Prayer teaches a person to say “thank you” Pope Francis stressed during his April 24, 2019, General Audience in St. Peter’s Square.
Greeting the thousands of pilgrims from around the world, he completed his catechesis on the fifth question of the “Our Father,” the expression “as we forgive those who trespass against us.” In fact, he said it is proper to be in debt to God – He gave us everything we have!
“We are all debtors of God and of so many persons who have given us favorable conditions of life,” the Holy Father said. “Our identity is built from the good received. The first is life.”
Why do we owe God so much? The Pope Explained:
“He loves us infinitely more than we love Him. And then, try as we might to live according to Christian teachings, there will always be something in our life for which to ask forgiveness: we think of days spent lazily, of moments in which resentment occupied our heart, and so on. It’s these experiences, unfortunately not rare, which make us implore: ‘Lord, Father, forgive us our trespasses.’ So we ask God for forgiveness.”
Pope Francis reminded those listening that Christians know that God provides forgiveness for sins. In fact, he forgives everything and does so always.
“However, God’s grace, which is so abundant, is always challenging,” Francis recalled. “One who has received so much must learn to give as much and not keep for himself what he has received.”
The Holy Father cited the parable of the unmerciful servant from the 18th chapter of Matthew:
“There was a servant who had contracted an enormous debt with his king: ten thousand talents! A sum impossible to restore; I don’t know how much it would be today, but hundreds of millions. However, the miracle happens, and that servant receives — not a postponement of the payment, but the full condoning of it — an unexpected grace! However, see how, in fact, that servant, immediately after, set upon his brother who owed him one hundred denarii — a small thing –, and, although this figure was accessible, he doesn’t accept excuses or entreaties. Therefore, in the end, the master calls him back and has him condemned. Because, if you don’t make an effort to forgive, you won’t be forgiven; if you don’t make an effort to love, you won’t be loved.”
The Holy Father concluded with an admonition to Christians to be forgiving. And if that is difficult, ask God for the grace to forgive.
“God gives every Christian the grace to write a story of goodness in the life of his brothers, especially those that have done something displeasing or mistaken,” Francis said. “With a word, an embrace, a smile, we can transmit to others what we received that is most precious. What is the precious thing we have received? It is forgiveness, which we must be capable of giving also to others.”