In his book ,”Jesus of Nazareth – Holy Week’, Pope Emeritus Benedict comments on Judas’ descent into despair after his betrayal of Jesus; Judas spiralled downward because, although he had remorse for what he had done, he could not bring himself to accept that Jesus could forgive him.
Jesus reminds all those who would follow Him, that forgiveness is one of the hallmarks of His true disciples. (recall how, when asked how many times one must forgive another, it was ‘not seven times, I tell you, but 77 times 7’). There is a very real consequence in the interior life, for the Christian who will not forgive; they deny healing graces to themselves and to others.
While we often focus during Lent on our own need for forgiveness and repentance, when we withhold that same forgiveness from others who repent we are not only ignoring, but actually acting contrary to the Gospel. Lent provides us with the opportunity to not only seek grace and mercy, but to be instruments of grace and mercy as well.
Praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever!