A brother must be forgiven and treated as a friend because he has given me the opportunity to be like my Father in Heaven who lets His sun rise and shine on the just and the unjust.

God has used my brother's frailties to give me the opportunity to be like Jesus - merciful and forgiving.

It does not always follow that my brother and I will ever be bosom friends, but it does mean I wish him well, pray for him and hold no grudge or resentment.

It is difficult after forgiving an injury to forget the incident entirely and yet, this is exactly the kind of forgiveness I expect and hope for from God.

I want my faults and sins to be erased from the Book of Life and I rely on His Mercy to do so.

He will do exactly that, but He asks in return that I do the same to my brother.

When God forgives me He always gives me some token of that forgiveness. It may be a light-hearted feeling or more grace to overcome myself the next time.

His Goodness is so great and His Mercy so Infinite that He rejoices over my repentance and treats me as a long-lost son.

Perhaps a smile or a handshake are sufficient, or some token of my continued confidence in him as a person - to make him realize I do not
think less of him because of his offense.

This forgiving-giving is a trait I too must acquire. I must give my brother some sign that I rejoice in his repentance.

I must not forget the power of holiness of life. If I strive for union with God, that union will manifest itself to my neighbor in many hidden ways.

Jesus described this when He said, "If, therefore, your whole body is filled with light, and no trace of darkness, it will be light entirely, as when a light shines on you with its rays." (Luke 11:36)

Those rays of God's Love shining forth from a soul united to Him, affect every person that soul meets.

The soul itself may not be conscious of its effect on others, but its example of constancy, courage, faith, and love shine out to others like the rays of the sun.

It is enough for a soul that its Lord alone knows its suffering and pain; its only desire is to witness to the joy of belonging to such a Lord.

This kind of witness is powerful and safe because it is hidden, but men must also see my good works and here I often run into danger.

Jesus told me many times during His life to be careful that the light inside me is not darkness. I must be careful not to light a lamp only to put it under a bushel. It must be seen by men to give them light. (Luke 11:33-36)

I can give scandal by a bad example and by no example. A lukewarm Christian can do more harm than one who is leading a sinful life.

A "do nothing" attitude can make my neighbor apathetic and hopeless. It is better for my neighbor to see me try and fail than not to try at all.

Everything I am and everything I do influences someone for better or for worse. I need not be self-conscious and think only of my example, but neither must I forget that other people are influenced by my example and that it speaks a thousand words.

Everyone is important to God and the world. A sick old woman in an apartment, unnoticed and unwanted by her neighbor may, if she keeps close to God, help to save the very person who rejects her.

It is not important I am seen by men, for God can use my life, example, prayers and union with Him to do great things - things I will know only in Eternity - but Eternity is where it counts.

If I cannot bear the fruit of success, I can at least bear the fruit of effort.

My repentance must be proven by a change of life and here is where I need self-control. Over-indulgence and lack of self-control cause many sins.

Jesus came down from glory to my suffering level that I might rise from my misery to His Glory. But to do this I must take upon myself the whole Christ - suffering and resurrected.

He took upon Himself my sins
that I might sin no more.

He took upon Himself my weakness
that I might have grace to overcome.

He took upon Himself my pain
that I might hold his Hand in mine.

He took upon Himself my humiliation
that I might be raised to His Throne.

He took upon Himself the loss of His friends in
His hour of need that I might never be alone in
the hour of my need.

...and then

He stood alone, abandoned by God and man,
so I need never feel desolate or rejected.

...how then

Can I ever think, even for a moment, that I can
be transformed into a worthy son of God unless I
follow in His Blood-stained Footsteps?


Copyright (c) 1997 EWTN Online Services.

Taken from the book Fruits of His Love
by Mother Angelica
For copies contact EWTN

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