“I Beg You to Forgive”

A lesson from the life of St. Francis

“I Beg You to Forgive”

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What is the key to good relationships? Trust, acceptance, respect, and love are certainly necessary. But every day we face sins and temptations that threaten to prevent us from giving and receiving the love and respect that are so vital. And experience tells us how easy it can be to give in or surrender to these temptation—and hurt the ones we love in the process.

This is why Jesus’ teaching on forgiving one another—“not seven times but seventy-seven times”—is so important (Matthew 18:22). Forgiveness tempers justice with mercy. It frees us from bitterness and ill-will and opens us up to sharing the love we all know we crave. Forgiving someone who has wronged us is like canceling a debt. It costs something initially, but the long-term benefits are priceless: reconciliation, peace, unity, and a love that has been tested by fire.

A story from the life of St. Francis of Assisi illustrates the power of forgiveness. The story is told in the Mirror of Perfection that one day Francis met an acquaintance who looked troubled, and he asked him: “Brother, how are things with you?” The man immediately began to rant against his master, saying, “Thanks to my master—May God curse him!—I have had…

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