In the upcoming weeks, we honor the Blessed Mother on multiple days on the liturgical calendar. We are so blessed because we have been given a spiritual mother who loves us and wants to intercede for us and bring us closer to her Son Jesus.
Mary is described as the “Mother of Mercy,” but Pope Francis, in the Year of Mercy, described Mary also as the “Mother of forgiveness.” He recited the words of an ancient hymn: “Hail Mother of mercy, Mother of God, Mother of forgiveness, Mother of hope, Mother of grace and Mother of holy gladness.” He went on to elucidate that for generations we have sought her intercession and consolation.
Pope Francis explained how critical it was to understand “forgiveness.” The pope went on: “A person unable to forgive has not yet known the fullness of love. Only one who truly loves is able to forgive and forget. At the foot of the Cross, Mary becomes for all people the mother of forgiveness, as she follows in the example of her Son who forgives those who are killing him.”
The pope further explains, “For us, Mary is an icon of how the Church must offer forgiveness to those who seek it. The Mother of forgiveness teaches the Church that the forgiveness granted on Golgotha knows no limits. Neither the law with its quibbles, nor the wisdom of this world with its distinctions, can hold it back. The Church’s forgiveness must be every bit as broad as that offered by Jesus on the Cross and by Mary at his feet. There is no other way.”
We are blessed, according to Pope Francis, because Mary offers us a “three-fold gift of her son: hope, grace and holy gladness. The gift that Mary bestows in offering us Jesus is the forgiveness which renews life, enables us once more to do God’s will and fills us with true happiness. This grace frees the heart to look to the future with the joy born of hope.”
The pontiff emphasized the importance of forgiveness as “the true antidote to the sadness caused by resentment and vengeance by bringing peace and serenity by freeing the heart from resentment.”
We were told by the pope, “let us allow her to lead us to the rediscovery of the beauty of an encounter with her Son Jesus. Let us open wide the doors of our heart to the joy of forgiveness, conscious that we have been given new confidence and hope, and thus make our daily lives a humble instrument of God’s love.”
We were told by Jesus on the Cross to “behold our Mother.” Doesn’t a mother want the best for us? What mother would want us harboring poison in our souls by failing to forgive? Our spiritual Mother stands and watches us, interceding as we go through our own cross. She is ever vigilant as she unconditionally loves us, always watching and interceding for our intentions. She greatly desires us to repent of our sins and lack of forgiveness, and to love God with all our heart and soul.
Do we believe that our Mother’s intercession can lead to miracles in our lives? Especially miracles of forgiveness and softening of our hearts? We see the example of how Mary goes to her Son Jesus and asks Him for a miracle: “they ran out of wine.” Mary is our spiritual mother and needs to be an integral part of our faith life and spirituality.
In the Blessed Mother’s six appearances at Fatima, she encouraged the children to pray the rosary. The rosary is a tremendous gift to help us forgive and intercede for others. In her third appearance to the shepherd children, Mary told them: “Sacrifice yourself for sinners, and say many times, especially whenever you make some sacrifice, ‘O my Jesus, it is for the love of Thee for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.’” Additionally, Mary taught us as our Lady of Fatima to pray at the end of each decade of the rosary, “O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fire of hell, take all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of your mercy.”
Peace and forgiveness are two sides of the same coin. They go together because when we forgive, we receive the fruit of the Spirit which includes having peace in our hearts. The fruit of peace is a message from Our Lady everywhere she has appeared. It was the third part of her Fatima message. She spoke to the children often about peace and urged them to pray for peace. This occurred during World War I, a time of tremendous destruction and loss of life in Europe. Additionally, Mary told all of us to do penance and pray for peace because otherwise men will perish. She gave the children a vision of hell and told them to pray for urgent peace, to fight for peace and plead to God for peace.
In my life, I have found that our Mother can lead us to want to forgive, even in the most difficult situations. There are people who are difficult to forgive. Ask our Mother, who is “full of grace,” to intercede and give you strength to forgive. There have been people who have betrayed my trust and said things that were not true. Jesus had the same problem.
When we are wronged, we can harbor ill will or choose to forgive those who have hurt us. We all know forgiveness is difficult or even impossible. However, God is the God of the possible. It is through His grace and the intercession of our spiritual Mother that the miracle of forgiveness can occur.
So many people do not have a relationship or devotion to Mary. They miss an opportunity for a deeper spiritual life and love of Jesus. Pray the rosary every day and pray for those who you are struggling to forgive. When you do, your life will change dramatically for the better. Praise God and expect great miracles of forgiveness!”
—Deacon Steve Greco goes into greater detail on this topic in his 2019 book Miracles Through Forgiveness. Visit the Spirit Filled Hearts Ministry store to obtain a copy.