1998-08-31 - Forgiveness
Matthew 6:14-15 For if you forgive men for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.
An old beggar, known by the name Jacques, used to sit outside a church in Paris after the time of the revolution. He was gloomy and nasty. He was a beggar and would only bow his head a little to acknowledge someone who had put something in his little cup. Sometimes through his rags there could be seen a cross of gold which he wore around his neck.
One of the Fathers of the church would regularly pass the beggar and he always gave him something. Though Jacques did not know him he loved him because he was so kind.
After sometime Jacques was no longer seen in his normal place. The Father, thinking him ill, asked around to find out where he lived. He found Jacques very ill lying on a deplorable bed. "Ah" Jacques said, "Father, you are very good to come and see me. I do not deserve it."
"What do you say? My good man, do not you know that a Priest is the friend of all sufferers? Besides, we are old acquaintances." "O sir", said Jacques, "if you knew, you would not speak to me thus! I am a wretch! I am under a curse!" "Ah, my friend, say not such things. If you have done wrong, confess, repent: there is mercy for all repenting sinners."
"O, no, I shall never be forgiven!"
"Why do you not repent?"
"Indeed, indeed, I do! I have repented these thirty years; but still the curse is on me."
The Priest tried to console and encourage him; but it was long before he prevailed upon the poor man to reveal the dreadful mystery. At last he was brought to reveal the sin that lay so heavy on his conscience, and thus he spoke:--
"Before the time of the great Revolution, I was a steward of a rich family. My employers were most excellent persons, the Count and Countess, their two daughters, and their son. I owed everything to them. The reign of terror came. I denounced them in order to get their wealth. All were condemned to death, all but the little boy Paul, who was too young. I heard the sentence; I saw them enter the cart; I saw their four heads fall! Monster that I was, monster that I am, I have since not had a moment's peace. This crucifix was my master's; this little gold cross belonged to my mistress. O, father, pity me, pray for me; do not forsake me!"
The Priest rose from his knees, pale as death, and slowly approached the curtain. The Priest was in tears. "Jacques," he said, "let me hear your confession." When it was finished, he said, "As the messenger of Heaven, in the name of Him who forgives true penitents, for His sake, I forgive you the murder of my father, my mother, and my two sisters."
Matthew 18:21-22 Then Peter came and said to Him, "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.
Soli Deo Gloria,