the fire and forgiveness
"In the fire Azariah stood up and prayed aloud." —Daniel 3:25
When you are in the fire of suffering, are you like Azariah? Do you repent as he did (see Dn 3:39) or are you preoccupied with blaming the people who threw you into the fire? We can forgive those who have hurt us and get on with life and the business of repenting, or we can "stew" over our hurts and hold unforgiveness in our hearts.
Jesus commands us to forgive always. He commands us to forgive seventy times seven (Mt 18:22). With so much forgiving to do, we hardly have time for anything else — which is just perfect. If we spend our time forgiving, that's often all we need to do. The Lord will take care of the rest. We'll be so busy forgiving that we won't have time to get into things which lead us away from God.
If we don't forgive when we're in the fire of suffering, we make the fire hotter not for those who have hurt us but for ourselves. We hand ourselves "over to the torturers" (Mt 18:34) of self-hatred, anxiety, compulsive behavior, depression, fear, etc. However, if we forgive when we're in the fire, we will be purified so deeply that we will thank the Lord forever for our time in the fire. Forgiveness makes the fire a holy fire rather than a place of destruction. Therefore, "forgive whatever grievances you have against one another. Forgive as the Lord has forgiven you" (Col 3:13).
Prayer: Father, forgive me as I forgive others (Mt 6:12).
Promise: "Deliver us by Your wonders, and bring glory to Your name, O Lord." —Dn 3:43
Praise: St. Frances had to endure many trials as wife and widow preparing her for life in a religious community. Even through attacks, she continued to minister to the poor.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our leaflet on Unforgiveness Is The Cause or our tape Unforgiveness on audio AV 41-1 or video V-41.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 26, 2009
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