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Vision: To Foster Catholic Men's Spirituality in Chicago Southland
Forgive And Be Forgiven 
By Frank J Casella
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Photo: 'Where There Is No Love' - "Where there is not love, put love. And then you will find love." - Saint John of the Cross - Copyright 2017 Frank J Casella
Forgive and be forgiven. This is a message that we should all live by. It is the key to a happy and successful life.
When you forgive, you set yourself free. The pain and hurt of the past no longer has control over you. By forgiving, you open up the possibility of moving on.
When you forgive, you are forgiving not just the person who has wronged you, but it's important that you are also forgiving yourself. Forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself, and in turn, you receive a gift of healing and peace. 
What you can't control is how others will react towards you, but you can control how forgiving you are and how it affects you.
In other words, the more you forgive, the more forgiveness comes back to you. 
Matthew 6:14 - If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you.
Matthew 18:21 - Then Peter approaching asked him, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 
* [18:21–35] The final section of the discourse deals with the forgiveness that the disciples are to give to their fellow disciples who sin against them. To the question of Peter how often forgiveness is to be granted (Mt 18:21), Jesus answers that it is to be given without limit (Mt 18:22) and illustrates this with the parable of the unmerciful servant (Mt 18:23–34), warning that his heavenly Father will give those who do not forgive the same treatment as that given to the unmerciful servant (Mt 18:35). Mt 18:21–22 correspond to Lk 17:4; the parable and the final warning are peculiar to Matthew. That the parable did not originally belong to this context is suggested by the fact that it really does not deal with repeated forgiveness, which is the point of Peter’s question and Jesus’ reply.
Forgiveness will unleash a power in your life that is underrated and often ignored. It is underrated mainly because it is underused. We fail to capture the power of forgiveness because we are afraid of it, because we have grown comfortable in our familiar wounds, or because we are sinfully stubborn. But the power is there waiting for us.
The lesson is simple: Give forgiveness and you will unleash a flood of grace on yourself and on those around you. When you clench your fists and show anger toward someone, you have no room in your heart for God to place His hand in yours. Replace your clenched fist with an open hand and watch as God fills your soul to overflowing.
Resentment and bitterness prevent us from living fully in the present and moving forward. They can also lead to negative emotions, like anger and resentment, which can harm our physical and mental health. And, sadly, resentment and bitterness can also lead to death.
Instead, let go of the past and welcome forgiveness into your life. This will allow you to live more fully in the present and embrace your life as it is meant to be.
Pope Francis reminded that the Church is not for the perfect but for the rest of us who need to be forgiven. "If I see someone who is walking forward with his nose in the air, thinking he is better than anyone else, I tell him to put his nose down," Francis said in a speech to the presidents of bishops' conferences. "The church is not for the perfect, it's for the rest of us."
Forgiveness can be a tricky emotion. We often do it wrong in both action and outlook. Maybe we think it is easy, until someone wounds us deeply. Or we think it’s a sign of weakness, until we realize the strength it takes to give and receive it.
We might even think that forgiveness has a limit. That there are some things that can’t be forgiven, shouldn’t be forgiven. But God’s promise is always greater than our past. And that’s the power of forgiveness. It’s the ability to move forward together with Christ, despite the pain of the past.
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Aplostolate of Bishop Joseph N Perry
Executive Director, Frank J Casella 

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The CMCS Mission: Catholic Men Chicago Southland (CMCS) is engaged in fostering holy and courageous men and proclaiming the importance of husbands and fathers to children and the family. CMCS is a Catholic Apostolate founded in 2004 by Most Reverend Joseph N. Perry, Deacon John Rangel, and Mr. Frank J Casella.
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