Friday, June 29, 2012

The Lord Stood By Me and Gave Me Strength

The Lord Stood By Me and Gave Me Strength

June 29, 2012

Solemnity of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Apostles
(Mass During the Day)

By Melanie Rigney

The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him. (Psalms 34:5)

The Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the proclamation might be completed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.  (2 Timothy 4:17

(Jesus said to the disciples:) “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:15-16)

Lord, fire my heart and soul with the love for you that Peter and Paul and the other martyrs showed all the way to their earthly ends.

A week later, I’m still thinking of the sermon I heard at a Christian writers’ conference. The theme was “Writers Under Construction,” apropos of the facts that the campus where we meet is undergoing major renovations and that as Christians, we all always are under construction by the Master Builder.

The sermon in question was delivered by my friend Don, a Baptist pastor who also works in mechanical maintenance for a grocery chain. He talked about growing up as a carpenter’s son, and his own maintenance jobs, including fixing up the parsonages where he and his family have lived. “No building is maintenance free,” he said; doesn’t matter how old or how new. And when there’s work to be done—renovation, remodeling, or rebuilding—God’s always there to help us.

As someone who tends to be overly hard on herself, I totally got the part about my building always needing repairs and God being there. But Don’s sermon made me think about the people who have done great things in Jesus’s name: Peter. Paul. Ignatius of Loyola. Teresa of Avila. Blessed Teresa. Dorothy Day. The more I thought about it, the more I realized my friend Don was right. Not a single one of them was maintenance free, anymore than anyone alive today is. What set them apart was the ability to call on the Lord’s strength to help with the continual construction of their hearts and souls.

What part of your spiritual life is most in need of repair? Schedule an appointment with the Master Builder. He does great work, and you can’t beat His rates.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Hope Does Not Disappoint

Hope Does Not Disappoint

And he will destroy on this mountain the shroud that is cast over all peoples, the sheet that is spread over all nations; he will swallow up death forever.  Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces, and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken.  It will be said on that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us.  This is the Lord for whom we have waited; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.  Isaiah 25:7-9

He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the sabbath day. He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:  “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.”  Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him.  He said to them, “Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” Luke 4:16-21


Let us pray.  O God, by the life, death and resurrection of Your only begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ, You purchased for us the rewards of eternal life; grant, we beseech You that while meditation on these  mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary of our Blessed Virgin Mary, we may imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Pray for us Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. Amen.


As you look at these scripture passages above, you are probably wondering from what Lectionary these came.  These are not passages from the readings for today’s Mass – the Memorial of Saint Irenaeus, bishop and martyr. 

Instead, these readings are from the Mass of Christian Burial for Ruth DeCristofaro, my mother who will be laid to rest today.  Mom died after a long goodbye fighting the devastation of Alzheimer’s that finally extinguished the last spark from her bright eyes.
Since her birth in 1932, those eyes paired with her infectious smile to dance throughout the East Coast.  They danced down the aisle of Our Lady of Pity Church in Staten Island on November 26, 1955 when Ruth Rizzo married Salvatore DeCristofaro

At the end of the Rosary, we pray we may imitate what the mysteries of the Rosary contain and obtain what it promises in the name of Christ our Lord.  Mom lived in imitation of the mysteries of the Rosary, especially the Joyful mysteries and her beads were wrapped around her frail hands as she was laid to her final rest. 

How often she “announced” to us the good news – how our grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and others surpassed some special milestone.  Sometimes the news was not always good, like when Dad was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease in 1986.  Sometimes, it was great, like when she tearfully called to say she won the lottery in 1992 -- relieving her of financial worries for the rest of her life and paving the way for her five grandchildren to attend the college of their choice.

“Visitation” was so much a part of her life – visiting and being visited – that she did indeed live Hebrews 13:1-2 (“Let mutual love continue.  Do not neglect hospitality, for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels.”)  Not a holiday passed that without either our home being filled with revelry or that we packed ourselves off in the family car to visit other family members.

Those eyes danced for the “nativity” of her three children, five grandchildren, nieces, nephews and her extended family, until the joy of life gave way to the victory of the resurrection on June 25. 

She presented us in the temple for our rites of passage and initiation of the sacraments and then witnessed those self same rites for countless others in her extended family and parishes.

She never ceased teaching us the values that she learned from her loving parents, Helen and Tony Rizzo and her three sisters’ families – Helen & Romeo Landi, Marie and Al Ponterio, and Dorothy & Bill Downes – and their families as well as her sister-in-law Micky & Bill Lawler. 

Nothing would come between Mom and her prayer life.  When she had to go in for an MRI test, she had to set down the Rosary beads.  No worries though.  She still had ten fingertips upon which to count out the meditations and the decades of “Hail Mary.” 
As her earthly memory and body began to fade, she would sometimes “wander” away from her home in Belmar.  But where did she go?  She was found in the “temple” of St. Rose Church – just like Mary and Joseph finding their son in the temple.  He was teaching at the beginning.  Mom was teaching to the bitter, sad and joyful end.  Memory may fade but the love of our God and his attraction to her would not.   She will be His child always and He will be her God.


Now, the Lord is entertaining a new angel.  There’s one less harp and one fewer pairs of wings in St. Peter’s closet.  And there’s one more guardian angel who continues to watch over all of us until it is our time to join her on the cloud of witnesses.

What angels are you asked to entertain? 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I Will Be Your God and You Will Be My People

I Will Be Your God and You Will Be My People

June 27, 2012

Wednesday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time

By Colleen O’Sullivan

The high priest Hilkiah informed the scribe Shaphan, “I have found the book of the law in the temple of the Lord”… When the king heard the contents of the book of the law, he tore his garments and issued this command to Hilkiah the priest… “Go, consult the Lord for me, for the people, for all Judah, about the stipulations of this book that has been found, for the anger of the Lord has been set furiously ablaze against us, because our fathers did not obey the stipulations of this book, nor fulfill our written obligations”… The king then had all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem summoned together before him… He had the entire contents of the book of the covenant that had been found in the temple of the Lord, read out to them.  Standing by the column, the king made a covenant before the Lord that they would follow him and observe his ordinances, statutes and decrees with their whole hearts and souls, thus reviving the terms of the covenant which were written in this book.  And all the people stood as participants in the covenant. (2 Kings 22:8a, 11-12a, 13, 23:1-2b, 3)

Jesus said to his disciples:  “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves.”  (Matthew 7:15)


“I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (Hebrews 8:10c)  Lord, forgive me for the many times I have forgotten who and whose I am.


My initial reaction to the first reading was – how could you “discover” the book of the law in the temple?  That’s like saying we unexpectedly found a Bible in a church!  But the situation really was that bad.  Reading the preceding chapters in 2 Kings brought some clarity to the text.  The king in today’s story, Josiah, was the son and grandson of two kings of Judah, neither of whom were men of faith.  The grandfather forgot all about the covenant with the Lord and actually installed altars to false gods right in the temple of the Lord.  His son, Josiah’s father, continued in his father’s footsteps, never thinking about God, serving idols instead. 

Repairs were being made in the temple when the book was found.  Imagine the consternation of the king when he had the contents read to him.  No wonder his people had suffered so much ill fortune!  They had broken the covenant with their God.  Generations of idol worship had aroused the ire of their God.  King Josiah gathered his subjects, read the book of the covenant to them, and asked them to promise once again to be faithful to the one, true God and to be obedient to God’s law.

How many times have I turned my back on God’s promise always to be there for us as though it means nothing?   How many times have I worshipped at some other god’s altar?  How often have I listened to the siren song of some wolf in sheep’s clothing that Jesus warns us to beware of?  All too often, I’m afraid.


Fickle and faithless though I may be, the good news is that our God never breaks his promise to be our God.  The Lord never stops loving us, no matter how far we may run from him.   When you are praying today, why not take an honest look at yourself and ask the Lord’s forgiveness for your forays into idolatry? 

Walk the Constricted Road

Walk The Constricted Road 

June 26, 2012
Tuesday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time

By Beth DeCristofaro

Therefore, thus says the LORD concerning the king of Assyria: 'He shall not reach this city, nor shoot an arrow at it, nor come before it with a shield, nor cast up siege-works against it.  … I will shield and save this city for my own sake, and for the sake of my servant David. (2 Kings 19:32, 34)

Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.  This is the Law and the Prophets.  Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction and those who enter through it are many.  How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.  (Matthew 7:12-14)


O God, we ponder your mercy
within your temple.
As your name, O God, so also your praise
reaches to the ends of the earth.
Of justice your right hand is full
(Psalm 48:10-11)


How we long for full, swift and complete justice.  In the book of Kings, God’s avenging angel decisively and fatally deals with the king of Assyria.  Hitler killing himself in his bunker was an answer to prayers, certainly.  But bad guys don’t always get what they deserve.  The Cambodian dictator and murder, Pol Pot, however, hid for decades until finally dying while in house arrest.  And I would like to see that avenging angel visit the Syrian government to put an end to the killing of innocent civilians.

The constricted road of love which Jesus talks of is one of justice and mercy as well.  Jesus asks me to have humility and faith, honestly evaluating where I find myself.  The Constitution on the Church in the Modern World states that “In the depths of his conscience, man detects a law which he does not impose upon himself but which holds him to obedience. … For man has in his heart a law written by God.  To obey it is the very dignity of man; according to it will he be judged.[i]

Where is the line between responsibly saving for my future and hoarding a selfish share of resources?  In my work in health care, am I motivated by people’s God-given right to human dignity or do I allow the lure of power and authority to lead me?  As a Caucasian, middle-class woman do I relax in the status-quo or stand up for those who do not have my privilege?  The gate is narrow, the road is constricted and Jesus tells us it is not easy.     


Take time for an examination of conscience.  Look with an open, contrite heart at the darker moments in which you strayed from the constricted road.  Accept with joy the moments in which Christ’s light shone.  Recommit in a specific way to an action that is centered directly in that constricted road even if it opens you to humiliation or embarrassment.  Jesus is there. 

[i] Gaudium et Spes, The Documents of Vatican II, W. M. Abbott, edt., American Press, 1966, p. 213.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

See Clearly

See Clearly

June 25, 2012
Monday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time

And though the LORD warned Israel and Judah by every prophet and seer,  "Give up your evil ways and keep my commandments and statutes, in accordance with the entire law which I enjoined on your fathers and which I sent you by my servants the prophets,"  they did not listen, but were as stiff-necked as their fathers, who had not believed in the LORD, their God.  They rejected his statutes the covenant which he had made with their fathers, and the warnings which he had given them, till, in his great anger against Israel, the LORD put them away out of his sight.  2 Kings 17:13-15a

Why do you notice the splinter in your brother's eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?  How can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove that splinter from your eye,' while the wooden beam is in your eye?  You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother's eye."  Matthew 7:3-6


Father, help me once again to remove the wooden beams that get in the way of me seeing you more clearly, loving you more dearly and following you more nearly every day, every step and every mile along the way.


Images of wood bring me back to the role that wood played in the life of Jesus.  Joseph was a carpenter so Jesus probably learned some of this craft from an early age.  Wood was likely the material used to construct the feeding bin in which Jesus was born.  All of the splinters in our eyes were borne by Jesus climbing the hill to his execution until he was nailed to the beam of our blindness.


What is your wooden beam?  What is the obstacle that impedes you from seeing clearly the role that the Lord asks of you?

In a recent homily, Bishop Thomas Gumbleton gave a hint at how we can remove that wooden beam from our own eyes.  His idea does not require heavy lifting, just a little attitude adjustment.  He said that “we sometimes carry with us [an attitude] that we can do it all. Sometimes we even use violence to try and do it. That's not the way of Jesus. We have to be patient and let God work through us to bring about the change that will make the Reign of God happen. So if we…try to follow patiently, waiting, but working together with Jesus, we can transform our world into the Reign of God.

So, let’s not be stubborn and stiff-necked people but be flexible to the ways of the Lord over the ways of our own egos so that we may walk in His footsteps.  

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Make You a Light

Make You a Light

June 24, 2012
Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist

By Rev. Joe McCloskey, SJ

It is too little, he says, for you to be my servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and restore the survivors of Israel; I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.  Isaiah 49:6

John heralded his coming by proclaiming a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel; and as John was completing his course, he would say, 'What do you suppose that I am' I am not he.  Behold, one is coming after me; I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet."  Acts 13: 24-25

Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed, and he spoke blessing God.  Then fear came upon all their neighbors, and all these matters were discussed throughout the hill country of Judea.  All who heard these things took them to heart, saying, "What, then, will this child be?"  For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.  The child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the desert until the day of his manifestation to Israel.  Luke 1:64-66, 80


Piety is made up of all the ways we recognize Christ.  We honor the birth of John the Baptist, if for no other reason, then because he recognized Christ in Mary from the womb of his mother.  John pointed out Christ to his disciples.  He baptized Christ in the Jordan.  Each of the prophets was able to say something about the one who was to come.  John was able to point him out.  Piety is the source of our attraction to holy people.  Piety opens up our own hearts to live a presence of Christ in what we say and do.


Our following of Christ reflects the touches of the divine in our lives.  We learn by looking at Christ and studying how he grew up how to put on the mind and the heart of Christ.  There is no one of us unable to be a better person by looking closely at how Christ lived his life.  He is the model of what we are meant to be by our Christianity.  There is simplicity to life when we realize we are created to the image and likeness of God by Christ being out brother and our developing and deepening the relationship by walking in his footsteps until his steps become our steps and we reach for the sky called heaven.  Psalm 139 says it neatly.  We have been formed in our inmost being by the knitting of us in our mother’s womb by Christ.  We have been created in him, for him and by him.  There is no shortcut to heaven apart from Christ.  His victory has been won on the cross and sealed by the resurrection.  We study how to apply the victory of the resurrection to our lives.


David was testified to by God as a man after his own heart because he carried out the every wish of God.  Christ puts it to us by saying if you love me you will keep the commandments.  The wish of God was that John would be called John.  The hand of the Lord is with us when we are called Christian by the ways we are faithful to what God is asking of us.  The child John grew strong in the spirit and was in the desert until the day of his manifestation to Israel.  We all have calls by God that are discovered by the work we have to do and the needs of the people around us.  Our own salvation flows out of our diving into the ocean of God’ s love for us which is greater than we can ever imagine.  We are surrounded by God’s love in creation and it is in how we keep our world what God created it to be that fulfills our destiny with God.  The hand of the Lord is with us in the good we do for one another.  We are so much more than John because we are what John was pointing out in Christ.  We are the presence of Christ to our world in the good we do.  John could only point out Christ.  We can die to self to rise in Christ by the goodness of our love for one another.  Wherever there is love God is there.

Seek First

Seek First

June 23, 2012
Saturday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

Then the Spirit of God possessed Zechariah, son of Jehoiada the priest.  He took his stand above the people and said to them: "God says, 'Why are you transgressing the LORD's commands, so that you cannot prosper?  Because you have abandoned the LORD, he has abandoned you.'?  But they conspired against him, and at the king's order they stoned him to death in the court of the LORD's temple.  2 Chronicles 24:20-21

If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?  So do not worry and say, 'What are we to eat?'  or 'What are we to drink?' or 'What are we to wear?'  All these things the pagans seek.  Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.  But seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.  Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.  Sufficient for a day is its own evil."  Matthew 6:30-34


The Lilies of the Field by John Michael Talbot

Consider the ravens
They do not sow and they do not reap
Yet God the Father provides for them
Yet upon the earth
These are among the smallest things

Consider how the lilies grow
They do not spin and they do not weave

But I tell you now not even Solomon 
In all of his splendor was arrayed
Like any one of these

So seek ye first the kingdom of God
And the wealth of His righteousness
For wherever your treasure lies
There will you find your heart

Be not concerned for your life
Or your body
What to eat, what to wear
Or what you will do for tomorrow
Seek out instead His heavenly kingdom
And the rest upon the earth
In its own time will follow

So seek ye first the kingdom of god
And the wealth of His righteousness
For wherever your treasure lies
There will you find your heart


Today’s readings deliver the one-two punch of why we must change the direction in which we seek happiness.  Zechariah tried to get the people to change their ways and they refused.  Not just refusal like a two-year-old child who has learned the word, “No.”  But refusal in a violent and hateful way.  Nothing will come between these people and their worldly pursuits.  For their transgressions, they not only stoned Zechariah but also were overrun by a foreign army.
Jesus elects to use the carrot, rather than the stick, to get his message of love across.  He says, “Don’t worry.  Be happy.”  But the key to happiness is to get our priorities in order.  “But seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.” 
Just two days ago, our Good News presented us with the Lord’s Prayer.  “Thy Kingdom come.  Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.”  So often, we take steps to circumvent God’s will.  Seek ye first this Kingdom and the rest will come to you as well.
This hearkens us older Cursillistas to remember a 1963 movie where Sidney Potier played the itinerant laborer Homer Smith who stops at a farm in the Arizona desert to obtain some water for his car. There he sees several women (whom we learn are nuns) working on a fence.  Their leader asks him to help fix their roof.  He stays on assuming that he will be paid in the morning. Next day, Smith tries to persuade the mother superior to pay him by quoting Luke 10:7, "The laborer is worthy of his hire." Mother Maria responds by asking him to read another Bible verse from the Sermon on the Mount: "Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin. And yet I say unto you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”
Smith stays on long enough to build and oversee construction of a new chapel.  The nuns helped him realize his dream to become an architect.  He helped the nuns realize their dream to build a chapel for the poor townsfolk. 
Homer remains grounded in his Baptist traditions despite the nuns efforts to get him to convert.  While they share and learn from each other, in the end (spoiler alert) Home drives off to find his next mission.   


Our Cursillo Weekend lay talks begin with a talk on Ideal.  Where do you spend your time, talent and treasure?
This is not a question for the weekend alone.  Look back at your notebook.  How did you answer it then?  For some, many years (and possibly even many decades) have transpired since their weekend experience.  How will you answer the question now?
Don’t let Madison Avenue or Hollywood or Wall Street or K Street dictate the answer to this question.  Seek first the Kingdom.  Try to ignore the advertisers this weekend and the allure of their jewelry, electronics, food, alcohol and other diversions.  Immerse yourself in activity that will put you in touch with God’s Kingdom.  Seek the place the Lord wants you in this world no matter what obstacles of language, culture or otherwise are placed in your path.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

How Great Will the Darkness Be

How Great Will the Darkness Be

June 22, 2012

Friday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

By Melanie Rigney
The Lord has chosen Zion for his dwelling. (Psalms 132:13)

Jesus said to his disciples:"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be. The lamp of the body is the eye. If your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light; but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be in darkness. And if the light in you is darkness, how great will the darkness be." (Matthew 6:19-23)

Jesus, I pray that my mind and heart and soul be opened to following You out of the darkness.

A friend recently said someone had grumbled to him that it surely appeared the Catholic bishops are trying to destroy the Church. My friend’s response, at least half-jokingly, was, “Don’t worry. People have been trying to destroy the Church for two thousand years, and it hasn’t worked yet.”

It made me wonder about the amount of time some of us are spending wringing our hands and predicting doom and gloom, even saying doom and gloom are already here. If they are, I’m not sure there’s a whole lot we can do about it individually. But what we can do something about is our own relationship with Christ and our community. We can practice the Cursillo principles of piety, study, and action. We can reflect on our moments closest to Christ, what was good and strong and inspiring about them, as well as the moments where Christ met us on the journey and we were lacking. We can study the daily readings, the Bible, and other religious texts to better understand what the Lord desires of us and how great his love is for us. Our piety and our study inform our action, how we are bringing souls to the kingdom through outreach, through prayer, through living our lives in a manner pleasing to God.

And if we do those things, no matter how in darkness the world may appear, the prism through which we see this world will be sound, and we will be in the light.

Pray for the priests, bishops, cardinals, the pope, and other religious leaders, that they may be filled with the Lord’s light.

Forgive Others

Forgive Others

June 21, 2012
Memorial of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, religious

Jesus said to his disciples: "In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him. This is how you are to pray: ´Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.´ If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions." (Matthew 6: 7-15)


Lord, teach me to pray.  Teach me to trust in you because you know what I need before I do.  Teach me to accept your will and act upon it.  Take from me, Father, all the obstacles I have erected to our true friendship and dialogue.  Give to me, Jesus, all that leads me to you.  Set me free, Holy Spirit, from my sins.  Amen.


You have to love the disciples and their humanity.  For three years, they followed Jesus around. They ate with Jesus.  They walked with Jesus.  They discussed weighty political, economic and religious issues with Jesus.  They spent time in the temple, in the city, in the country, and at the shore with Jesus.
At every stretch, they witnessed Jesus praying.  Yet, in all those interactions, they still needed to ask Jesus to teach them to pray.
Thus we have what many consider the perfect prayer.  The Lord's own prayer. 


For all its perfection, do we sometimes use the Lord's prayer to automatically?  It's one of the first prayers our parents taught to us.  It's one of the first prayers we taught to our children.  However, does committing it to memory and using it daily get in the way of having a true dialogue of prayer with our Father?  Does committing it to memory and repeating it daily get in the way of the actions we promise to God?  Are our words like those of Elijah, like a flaming furnace?  Or are our words more like a flashlight with weak batteries?
Do you keep holy God's name?  Or do you use it in anger sometimes when things don't go your way?
Do you discern God's will for you and then act on it rather than your own ambition?
Do you accept only what you need and pass on the rest to those who have less than you do?
Do you forgive others in order to convince the Lord to forgive your sins?  Or do you wait for them to forgive you first?
Don't automatically recite the Lord's Prayer today.  Use the Lord's prayer to open a true dialogue with the Father and then carry out the actions which He asks of you.