Forgive Us Our Trespasses

by Fr. Brian Doyle


Many of us are all familiar with the expression, “To err is human, but to forgive is Divine.” This basically means that, as humans, we all make mistakes, but the ability to forgive those mistakes does not come naturally but is a gift from God. Christ only taught us one prayer, the “Our Father” At the heart of this prayer are the lines “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

The vocation of every person is to become holy like God. God is merciful. If we want to be like Him, we have to become people of mercy. Jesus taught this quite explicitly when He said, "If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them” (Luke 6:32). Rather, He exhorted us to, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who treat you badly” (Luke 6:27-28). These are very difficult words for most of us.

Which of us really loves our enemies or prays for those who treat us badly? Yet, Jesus is quite clear. If we want to be sons and daughters of our Father in Heaven then we have to behave like He does. Jesus reminds us that the Father “is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked” (Luke 6:35). It is a sobering thought, but Jesus is talking about each one of us here.

We are often ungrateful for God’s blessings and often cruel to others. Yet the Father does not hesitate to forgive our shortcomings.

As we go through life we all make enemies. In fact, there is a humorous saying that goes; “Friends come and go but enemies accumulate.” So the older you are, probably, the more enemies you have or the more people you have met that you find disagreeable! This is often a cause of irritation or stress to us but Jesus tells us that if we can find it in our hearts to forgive these people then His peace will come to dwell in our hearts.

Unforgiveness is destructive and robs us of interior peace. The Lord knows this and desires each one of us to be happy. St. Paul advises His disciples that we should “forgive each other as soon as a quarrel begins” so that “the peace of Christ may reign in our hearts” (Col. 3:13). This is not easy and we must pray frequently for the grace to forgive those that have caused us hurt or pain. In doing so, we will become people of mercy and of peace and bring that peace to the world around us.

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St. Eunan's Cathedral, Letterkenny, Donegal, Ireland

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Letterkenny, Donegal, Ireland



You can pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy with the Sisters of Merciful Jesus everyday at 3pm via the webcam in St. Eunan's Cathedral, Letterkenny, Donegal, Ireland.