These three words, uttered by the Lord as he hung in agony on the cross, present one of the most challenging aspects of being a Christian. It is difficult for us to forgive – it is not natural and our whole selves bristle at the thought.  When hurts run deep, the idea of forgiveness seems to be an insurmountable obstacle. Our bodies tense up, anxiety and anger rise within us -…they hurt us…..they don’t deserve our forgiveness….these are the thoughts that race through our minds.And yet, forgiveness is exactly what Jesus asks us to do. Each time we profess the Our Father, we recite the Lord’s conditions for forgiveness: forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.  Our very prayer can be the words that pass sentence upon us if we are caught in the chains of unforgiveness. What to do if we deeply desire to follow the Lord, and yet are struggling to forgive those who have hurt us? First, we must realize that forgiveness doesn’t imply that what has been done to us is right. So often we hear this exchange when a wrongdoing has occurred: “I’m sorry.”  “It’s ok.” Forgiveness does not say “It’s ok.” Forgiveness says, “What you did to me was wrong and I am choosing to forgive you for that wrong.” As he hung upon the cross the Lord never said what was being done was “ok” – instead, he chose to forgive those who were persecuting him, ridiculing him, torturing him and humiliating him.  He chose to forgive all of us, whose sins he bore as he died. Father Cantlamessa, in his 2015 Good Friday, describes the model of forgiveness that Jesus has set for us saying:He presents his disciples with an example of infinite generosity. To forgive with his same

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