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Pope Francis Emphasizes the Power of Forgiveness in Healing Hearts

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In a profound address from the Vatican's Apostolic Palace on September 17, 2023, Pope Francis delivered a powerful message on the importance of forgiveness in our lives. He spoke to a gathering of the faithful in St. Peter's Square, highlighting how forgiveness has the capacity to heal the wounds of resentment and restore peace within our hearts.

Photo credit: Ashwin Vaswani

Photo credit: Ashwin Vaswani

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
9/18/2023 (7 months ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Pope Francis, forgiveness, healing, hearts, message

The Pope made it clear that forgiveness is not merely a virtuous act that one can choose to perform but rather a fundamental condition for those who profess the Christian faith. He emphasized, "Every one of us is 'forgiven' by God, who sacrificed His life for us, a mercy that knows no bounds. We can never fully repay this divine mercy, which God never withholds from His heart. However, by extending forgiveness to one another, we can bear witness to His grace, sowing new life and hope in the world around us."

Pope Francis passionately stated, "Outside of forgiveness, there is no hope; outside of forgiveness, there is no peace." He poignantly likened forgiveness to the oxygen that purifies the air tainted by hatred and heals the myriad afflictions of the heart that plague our society.

The Holy Father drew inspiration from the Bible, specifically the Gospel of Matthew, where Jesus responds to Peter's question about forgiveness. Peter had asked, "Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?" To which Jesus replied, "I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times" (Mt 18:21-22).

Pope Francis clarified Jesus' message, explaining that God's forgiveness knows no limits and exceeds all measure. God forgives out of boundless love and grace. "We cannot repay Him," the Pope emphasized, "but when we forgive a brother or sister, we imitate Him."

The Pope concluded his message with an invocation to Mary, the Mother of Mercy, asking her to help us receive God's grace and to find it within ourselves to forgive one another.

After leading the crowd in the Angelus prayer in Latin, Pope Francis shared his plans to travel to Marseille, France, on Friday. His purpose in attending the meeting of bishops from the Mediterranean region is to address the pressing issue of migration. Pope Francis characterized migration as a shared challenge that demands a collective response. He stressed that the future can only be prosperous if it is founded on fraternity and prioritizes human dignity, especially for those most in need.

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