A Short Homily, On Forgiveness, by Saint Mark the Ascetic

“He who seeks forgiveness of his sins loves humility, but if he condemns another he seals his own wickedness.” So, “when you first become involved in something evil, do not say, ‘It will not overpower me.’ For to the extent that you are involved, you have already been overpowered by it.” Again, “If you do not want to suffer evil, do not inflict it, since the suffering of it inevitably follows its infliction. ‘For whatsoever a man soweth, that also shall he reap [Gal. 6:7].’”

“It is a great virtue to accept patiently whatever comes and, as the Lord enjoins, to love a neighbor who hates you.” Indeed, “It is better to pray devoutly for your neighbor than to rebuke him every time he sins.” Now, “the sign of sincere love is to forgive wrongs done to us. It was with such love that the Lord loved the world. Remember that we cannot with all our heart forgive someone who does us wrong unless we possess real knowledge. For this knowledge shows us that we deserve all we experience.

“When harmed, insulted, or persecuted by someone, do not think of the present but wait for the future, and you will find he has brought you much good, not only in this life but also in the life to come.” So, “accept present afflictions for the sake of future blessings; then you will never weaken in your struggle. But again, pray that temptation may not come to you; but when it comes, accept it as your due and not undeserved.” For “he who suffers wrong and does not demand any reparation from the man who wronged him, trusts in Christ to make good the loss; and he is rewarded a hundredfold in this world and inherits eternal life.” As for the sinner, “he cannot escape retribution except through repentance appropriate to his offense.”

Source: The Great Synaxaristes of the Orthodox Church, Triodion. Holy Apostles Convent, Buena Vista, Colorado.

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