Thursday, October 20, 2005
More Thinking About Hope  

During his general audience on Wednesday, Benedict XVI provided a commentary on Psalm 129. In his comments, he highlighted the basis of our hope which is that God "is always ready to forgive and to be reconciled with sinners":
Today I would like to reflect with you on the "De Profundis," Psalm 129, one of the best-known penitential psalms. It is a celebration of the mercy of God, who is always ready to forgive and to be reconciled with sinners. Even from the depths of his suffering, the psalmist recognizes that God is a loving Father, and for this he reveres him.

From this confidence in God's love springs hope, both for the individual and for the whole people of Israel. Even though they often sin against him, the Lord has redeemed them from slavery and from "all their iniquity."

St. Ambrose, in his Commentary, reminds us that God not only forgives our sins when we confess to him, but he gives us new and unexpected graces. For example, Zechariah, father of John the Baptist, not only had his speech restored when he repented of his doubt, but he was granted the gift of prophecy.

St. Ambrose says this: "Never lose hope in divine forgiveness, however great your sin. With God there can always be a change of heart, if you acknowledge your offense."
These are powerful words on which to meditate because they provide a true understanding of our hope. Our hope is in the Lord Who alone can take away our sin and give us the grace to live a holy life. The strength of this message is that God Whom we have offended with our sins is the same one who longs to absolve us of our sins. On a human level, it would be rare to find someone who would long to forgive the person who has deeply offended him. Instead most of us long to see the meeting out of justice to the person who has really wronged us.

God calls us to forgive even as He forgives. He calls us to be people who provide hope because we demonstrate the forgiveness that He longs to share with each of us. It is probably the most difficult task He asks us to do because there are so many things that we do to one another that we naturally have no desire to forgive. However, God considers it so important that He tells us that if we do not forgive, we will not be forgiven.
Forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us
Perhaps it is so important for us to forgive because if we do not forgive, we do not give hope. Instead, by not forgiving, we communicate that there just might not be any hope for someone because there is an offense that cannot be forgiven. Thank God that is not true. If I believe in this message of hope, the question I must ask myself is whether by my actions I am communicating to others that God does indeed desire to forgive us our sins, or am I just giving the person more reason to be without hope.

Posted by David at 2:00 AM  |  Comments (0)  | Link


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