MANILA, Oct. 18, 2013—Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle on Friday emphasized the importance of love and forgiveness to the life of the faithful, noting that the blessing of being pardoned from one’s sins is a mission that is meant to be fulfilled and shared by all.
Speaking before delegates of the Philippine Conference on New Evangelization (PCNE), Tagle urged the faithful from diverse faith communities to extend forgiveness not only to individuals close to them, but also to others who have done them shortcomings and misdeeds.
“Forgiveness is a gift from God that we beg God to give us, but it is not just a gift to be given to us. The gift becomes a mission for all,” Tagle said in his testimonial during PCNE’s Assisi Revisited: Interfaith Prayer for Peace held at the UST Quadricentennial Pavilion.
He raised a question to the laity, asking them why it becomes so hard for people to render forgiveness even if they are constantly being forgiven by God from the sins they have committed.
“We have been receiving forgiveness. Can we not proclaim the forgiving love that we have experienced from God?” he said.
The cardinal also called on the faithful not to be selective in forgiving others, noting that the real essence of forgiveness becomes stronger if it is given to one’s enemies.
“All of us long for love, but whom (should we) love? The whole question of the ‘other’, it is easy to love those we consider our own. If (it) is my family and those who agree with me, there is no need to command love,” Tagle said. “Love anyone even your enemies and even those who persecute you. No one is exempted from love.”
Asking for pardon
To exemplify his words on love and forgiveness, Tagle begged pardon for sins committed by the church against individuals from all walks of life who have been neglected by society.
“In the name of my brothers and sisters in the Catholic Church and even in other Christian communities, I beg for pardon, we are sorry for the sins and the hurt that we have inflicted to both Catholics and non- Christians,” he said.
“We want to ask forgiveness to the poor that have been neglected, to the hungry and thirsty that we did not see or hear, to the women who have been degraded and dehumanized, to children who did not experience caring, to the youth who did not find communities where they can belong,” Tagle said.
“We want to ask forgiveness to strangers, foreigners, and aliens in the land, if they are not able to feel that they are our own. We ask the forgiveness of orphans, widows, and the vulnerable for they are loved by God, how come we have not loved them?” he added.
He encouraged the faithful to reflect on the sins they have committed and encouraged them to collaborate with others in building a better community.
“To those who have hurt us, we want to say, we forgive you, we love you and hope we could start to build a home of love, justice, truth and peace not just to ourselves but for the generations to come,” he said.
“Oh God, to you most of all, we ask forgiveness. We hope you won’t get tired of forgiving us,” the prelate said as he led the faithful in asking forgiveness from the Divine.
Purification of memories
Tagle also urged the faithful to purify their memories, noting that thoughts are powerful tools in passing on goodness to others.
“Let us purify our memories—memories filled with prejudice, anger, and hatred; memories that we pass on from generation to generation. (This is the reason) why prejudice begets prejudice,” he said.
God’s love for mankind must always be remembered, Tagle added.
“Let us remember how much God has loved us, how God has been patient to all of us. Let us remember how all of us have a spot to the heart of God. Those are the memories that we should have and pass on (to others),” Tagle said. (Jennifer Orillaza)