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Saturday, September 3, 2005

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Pope St. Gregory the Great

Colossians 1:21-23
Psalm 54
Luke 6:1-5

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eat you alive

"You nourished hostility in your hearts because of your evil deeds." —Colossians 1:21

Hostility, unforgiveness, bitterness, and resentment have ravenous appetites. They demand to be nourished constantly with bitter and unkind thoughts. Still that's not enough. Those thoughts must spill out into words. We speak out of the abundance of our hearts (Lk 6:45). Like a devouring lion (1 Pt 5:8), unforgiveness' maw chews on gossip and slander born of resentment. Yet unforgiveness still must eat more. It relentlessly devours people, marriages, families, and friendships. It eventually may commit suicide by consuming the very person it feeds upon.

Unforgiveness gnaws on our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. It eats us alive. Like cancer, unforgiveness and bitterness take over our body until we are dead. Like poison, hostility and resentment destroy indiscriminately, both the object of the hate and the one expelling the venom.

Brothers and sisters, forgive or be handed over to the torturers to die a miserable death even into eternal damnation (Mt 18:34-35). The one who refuses to forgive is always among the casualties. Decide to forgive. Jesus will give you the grace, for He "has achieved reconciliation for you in His mortal body by dying, so as to present you to God holy, free of reproach and blame" (Col 1:22).

Prayer:  Jesus, as You hung on the cross, You forgave me (Lk 23:34). Give me the grace to be willing to forgive.

Promise:  "The Son of Man is Lord even of the sabbath." —Lk 6:5

Praise:  Pope St. Gregory the Great, one of the most influential popes of the Middle Ages, faced crisis after crisis and was successfully able to steer the Church and help form it.

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our tape on Unforgiveness on audio AV 41-1 or video V-41.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 8, 2005

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