malice on men of depraved mind and corrupt heart, the spirit of lying, of impiety, of blasphemy, and the pestilent breath of impurity, and of every vice and iniquity. These most crafty enemies have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness the Church, the spouse of the Immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on Her most sacred possessions. In the Holy Place itself, where has been set up the See of the most holy Peter and the Chair of Truth for the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck the sheep may be scattered. Arise then, O invincible Prince, bring help against the attacks of the lost spirits to the people of God, and give them the victory. They venerate thee as their protector and patron; in thee holy Church glories as her defense against the malicious powers of hell; to thee has God entrusted the souls of men to be established in heavenly beatitude. Oh, pray to the God of peace that He may put Satan under our feet, so far conquered that he may no longer be able to hold men in captivity and harm the Church. Offer our prayers in the sight of the Most High, so that they may quickly conciliate the mercies of the Lord; and beating down the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, do thou again make him captive in the abyss, that he may no longer seduce the nations. Amen.
Verse: Behold the Cross of the Lord; be scattered ye hostile powers.
Response: The Lion of the Tribe of Juda has conquered the root of David.
Verse: Let Thy mercies be upon us, O Lord.
Response: As we have hoped in Thee.
Verse: O Lord hear my prayer.
Response: And let my cry come unto Thee.
Verse: Let us pray. O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon Thy holy Name, and as suppliants, we implore Thy clemency, that by the intercession of Mary, ever Virgin, immaculate and our Mother, and of the glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Thou wouldst deign to help us against Satan and all other unclean spirits, who wander about the world for the injury of the human race and the ruin of our souls.