By Father Marco Rangel
Special to The Texas Catholic
One of the actions that most reminds us of the great dignity we have after being created in the image and likeness of God is forgiveness.
When we forgive we act as God does and as he commands us, which is to love our neighbor as ourselves.
When we speak of forgiveness we remember the teaching of the Holy Pope John Paul II, that said: “We are not the sum of our weaknesses or our failures; On the contrary, we are the sum of the Father’s love for us and our real capacity to become the image of his Son.”
Thus, when God sees us, he does not see sin in us but the love with which He created us and of which we are capable of living.
The same happens with us when we forgive, because we see others as God sees them and we see the good they are capable of doing and not only the evil they have done to us or to our loved ones.
The Lenten season presents us with a magnificent opportunity to reflect on our capacity to imitate the infinite love of God for all humanity.
Forgiveness comes from our will. When we say, “I forgive you” and pray for the one who hurts us, we are forgiving.
It’s entering into an “act of faith” because we trust that what we are saying is what we will do: forgive.
In Lent we are called to practice forgiveness more consciously, since none of us is perfect.
If we can not forgive, we can give place to arrogance that without thinking leads us to have a superior attitude towards others, because it makes us think that while we do deserve God’s forgiveness, those who hurt us do not deserve even human forgiveness.
Lent is an itinerary, a journey to experience with deep faith and devotion in order to be prepared and receive God’s forgiveness. I invite you to prepare your heart in these 40 days of Lent by practicing the virtue of mercy to your neighbor. By doing that you will feel the mercy of God, and witness what Pope Francis says: “when God forgives, He truly forgets.”
Father Marco Rangel is the pastor of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Corsicana.