Антоний, митрополит Су́рожский

Forgiveness Sunday – Vespers

Sunday, 12 марта 1989

Just a few words before we start: Every year we start Lent with this service of forgiveness; and every year, I am certain that you, as I do, feel that you have forgiven incompletely. Because to forgive in the full sense of the word would be to forgive as God forgives us: completely, unreservedly, so that reconciliation should be total and final, but also that this forgiveness, both given and received, should be enacted by both sides in the way in which God forgives. And we know what God's forgiveness is; Saint Paul says, Few would be prepared to give their lives for a friend – and God has given His life for us while we were His enemies: it's a matter of giving one's life. I don’t think that anyone of us is capable of doing this; but every year we can learn a little more about it, become more aware of the fact that unless this kind of forgiveness triumphs, the world will remain either in a twilight or in an ever-increasing darkness... So let us all here, and also, each of us wherever he мая be, learn to forgive however little, and be clearly aware that the forgiveness which we offer, and the forgiveness which we receive, is s o small compared to what we expect from God: to be loved, and to be

loved as God has loved us in Christ: with all His life, and with all His death... And when we come to one another asking for forgiveness, let us be aware of the fact that our forgiveness is only partial; and there will be among us people who cannot forgive one another because the pain endured through offence is too great; let us then be truly honest and say, Forgive me because I can not forgive you! Pray for me that one day my soul, my memories, my whole self мая be healed to such an extent that I should be able to let go of the pain, of the hurt, of the resentment, of the bitterness and of my inability to forgive... So let us stand before God, asking for His forgiveness; let us stand before one another, hoping in the prayers of each other for our own forgiveness; and then, let us go from year to year, so that one day, before we die, we мая be able to receive forgiveness with all our heart, all our being, body and soul, mind and hearty and give it in the same way.


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