Franciscan Spirit Blog

Lent with St. Francis: Forgive. Then Forgive Again.

Tuesday of the Third Week of Lent

Daniel 3:25, 34–43;
Psalm 25:4bc–5ab, 6, 7bc, 8–9;
Matthew 18:21–35

“Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive?” —Matthew 18:21

Forgiveness is quite possibly the most difficult and yet essential action necessary for anyone living in community. Unless we’re hermits, that includes all of us.

One day two of the brothers came upon a madman who started throwing stones at them; and when one saw a stone aimed at the other he intercepted it, wishing rather to receive the blow himself. Indeed, each was ready to give his life for the other. This and similar things were possible because they were so deeply rooted in mutual love: each one humbly reverenced his brother as a father or mother; and those brothers who held some office, or were distinguished by some special gift appeared the most humble and unpretentious of all….

Each brother studied to oppose any vice with the opposite virtue, helped and guided by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Nothing was considered as private property; any book given to one brother was used by all according to the rule observed and handed down by the Apostles; because the brothers lived in true poverty they were correspondingly generous and openhanded with everything given them for love of God. For love of him they gladly gave to all who asked something of them, and especially they handed on to the poor any alms they received.

Life in community always has its rough spots. But as with the Gospel, the ideal is always there, difficult as it is. We need to hear Jesus’s words about forgiveness until we stop asking the question, “How often must I forgive?”


Pure and holy Simplicity puts all the learning of this
world, all natural wisdom, to shame.
Holy Poverty puts to shame all greed, avarice, and all
the anxieties of this life. Amen.

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