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Christian Prayer

683

Spirit by whom we live can make “ours” the same mind that was

in Christ Jesus.

140

Then the unity of forgiveness becomes possible

and we find ourselves “forgiving one another,

as

God in Christ

forgave” us.

141

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Thus the Lord’s words on forgiveness, the love that loves

to the end,

142

become a living reality. The parable of the merciless

servant, which crowns the Lord’s teaching on ecclesial commun­

ion, ends with these words: “So also my heavenly Father will do

to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your

heart.”

143

It is there, in fact, “in the depths of the

heart,

” that

everything is bound and loosed. It is not in our power not to feel

or to forget an offense; but the heart that offers itself to the Holy

Spirit turns injury into compassion and purifies the memory in

transforming the hurt into intercession.

2844

Christian prayer extends to the

forgiveness of enemies,

144

transfiguring the disciple by configuring him to his Master. For­

giveness is a high-point of Christian prayer; only hearts attuned to

God’s compassion can receive the gift of prayer. Forgiveness also

bears witness that, in our world, love is stronger than sin. The mar­

tyrs of yesterday and today bear this witness to Jesus. Forgiveness

is the fundamental condition of the reconciliation of the children

of God with their Father and of men with one another.

145

2845

There is no limit or measure to this essentially divine

forgiveness,

146

whether one speaks of “sins” as in

Luke

(11:4), or

“debts” as in

Matthew

(6:12). We are always debtors: “Owe no one

anything, except to love one another.”

147

The communion of the

Holy Trinity is the source and criterion of truth in every relation­

ship. It is lived out in prayer, above all in the Eucharist.

148

God does not accept the sacrifice of a sower of disunion, but

commands that he depart from the altar so that he may first

be reconciledwith his brother. For God can be appeased only

by prayers that make peace. To God, the better offering is

peace, brotherly concord, and a peoplemade one in the unity

of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

149

140 Cf.

Gal

5:25;

Phil

2:1, 5.

141

Eph

4:32.

142 Cf.

Jn

13:1.

143 Cf.

Mt

18:23-35.

144 Cf.

Mt

5:43-44.

145 Cf.

2 Cor

5:18-21; John Paul II,

DM

14.

146 Cf.

Mt

18:21-22;

Lk

17:3-4.

147

Rom

13:8.

148 Cf.

Mt

5:23-24;

1 Jn

3:19-24.

149 St. Cyprian,

De Dom. orat.

23: PL 4, 535-536; cf.

Mt

5:24.

368

2262

1441