Last evening I attended, as I often do, the 6:00 p.m. Mass in our parish. (That is the Mass at which the teen choir – which includes my daughter – sings.) Although my morning prayer often includes praying with the Mass readings of the day, for some reason my prayer yesterday morning did not include any attention to the first reading, which came from the Book of Isaiah. Thus, I heard the reading for the first time as it was proclaimed at the 6:00 p.m. Mass. The lector was especially good, reading the passage slowly and prayerfully, allowing the words to really sink in.
The words that completely arrested me came toward the end of the passage. God says the people of Israel, “You burdened me with your sins, and wearied me with your crimes. It is I, I, who wipe out, for my own sake, your offenses; your sins I remember no more.”
Your sins I remember no more. At the very same time that I felt incredibly unburdened and filled with consolation from the sense of God forgetting my transgressions, I felt shame at how unable I am to say those same words to those who have sinned against me. I realized how easily thoughts of some transgression or another that someone has committed against me comes to my mind…even a very long time after the transgression itself.
Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, we pray in the Lord’s Prayer. Sigh. God’s forgiveness includes not only wiping out our sins, but remembering them no more. I realized how often my own forgiveness of others does not live up to God’s forgiveness of me.
All I can do is pray for the grace to forgive as God does. To be able to “remember no more” the sins others have committed against me. Not an easy feat. Not a feat that is at all possible without God’s grace.