Notable quotations from Pope John Paul II and official teachings of the Roman Catholic Church
The only way to peace is forgiveness. To accept and give forgiveness makes possible a new quality of rapport between men, interrupts the spiral of hatred and revenge and breaks the chains of evil which bind the heart of rivals.
When one is offended or hurt, one is tempted to give in to the psychological mechanisms of self-pity and revenge, ignoring the invitation of Jesus to love one's enemies.
Daily human events clearly evidence how much forgiveness and reconciliation are undeniably needed for bringing about a real personal and social renewal.
It is not easy to convert one's self to forgiveness and reconciliation... To take this path, it is necessary to experience interior conversion; the courage of humble obedience to the command of Jesus is necessary.
The Christian must make peace even when feeling as the victim of one who has unjustly offended and struck. The Lord Himself acted in this manner. He waits for the disciple to follow Him, cooperating in this way in brotherly redemption.
The Church, announc[es] forgiveness and love of enemies, ... a new way of relating to each other; a somewhat difficult way but rich in hope. In this the Church knows to rely on the help of the Lord, Who never abandons one who turns to Him in difficulty.
Through the sacrament of Reconciliation, the Father gives to us in Christ His forgiveness and this encourages us to live in love, considering the other not as an enemy but as a brother.
A heart reconciled with God and with neighbor is a generous heart... To look at the suffering face and the conditions of misery of many brothers and sisters forces us to share at least part of our own goods with those in difficulty.
The world expects from Christians a consistent witness of communion and solidarity... The words of the Apostle John are very enlightening "But if any one has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?" (1 Jn 3:17).
(Source: Lenten Message, issued January 7, 2001)
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