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Week of September 13

Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Sirach 27:30-28:7, Ps 103, Rom 14:7-9, Mt 18:21-35

Forgiveness is the theme for this weekend’s scripture readings.  The psalm refrain: “The Lord is kind and merciful, slow to anger, rich in compassion” brings comfort and reassurance to any situation.

I recall an incident in the novitiate where I was speaking unkindly about a fellow novice (my friend) when she walked into the room. I quickly realized she overheard what I had said. I felt horrible and embarrassed. While she forgave me rather quickly, I had difficulty forgiving myself. The desire to be healed and forgiven from that wrong-doing stayed with me. It was months later when on retreat that I was brought to self-forgiveness. The guilt I carried was lifted from my heart. Knowing God’s mercy and feeling God’s compassion brought a joy that felt like music to my heart.  It was a freeing experience!

What keeps me from seeking forgiveness?  What other guilt am I holding onto?  

O God, help me be open to the kindness and mercy You offer.

Sister Marcia Ziska has been a member of the Benedictine Sisters at Mount St. Scholastica, Atchison, KS, for 47 years. A retired certified hospital chaplain, she has served in pastoral care, formation work and was associate director of the Sophia Center, the community’s retreat center. Sister Marcia coordinated the Rome Renewal Program for English-speaking Benedictine women world-wide from 2003-2010. She served on the National Religious Vocation Conference Board the American Benedictine Formation Conference Leadership Team. She currently is vocation director, does spiritual direction, and is a staff member for the spiritual direction training program, Souljourners.