Seventy Seven Times


This morning, I sat in morning mass listening to my amazing pastor homilize on today’s gospel reading from Matthew 18. I’d read the gospel earlier in the morning, and had stopped to ask myself if there was anyone I needed to work on forgiving… any deeply held grudges or hurts that were causing me to withhold forgiveness like the indebted servant in Matthew’s gospel.

I think I tend to be a “forgive and forget” type of girl, especially as I age and my memory dims. In fact, sometimes when a friend says to me, “I hope I didn’t offend you when I said ‘xyz’“, I laugh and let them know that the older I get, the more likely I am to forget such offenses.

But the truth is, sometimes the hurts that are the most difficult to let go are the simple little ones that come from those we love most — a husband who snaps because he’s tired, a child who takes our service for granted, a parent who nags… these aren’t civil war offenses, but they can place a sense of separation between us and the ones who love most.

Monsignor’s advice to us this morning on the topic of forgiveness was twofold:

  1. To get beyond your anger, remember that you too are capable of doing harm to others
  2. Pray (perhaps seventy seven times) for the person you are angry with, a sincere prayer for their well being, a prayer born out of love rather than anger

Are you carrying around a burden of unforgiveness in your life? Does this old hurt spill over into other relationships in your world, causing you an inability to love fully, or to be fully loved by others? Try praying today for the person you are unable to forgive, and perhaps make him or her your special intention for this week.


About Author

Lisa M. Hendey is the founder and editor of and the bestselling author of the Chime Travelers children's fiction series, The Grace of Yes, The Handbook for Catholic Moms and A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms. As a board member and frequent host on KNXT Catholic Television, Lisa has produced and hosted multiple programs and has appeared on EWTN and CatholicTV. Hendey hosted “Catholic Moments” on Radio Maria and is the technology contributor for EWTN’s SonRise Morning Show. Lisa's articles have appeared in Catholic Digest, National Catholic Register, and Our Sunday Visitor. Hendey travels internationally giving workshops on faith, family, and Catholic technology and communications topics. She was selected as an Elizabeth Egan Journalism Fellow, attended the Vatican Bloggers Meeting, the “Bishops and Bloggers” meeting and has written internationally on the work of Catholic Relief Services and Unbound. Hendey lives with her family in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Visit Lisa at for information on her speaking schedule or to invite her to visit your group, parish or organization.

1 Comment

  1. Lisa,

    It is so true how the worst offenses are from the people we are closest to, an offhand remark can ruin my day. Praying for the one who hurt you is a wonderful idea, especially during Lent. Thank you for the reminder.

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