Last Wednesday, while speaking on the ‘Our Father’, and particularly the words “as we forgive those who trespass against us” he (Pope Francis) said “We have received everything from Him, in terms of nature and of grace. Our life was not only willed but was also loved by God. There is truly no room for presumption when we join our hands to pray. “Self-made men” don’t exist in the Church — men who made themselves. We are all debtors of God and of so many persons who have given us favourable conditions of life. Our identity is built from the good received. The first is life.
One who prays learns to say “thank you.” And we so often forget to say “thank you.” We are egoistic. One who prays learns to say, “thank you,” and asks God to be benevolent to him or to her. Try as we might, an overwhelming debt remains before God, which we will never be able to restore: He loves us infinitely more than we love Him. And then, try as we might to live according to Christian teachings, there will always be something in our life for which to ask forgiveness: we think of days spent lazily, of moments in which resentment occupied our heart, and so on. It’s these experiences, unfortunately not rare, which make us implore: “Lord, Father, forgive us our trespasses.” So we ask God for forgiveness.
If we think properly, the invocation could also be limited to this first part; it would be good. Instead, Jesus welds it with a second expression that is altogether one with the first. The vertical relationship of benevolence on God’s part is refracted and we are called to translate it into a new relationship that we live with our brothers: a horizontal relationship. The good God invites us to be altogether good. The two parts of the invocation are linked together with a merciless conjunction: we ask the Lord to forgive us our trespasses, our sins “as” we forgive our friends, the people that live with us, our neighbours, the people who have done something bad to us”.