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Forgive us our trespasses

Catechesis by Pope Francis on the Family
General Audience, Wednesday 4 November 2015 - in Arabic, Croatian, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese & Spanish

"Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!
The Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which concluded only recently, reflected in depth on the vocation and the mission of the family in the life of the Church and of contemporary society. It was an event of grace. At the end the Synod Fathers consigned to me the text with their conclusions. I wanted this text to be published, so that all may assist in the work in which we engaged for two years. This is not the moment to analyze these conclusions, on which I too must meditate.

In the meantime, however, life does not stand still, in particular the life of families does not stop! You, dear families, are always journeying and you are already continually writing the beauty of the Gospel of the family on the pages of real life. In a world which is sometimes barren of life and love, you speak each day of the great gifts that marriage and family are.

Today, I would like to emphasize this aspect: that the family is a great training ground for the mutual giving and forgiving without which no love can last for long. Without self-giving and seeking forgiveness love does not last, it does not endure. In the prayer that he himself taught us — namely the Our Father — Jesus makes us ask the Father: “Forgive us our debts, As we also have forgiven our debtors”. And at the end he states: “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Mt 6:12, 14-15).

One cannot live without seeking forgiveness, or at least, one cannot live at peace, especially in the family. We wrong one another every day. We must take into account these mistakes, due to our frailty and our selfishness. However, what we are asked to do is to promptly heal the wounds that we cause, to immediately reweave the bonds that break within the family. If we wait too long, everything becomes more difficult. There is a simple secret to healing wounds and to avoiding recriminations. It is this: do not let the day end without apologizing, without making peace between husband and wife, between parents and children, between brothers and sisters... between daughters- and mothers-in-law! If we learn to apologize promptly and to give each other mutual forgiveness, the wounds heal, the marriage grows stronger, and the family becomes an increasingly stronger home, which withstands the shocks of our smaller or greater misdeeds. This is why there is no need for a long speech, as a caress is enough: one caress and everything is over and one can start afresh. But do not end the day at war!

If we learn to live this way in the family, we can also do so outside, wherever we may be. It is easy to be skeptical about this. Many people — even Christians — think it is an exaggeration. It is said: yes, they are fine words, but it is impossible to put them into practice. But thanks be to God it is not so. Indeed, it is precisely in receiving forgiveness from God that we in turn are capable of forgiving others. This is why Jesus has us repeat these words each time we recite the Our Father prayer, that is, every day. And it is crucial that, in a sometimes pitiless society, there be places, such as the family, in which to learn to forgive one another.

The Synod also rekindled our hope in this regard: namely, that the capacity to forgive and to seek forgiveness is part of the vocation and the mission of the family. Practicing forgiveness not only saves families from divisiveness, but makes them capable of helping society to be less heartless and less cruel. Yes, each act of forgiveness fixes the cracks in the house and strengthens its walls. The Church, dear families, is always beside you to help you build your house on the rock that Jesus spoke of. Let us not forget these words which immediately preceded the parable of the house: “Not every one who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven”. And he adds: “On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name...?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you’” (Mt 7:21-23). It is undoubtedly a strong word, with the purpose of shaking us and calling us to convert.

I assure you, dear families, that if you are capable of walking ever more firmly on the path of the Beatitudes, learning and teaching to mutually forgive each other, the capacity to bear witness to the renewing power of God’s forgiveness will grow in the whole of the great family of the Church. Conversely, we may even make beautiful sermons, and perhaps drive away some demons, but in the end the Lord will not recognize us as his disciples, because we did not have the capacity to forgive and ask others to forgive us!

Truly Christian families can do a great deal for today’s society, and also for the Church. For this reason I hope that in the Jubilee of Mercy families may rediscover the treasure of mutual forgiveness. Let us pray that families may be ever more capable of experiencing and building practical paths of reconciliation, where no one feels abandoned to the weight of his debts.

With this intention, let us say together: “Our Father, forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors”. [Let us say it together: “Our Father, forgive us our debts, As we also have forgiven our debtors”]."


"Je salue cordialement les pèlerins de langue française, en particulier le collège Fénelon-Sainte Marie, de Paris, et les autres personnes venues de Suisse et de France.
Chères familles, je souhaite que vous puissiez redécouvrir, à l’occasion de l’Année de la Miséricorde, le trésor du pardon réciproque, et je prie pour que vous en soyez toujours les joyeux témoins.
Que Dieu vous bénisse !

[Saluto cordialmente i pellegrini di lingua francese, in particolare il collegio Fénelon-Sainte Marie di Parigi e gli altri fedeli venuti dalla Svizzera e dalla Francia.
Care famiglie, desidero che voi possiate riscoprire, in occasione dell’Anno della Misericordia, il tesoro del perdono reciproco, e prego perché voi ne siate sempre i giovani testimoni.
Che Dio vi benedica!]

I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, including those from England, Norway, Sweden, Japan, Korea and the United States of America. Upon you and your families I invoke the Lord’s blessings of joy and peace. God bless you all!

[Saluto i pellegrini di lingua inglese presenti all’odierna Udienza, specialmente quelli provenienti da Inghilterra, Norvegia, Svezia, Giappone, Corea e Stati Uniti d’America.  Su tutti voi e sulle vostre famiglie, invoco la gioia e la pace del Signore. Dio vi benedica!]

Von Herzen grüße ich die Brüder und Schwestern aus den Ländern deutscher Sprache, insbesondere die Teilnehmer an der Chorpilgerreise des Erzbistums München und Freising. Die Vergebung ist wesentlicher Teil unserer Berufung als Christen. Mit dem Blick auf das Beispiel der Heiligen wollen wir in der Familie, im Freundeskreis, am Arbeitsplatz und in der Gesellschaft die Versöhnung leben. Der Heilige Geist erfülle euch mit seiner Kraft und seinem Frieden.

[Con affetto saluto i fratelli e le sorelle provenienti dai paesi di lingua tedesca, in particolare i partecipanti al pellegrinaggio dei cori dell’Arcidiocesi di Monaco e Frisinga. Il perdono è parte integrante della nostra vocazione cristiana. Guardando l’esempio dei santi, vogliamo vivere la riconciliazione in famiglia, tra amici, negli ambienti di lavoro e nella società. Lo Spirito Santo vi colmi della Sua forza e pace.]

Saludo a los peregrinos de lengua española, en particular a los grupos provenientes de España y Latinoamérica. Pidamos a la Virgen María que nos ayude a vivir cada vez más las experiencias del perdón y de la reconciliación. Muchas gracias.

[Saluto i pellegrini di lingua spagnola, in particolare i gruppi provenienti dalla Spagna e dall’America latina. Chiediamo alla Vergine Maria che ci aiuti a vivere ogni volta di più le esperienze del perdono e della riconciliazione. Molte grazie.]

Com cordial afecto, saúdo todos os peregrinos de língua portuguesa, em particular o grupo brasileiro de Mogi das Cruzes. O Senhor vos abençoe, para serdes em toda a parte farol de luz do Evangelho para todos. Possa esta peregrinação fortalecer nos vossos corações o sentir e o viver com a Igreja. Nossa Senhora acompanhe e proteja a vós todos e aos vossos entes queridos.

[Con cordiale affetto, saluto tutti i pellegrini di lingua portoghese, in particolare il gruppo brasiliano di Mogi das Cruzes. Il Signore vi benedica, perché siate dovunque faro di luce del Vangelo per tutti. Possa questo pellegrinaggio rinvigorire nei vostri cuori il sentire e il vivere con la Chiesa. La Madonna accompagni e protegga voi tutti e i vostri cari!]

أُرحّبُ بالحجّاجِ الناطقينَ باللغةِ العربيّة، وخاصةً بالقادمينَ من الأراضي المقدسةِ ومن الأردن. المغفرةُ هي مقياسُ المحبةِ وهي وقودُها. فالحبُ الحقيقيُّ هو الذي يتخطى الصعابَ ويغفرَ الأخطاءَ. لنصلِّ كي تستطيع الأُسَرُ المسيحيّةُ أن تُجددَ كنزَ المغفرةِ المتَبَادَلةِ، خاصةً خلالَ يوبيل الرحمةِ. ليُبارِكْ الرّبُّ جميعَ العائِلاتِ، ويَحرِسْكُم جميعًا مِن الشِّرِيرِ!‏

[Rivolgo un cordiale benvenuto ai pellegrini di lingua araba, in particolare a quelli provenienti dalla Terra Santa e dalla Giordania. Il perdono è la misura dell’amore e il suo alimento. Il vero amore oltrepassa le difficoltà e perdona gli errori. Preghiamo affinché le famiglie cristiane possano rinnovare il tesoro del perdono reciproco, specialmente durante il Giubileo della misericordia. Il Signore benedica tutte le famiglie e vi protegga dal maligno!]

Pozdrawiam obecnych tu Polaków. W najbliższą niedzielę w Kościele w Polsce będzie obchodzony Dzień Solidarności z Kościołem Prześladowanym, organizowany przez Fundację Pomoc Kościołowi w Potrzebie i Konferencję Episkopatu Polski. W tym roku pomoc duchowa i materialna w sposób szczególny jest kierowana do chrześcijan w Syrii. Wasze dzieło modlitwy i solidarności niech przyniesie wytchnienie i wsparcie braciom i siostrom, którzy cierpią dla Chrystusa na Bliskim Wschodzie i na całym świecie. Niech wam towarzyszy moje błogosławieństwo. Niech będzie pochwalony Jezus Chrystus!

[Saluto i polacchi qui presenti. Domenica prossima nella Chiesa in Polonia si celebra la Giornata della Solidarietà con la Chiesa Perseguitata, promossa dalla Fondazione Aiuto alla Chiesa che Soffre insieme alla Conferenza Episcopale Polacca. Quest’anno l’aiuto spirituale e materiale è indirizzato particolarmente ai cristiani in Siria. La vostra opera di preghiera e di solidarietà porti sollievo e supporto ai fratelli e sorelle sofferenti per Cristo in Medio Oriente e in tutto il mondo. Vi accompagni la mia benedizione. Sia lodato Gesù Cristo!]

* * *

Rivolgo un cordiale benvenuto ai pellegrini di lingua italiana. Saluto le Suore Oblate del Sacro Cuore di Gesù e le Suore di Santa Dorotea, in occasione dei rispettivi Capitoli Generali, il Gruppo Sielistes dei fratelli delle scuole cristiane e dei Lasalliani.

Saluto il gruppo del Vicariato Apostolico di Anatolia, l’Associazione Amicinsieme e la Fondazione Simpatia e Amicizia. Invito tutti a pregare per i defunti in questo mese di novembre, e il vostro pellegrinaggio alla Sede Apostolica rafforzi il senso di appartenenza all’unica famiglia ecclesiale.

Rivolgo un pensiero ai giovani, agli ammalati e agli sposi novelli. Ieri abbiamo celebrato la memoria di San Martino de Porres. La sua grande carità sia di esempio a voi, cari giovani, per vivere la vita come donazione; il suo abbandono in Cristo Salvatore sostenga voi, cari ammalati, nei momenti più difficili della sofferenza; e il suo vigore spirituale dia forza a voi, cari sposi novelli, nel vostro cammino coniugale."

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