My Chains Are Gone

In the 2011 World Youth Day in Madrid Spain, Pope Benedict XVI said, “God never tires of forgiving. We all need forgiveness…It brings a hope-filled future” and, at another time, he said, “Holiness does not consist in never having erred or sinned. Holiness increases the capacity for conversion, for repentance, for willingness to start again and, especially for reconciliation and forgiveness”

Pope Benedict’s message of forgiveness comes directly from scripture. In today’s Gospel, Christ tells us that we should forgive others in the same way that our Heavenly Father forgives us. In fact, our eternal salvation is directly dependent on it. You would think that, because of the weight it carries, we would be quick to forgive. But I think, for the most part, we aren’t. As much as I try to forgive, more than 10 years later I still hold a grudge against the girl who was mean to me in middle school. But that’s not how God’s forgiveness works. He holds no grudges, He holds nothing against us. Instead, He forever invites us back into His heart with the sacrament of confession so that we might reunite ourselves to His Will. In His Goodness, He has compassion for us. In the same way that the master had mercy on his servant and forgave his debt, so too does God have mercy on us and forgive the debt we owe him because of our sins.

In the first reading we hear the words, “But with a contrite heart and humble spirit let us be received…So let our sacrifice be in your presence today as we follow you unreservedly.” Our contrition and our repentance should be absolute and wholehearted. God loved us so much that He gave His only Son to “pay a debt he didn’t owe because we owed a debt we couldn’t pay”. May we not lose hope in Christ, our Redeemer, because by His sacrifice are we able to have the hope-filled future of which Pope Benedict reminds us.

As we are now in the middle of the Lenten season, let us use the rest of this time to ask for forgiveness for our sins and open our hearts to continuous conversion.

St. Elizabeth Clitherow, pray for us!

St. Theodore, pray for us!

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Dakota currently lives in Denver, CO is studying for her Master’s in Spanish, and loves her job as an elementary school librarian. She is engaged to the love of her life, Ralph. In her spare time, she reads, goes to breweries, and watches baseball. Dakota’s favorite saints are St. John Paul II (how could it not be?) and St. José Luis Sánchez del Río. She is passionate about her faith and considers herself blessed at any opportunity to share that faith with others. Check out more of her writing at