“Forgive your neighbour the wrong done to you, and then your sins will be pardoned when you pray.” — Sir 28:2).
One of our dear friends among the Focolare Movement — founded and championed by what might best be described as genuine Christians — just shared their Word of Life for August 2014. Can we meet its challenge, humanity? More:
“This Word of Life is taken from one of the books of the Hebrew Testament written between 180 and 170 B.C. by Ben Sira (Sirach in Greek), a sage, scribe and teacher in Jerusalem. He taught a subject that was dear to the whole tradition of biblical wisdom: God is merciful toward sinners and we should imitate his way of acting.”
Among the comments by the Blessed Lady Chiara Lubich, Focolare founder:
These words (“Forgive your neighbor the wrong done to you, and then your sins will be pardoned when you pray”) not only invite us to forgive, but they remind us that forgiving others is the necessary condition for receiving forgiveness. God listens to us and forgives us in the measure in which we forgive others. Jesus himself warns us: “The measure you give will be the measure you get” (Mt 7:2). “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy” (Mt 5:7). Actually, a heart hardened by hatred is not even capable of recognizing and accepting the merciful love of God.
This is universal spirituality — even if not practiced universally. The Quran also gives it in various ways. One of my favorites, translated, references
“Those who avoid the greater crimes and shameful deeds, and when they are made angry, even then forgive.” — 42:32
The Focolare website reports that each month,
“… a Scripture passage is offered as a guide and inspiration for daily living. This commentary, translated into 96 different languages and dialects, reaches several million people worldwide through print, radio, television and the Internet. Ever since the Focolare’s beginnings, founder Chiara Lubich (1920–2008) wrote her commentaries each month. This one was originally published in September 2002.”
It’s all another reminder of why the esteemed Imam W. Deen Mohammed (1933-2008) pointed The Mosque Cares community — America’s largest indigenous Muslim community — toward Unity and Love with our Focolare brothers and sisters: to learn from and share with each other. Again thanking the Almighty for the Blessed Lady Chiara and Imam Mohammed. G-d’s Peace be with them, always.
— C.B. Hanif