Sometimes we talk about forgiveness as an extraordinary and heroic gesture, but for Jesus it was the most normal thing to do: being forgiven by God should spontaneously lead us to forgive others as he has forgiven us. In the Lord’s Prayer Jesus taught us to pray, saying: “and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us” (Matthew 6:12).
When St. Teresa of Jesus comments on this phrase from the Lord’s Prayer, she expresses her surprise by saying: “This is a matter, Sisters, that we should reflect upon very much” (Way 36:2). She admires the fact that in order to be forgiven by God, Jesus has imposed one condition: not that we do a lot of penance or that we pray a lot, but only that He should “forgive us because we forgive” (Way 36:7). If we don’t make an effort to forgive others, we won’t be forgiven by God either. A heart incapable of forgiving is impenetrable—even for God.
Silvio José Báez, O.C.D.
Auxiliary Bishop of Managua