Saint Metropolitan Philaret (Voznesensky) of New York, The New Confessor – Forgiveness Sunday.
Probably many of you know that in one of the monastery, when there was a quarrel between one of the brothers, between the monk or novice, the spiritual father would not let them read the Lord's Prayer. Why? Because we pray this prayer: "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive our debtors." Ie, forgive us our sins (debts that - sins), because we forgive our debtors. Or, insofar as we forgive our debtors. "So," - said the spiritual father of his spiritual son - "if you leave it to your neighbor sins, it means that you ask the Lord that He would not forgive your sins. And I do not want you to pray about it. Therefore until you make up, do not read the Lord's Prayer. " Himself understood that immediately becomes restless and always came to mind: "What I actually Christian, if I do not have the right to read the main Christian prayer?" And it quickly led to realize the necessity to reconcile.
Thus, the Lord's mercy, mercy forgiveness of our sins, posing in full communication with the way we ourselves forgive those who are against us guilty.
This evening - Forgiveness Sunday evening, kindly custom of our Church, believers ask each other for forgiveness to forgive and be forgiven of our sins voluntary and involuntary, and unknown slaves.
It often happens that a man touched by this touching, solemn rite willingly bows to his neighbor, asking him for forgiveness, even if it is with them as if they did not come across and may not even be met almost. Because there are meetings and events, when we ourselves, without knowing it, may be something or hurt, scraped our neighbor, or his soul, any temptation for him served. Lord alone knows it all, and our sins, indeed, voluntary and involuntary, and not only against our Lord, but also against our neighbor.
And that's the case, that a man with a bow humbly asks forgiveness from his neighbor, but does not find grace in himself, just humbly bow and ask for forgiveness from the person with whom, indeed, he had quarreled. We need to remember one circumstance, which is always easier in such cases, debt reconciliation. Human pride prevents him, it becomes strongly across all whispers to him that he - right and the other wrong, and that he did not ask what forgiveness. In fact, as pointed out by the Holy Fathers, and otherwise, and can not be, always, when we got such a collision, the two sides are to blame. This must learn by heart once and for all! Because, if we were really committed Christians, and quarrels we would not have happened, and if there are, then we Christians are bad, but it can only cover a mutual reconciliation. That is why devotees spiritually experienced when it comes to issues like this here: how to reconcile how to establish a relationship, they always said, "Do not engage in any showdown because quarrel confused and even more, but simply a Christian, bowed to each other and ask for forgiveness and see how all that you shared and cared immediately melt like wax before the fire. "
Lent is the time of fasting and prayer, there is a time of repentance, there are times when people, especially cares about that from the mercy of God to receive forgiveness of their sins. And behold, the Lord warned that if people did not make peace with your neighbor, do not forgive him, he wasted all his prayers for forgiveness. It corresponds to the Lord: "You are not forgiven and will not be forgiven." That's why it is our duty, I repeat, humbling ourselves, certainly accept and mainly and most of all those with whom we really are spoiled attitude and certainly the more hostility.
We will try to do it with all my heart, because the Lord, and the last one of His parables, said that Heavenly Father sternly and strictly do to us if we do not forgive each of their heart. Not just externally need reconciliation, and it is from his heart, forgive his neighbor if he sins against us. Therefore make peace, brothers, and above all, of course, we are servants of the throne of God, by his very position, which can always more than anyone whatsoever, or give any temptation reckless misconduct, or short, or anything to offend anyone any of our spiritual children, our spiritual flock. Of course, we must first of all in this solemn, joyful and bright evening to ask for forgiveness from you, our beloved flock. So I ask you this, on his own behalf, on behalf of all our beloved fellow elder and ministers and all our clergy. Undoubtedly, we are largely to blame. But remember that Christian love bears all things, and so in the name of love, and according to the commandment of the Lord, we ask you to forgive us. Forgive us, sinners!
Originally published in Russian in: Propovedi i poucheniya Vysokopreosvyashchenneyshego mitropolita Filareta Pervoiyerarkha Russkoy Zarubezhnoy Tserkvi, Vol. II, New York 1989, pp. 37-39.