The Forgiveness of Offenses
Friday, 4:45 p.m.: Francis, eight years old, arrives home. He puts down his backpack, gives it a kick, and says in anger:
“I’ll show Paul on Monday!”
“What is it?” asks his mother.
“Oh, he treated me like an idiot! At recess, in front of all the boys, he said that I am worthless in dictation and everyone made fun of me! Oh yes, I will get revenge!”
His mother listens in silence. She knows her youngest child and his tantrums. Better to be quiet for the moment, because in this state, Francis is not capable of reasonable judgment.
That night, at 8:00 p.m., Francis is in bed and is waiting for his mother’s kiss goodnight. She enters the bedroom, sits down on the edge of his bed and tells him gently:
Francis, tell me again what happened at recess.
The boy, appeased, repeats to her his whole story.
“It is true, it was not good on the part of Paul. But I know you! I know you have a good heart! Isn’t it right that you will forgive him?”
“Oh no, Mama, I have had enough! This time I cannot forgive him,” exclaims Francis.
With a serious and sad demeanor, his mother leaves the bedroom, making a resolution to recite a rosary for this intention, rather than talking to her cousin on the phone for half an hour, as she had planned.
The next day at 8:30 p.m., his mother enters Francis’ bedroom, as she is accustomed to do. They pray together an Our Father. After the words: Give us this day our daily bread—his mother interrupts the prayer.
“Francis, you do not have the right to continue the prayer, I will finish it alone.”
And with much fervor, she says the following words: “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
Francis is conquered. He understands the lesson…and his mother experiences once again the power of the rosary.
Give the Example
Dear parents, it is your example that will help your children to practice virtue and forgive injuries. When he makes a mistake, punish him if he merits it, then do not speak of it again. To pardon means to forget, not to go back to the failures that have been repaired. Our Lord Jesus Christ is always ready to forgive. Each time that we enter the confessional, He waits for us with mercy, and if we regret our faults, He never lets us leave without pardon, even if they are the same sins, and even if they are grave sins. Your indulgence will help your children to better understand the mercy of God.
A good lesson for children is also to note that their parents pardon each other. Mother waits for her husband for the evening meal that she has prepared with so much love. Father is late coming home and the children see that this annoys their mother, who fears that the meat will be too tough if it is not served at the appointed time.
Ten minutes later, Father finally arrives: “Excuse me, Dear, to have made you wait. I had an important project to finish, I completed it as quickly as possible.”
He has such a contrite demeanor that his wife bursts out laughing. Every cloud is dispelled.
The attitude of parents in regard to disagreeable persons will also help their children to pardon their less congenial comrades. Oh yes, that neighbor who makes fun of you from time to time when you go to Mass…She starts to watch the car drive off with a large ironic smile, and the children start speaking of it animatedly.
Their voices get louder, and Father intervenes: “Children, don’t occupy yourselves with gossiping! She is an unhappy woman who lives without God. Let us not judge her, but pray an Our Father for her!
The forgiveness of offenses demands a generous heart. “Holy Mary, give us a faithful and generous heart, which forgets no favor and holds no grudge…a great, invincible heart, which no ingratitude can close, and no indifference weary!”