03/06/2018, 15.15
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Pope: God forgives us as long as we recognise ourselves as sinners and forgive others

“Accusing oneself is part of Christian wisdom; not accusing others,” the pontiff said. “Two things will help us understand the path of forgiveness: 'You are great Lord; unfortunately, I have sinned,' and 'Yes, I forgive you, seventy times seven, as long as you forgive others'."

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – God forgives us as long as we recognise ourselves as sinners and forgive others, said Pope Francis during the Mass he celebrated this morning at Casa Santa Marta.

In his homily, he commented the First Reading from the Book of Daniel in which Azariah, who was thrown into a burning furnace for refusing to deny the Lord, does not complain to God about the treatment inflicted upon him, nor blames Him. Instead, he reiterates his loyalty and continues to profess the greatness of God and goes to the root of evil. "You have always saved us, and yet sadly we have sinned," he said. He accuses himself and his people.

For Francis: “Accusing ourselves is the first step towards forgiveness. [. . .] Accusing oneself is part of Christian wisdom; not accusing others, no . . .  [Accusing] Ourselves. [Saying] I have sinned. And when we approach the sacrament of penance [we must] keep this in mind: Great God who gave us so many things, unfortunately I have sinned, I have offended the Lord and ask for salvation."

The pontiff then mentioned the story of a woman who talked a lot about her mother-in-law’s sins at the confessional, trying to justify herself, until the priest told her: "Okay, now confess your sins". The “Lord likes this because the Lord is open to the contrite heart, for, like with Azariah, 'There is no disappointment for those who confide in you'. A contrite heart tells the truth to the Lord: 'I did this Lord. I have sinned against You. [But] The Lord holds his mouth, like the father with the prodigal son, does not let him talk. His love covers him. He forgives everything."

Francis calls upon us not to be ashamed, but to own up to our sins because the Lord justifies us by forgiving us not once, but always; on one condition though: "God’s forgiveness is strong in us as long as we forgive others. And this is not easy because rancour can nest in our heart and there is always such bitterness. So many times, we carry with ourselves the list of things [others] have done to me: This one did that to me; that did this, and so on”.

In wrapping up, the Holy Father noted that "Two things will help us understand the path of forgiveness: 'You are great Lord; unfortunately, I have sinned,' and 'Yes, I forgive you, seventy times seven, as long as you forgive others'."

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