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Thought of the day
Thursday, June 19, 2014

Thursday of the Eleventh week in Ordinary Time
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"Forgive us our debts"

Saint Teresa of Avila (1515-1582), Carmelite, Doctor of the Church 
The way of perfection, ch. 36, 1-6 (trans. E. Allison Peers, alt.)
"Forgive us our debts"

"And forgive us, Lord, our debts, even as we forgive them to our debtors." Notice, sisters, that he does not say: "as we shall forgive," We are to understand that anyone who... has already yielded his own will to the will of God, must have done this already... Anyone, then, who sincerely repeats this petition, "Your will be done", must, at least in intention, have done this already. 

You see now why the saints rejoiced in insults and persecutions: it was because these gave them something to present to the Lord when they prayed to him. What can a poor creature like myself do, who has had so little to forgive others and has so much to be forgiven herself? This, sisters, is something which we should consider carefully; it is such a serious and important matter that God should pardon us our sins... that we must pardon all trifling things which have been done to us. As I have so few, Lord, even of these trifling things, to offer you, your pardoning of me must be a free gift. There is abundant scope here for your mercy! Blessed are you to endure one who is so poor!...

Paying heed to little things about which we think we are being slighted, insisting on these nice points of honour, we become like children building houses of straw!... We shall get to the point of thinking we have done something wonderful because we have forgiven a person for some trifling thing, which was neither a slight nor an insult nor anything else. Then we shall ask the Lord to forgive us as people who have done something important, just because we have forgiven someone. Grant us, my God, to understand how little we understand ourselves and how empty our hands are when we come to you, and forgive us in your mercy.

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