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Thought for the Day – 8 March – Blessed are the Merciful – Matthew 18:21-35

Thought for the Day – 8 March – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

Blessed are the Merciful

If we want God to show mercy to us, we must be merciful to those who are in material or spiritual distress.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Mt 5:7)

Let us recall the Gospel parable about the king who was making out the accounts of all his servants.
One man was brought before him who owed him the enormous sum of ten thousand talents.
He had no means of paying the debt.
In order to obtain at least some compensation, the king ordered that this servant should be sold, together with his wife and children.
But the servant wept and implored, so that the king was moved with pity and pardoned him completely.
When the servant had left the king’s presence, he met a fellow servant who owed him a small sum, namely, one hundred pieces of silver.
He threw himself angrily upon him immediately.
The unfortunate fellow began begging for mercy with tears in his eyes but, it was no use.
He was flung into prison and condemned to forced labour until such time as the debt would be paid.
Soon afterwards, the king came to hear of this incident.
He was furious with the cruel servant and ordered him to be put in prison and severely punished (Mt 18:23-25).

This parable refers to all of us.
What debts we have contracted before God!
Nevertheless, He is prepared to forgive us everything, provided that we are also merciful towards our fellowmen.
This should be a comforting assurance.

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

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One Minute Reflection – 9 March – ‘A poor man is begging from you and you are begging from God …’ Matthew 18:21-35

One Minute Reflection – 9 March – Tuesday of the Third week of Lent, Readings: Daniel 3:2534-43Psalms 25:4-56 and 78 and 9Matthew 18:21-35 and the Memorial of St Frances of Rome (1384-1440)

“Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?” …Matthew 18:33

REFLECTION – “What is human mercy like? It makes you concerned for the hardship of the poor. What is divine mercy like? It forgives sinners…
In this world God is cold and hungry in all the poor, as He Himself said (Mt 25:40)… What sort of people are we? When God gives, we want to receive, when He asks, we refuse to give? When a poor man is hungry, Christ is in need, as He said Himself: “I was hungry and you gave me no food” (v. 42). Take care not to despise the hardship of the poor, if you would hope, without fear, to have your sins forgiven…
What He receives on earth He returns in heaven.
I put you this question, dearly beloved – what is it you want, what is it you are looking for, when you come to Church? What indeed if not mercy? Show mercy on earth and you will receive mercy in heaven. A poor man is begging from you and you are begging from God, he asks for a scrap, you ask for eternal life… And so, when you come to Church, give whatever alms you can to the poo,r in accordance with your means.” – St Caesarius of Arles (470-543) Sermon 25

PRAYER – Infinite Lord, help me to serve You always in accord with Your holy will. Show us how to make You our Lord and our All. St Frances of Rome, you showed us all the way of holiness within the confines of our lives, always seeking to do the will of God and serve all His children, most especially those in need but remaining always true to the vows of your marriage. Please pray for us all, amen.

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One Minute Reflection – 13 September – Seventy times seven – Matthew 18:21-22

One Minute Reflection – 13 September – Twenty Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Readings: Sirach 27:30 – 28:7Psalms 103:1-23-49-1011-12Romans 14: 7-9Matthew 18:21-35 and the Memorial of St John Chrysostom (347-407) Doctor – “John of the Golden Mouth”

“Then Peter came up and said to him,
“Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me
and I forgive him?
As many as seven times?”
Jesus said to him,
“I do not say to you seven times
but seventy times seven.”
… Matthew 18:21-22

REFLECTION – “The perfection of brotherly love lies in the love of one’s enemies.
We can find no greater inspiration for this, than grateful remembrance of the wonderful patience of Christ. He who is more fair than all the sons of men, offered His fair face to be spat upon by sinful men. He allowed those eyes, that rule the universe, to be blindfolded by wicked men. He bared His back to the scourges. He submitted that head which strikes terror in principalities and powers, to the sharpness of the thorns. He gave Himself up to be mocked and reviled and, at the end, endured the cross, the nails, the lance, the gall, the vinegar, remaining always gentle, meek and full of peace. In short, He was led like a sheep to the slaughter and like a lamb before the shearers He kept silent and did not open his mouth.
Who could listen to that wonderful prayer, so full of warmth, of love, of unshakeable serenity – Father, forgive them – and hesitate to embrace his enemies with overflowing love?
Father, He says, forgive them. Is any gentleness, any love, lacking in this prayer?
Yet He put into it, something more. It was not enough to pray for them, He wanted also to make excuses for them. Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. They are great sinners, yes but they have little judgement, therefore, Father, forgive them. They are nailing Me to the cross but they do not know who It is that they are nailing to the cross, if they had known, they would never have Crucified the Lord of glory.
Therefore, Father, forgive them. They think it is a lawbreaker, an impostor claiming to be God, a seducer of the people. I have hidden My Face from them and they do not recognise My glory. Therefore, Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.

If someone wishes to love himself he must not allow himself to be corrupted by indulging his sinful nature.
If he wishes to resist the promptings of his sinful nature, he must enlarge the whole horizon of his love, to contemplate the loving gentleness of the humanity of the Lord.
Further, if he wishes to savour the joy of brotherly love with greater perfection and delight, he must extend even to his enemies the embrace of true love.
But if he wishes to prevent this fire of divine love from growing cold because of injuries received, let him keep the eyes of his soul always fixed on the serene patience of his beloved Lord and Saviour.” … St Aelred of Rievaulx (1110 – 1167)Speculum Caritatis 3,5

PRAYER – Lord God, strength of those who hope in You, by Your will, St John Chrysostom became renowned in the Church, for his astounding eloquence and his forbearance in persecution. Grant that we may be enriched by his teaching and thus grow in sanctity, to follow the commandments You set forth in Your Word, Your Son who is our Saviour and Redeemer. By the prayers of St John Chrysostom, may we attain the place You have prepared for us. We make our prayer through Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit, one God, forever amen.

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One Minute Reflection – 18 March – 70 x 7

One Minute Reflection – 18 March – Tuesday of the Third week of Lent, Readings: Daniel 3:25, 34-43, Psalm 25:4-9, Matthew 18:21-35 and the Memorial of Saint Jan Sarkander (1576-1620) Priest and Martyr of the Seal of Confession

“I forgave you all that debt because you besought me and should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?”… Matthew 18:32-33

REFLECTION – “We must wash one another’s feet in the mutual daily service of love.   But we must also wash one another’s feet, in the sense, that we must forgive one another ever anew.   The debt for which the Lord has pardoned us is always infinitely greater than all the debts that others can owe us….not to allow resentment toward others to become a poison in the depths of the soul.   It urges us to purify our memory constantly, forgiving one another whole-heartedly, washing one another’s feet, to be able to go to God’s banquet together.”…Pope Benedict XVI (Holy Thursday homily 20 March 2008)

matthew-18-32-33-i-forgave-you-all-the-debt-the-debt-for-which-the-lord-has-pardoned-us-pope-benedict-26-march-2019 and 17 march 2020

PRAYER – Almighty God, we thank You for Your endless mercy.   We are sinners but trust in Your merciful forgiveness when we turn to You in sorrow.   Open our hearts, make them forgiving to our brother, teach us Your mercy.  May Mary, Mother of Sorrow, pray for us. Grant that the prayers of St Jan Sarkander may continue to defend us, as he did in the world.   We make our prayer through our forgiving Saviour, who even to those who killed Him, turned to them in love and mercy and asked You for their forgiveness.   In union with the Holy Spirit, one God, for all eternity, amen.our-lady-mother-of-sorrows-pray-for-us-26-march-2019 and 17 March 2020

st jan sarkander pray for us 17 march 2020