Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Remember Your Mercies, O Lord

By Melanie Rigney

“We have in our day no prince, prophet, or leader, no burnt offering, sacrifice, oblation, or incense, no place to offer first fruits, to find favor with you. But with contrite heart and humble spirit let us be received… ” (Daniel 3:38-39)

Remember your mercies, O Lord. (Psalm 25:6a)

Peter approached Jesus and asked him, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times. That is why the Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who decided to settle accounts with his servants.” (Matthew 18:21-23)

Lord, thank you for forgiving me not seven, not seventy-seven, but more times than I can count.

Really, how can Jesus expect us to forgive someone seventy-seven times? It’s one thing when the offense is something like yawning with an open mouth or forgetting to take out the garbage. What if it’s more serious, something like talking over us or questioning decisions we make, over and over again? What if it’s more serious still—physically injuring us or someone we love, especially when the person shows no sense of remorse or regret.

Consider the case of Elizabeth Canori, born to a wealthy Roman family in 1774.
Anonymous painting c. 1850s. 
Her future seemed bright; she and Christopher Mora, an attorney from a family like Elizabeth’s, fell in love and married when Elizabeth was twenty-three. But that bright future threatened to turn to ash. Christopher took on a mistress. He started gambling and drinking heavily, and stopped working. The money was soon gone… and Elizabeth became responsible for rearing their two daughters.

Christopher became emotionally and on at least one occasion physically abusive. Almost everyone told Elizabeth to end the marriage. But God had told her that He desired to save Christopher through her. So Elizabeth prayed for him, and urged the girls to do the same. She sold her finery, including her wedding dress, and still found a bit of money to help the poor and sick and became a lay Trinitarian, with one of her ministries being to counsel troubled husbands and wives.

On one occasions, she told him he would celebrate Mass for her, certainly a thought that amused him.

Christopher was with his mistress when Elizabeth died in 1825. But he began going to church again shortly thereafter and eventually became a Franciscan priest. Elizabeth was beatified in 1994 by John Paul II.

I think about all the forgiveness Elizabeth showed Christopher and all the confidence in the Lord she exhibited and I think, the things I’m asked to forgive are pretty easy indeed. I pray that should I ever face such a situation, one in which people might call me a patsy or doormat, that I embrace God’s desire just as completely as she did.

The 146th Arlington Women’s Weekend begins in two days at the San Damiano Spiritual Life Center in White Post. Put your gratitude to God in action and offer up some palanca, or sign up for the palanca clock or cook crew.

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