Tuesday of Holy Week

How can it already be Holy Week? Lent seems to have flown by…and I have not been spectacularly successful in doing all that I intended to do during Lent. Today’s post, written for the devotional, is about that, sort of. Now, however, I have a toddler to put to bed.

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3 thoughts on “Tuesday of Holy Week

  1. As you have done throughout this Lenten season, you once again make many excellent points: this time on the purpose of Lenten exercises to help the believer grow in charity and humility. I look forward to reading more.

    On the forgiveness issue, I must say that I take Christ literally at His word: He explicitly states that the reason He forgave those immediately responsible for His death was because they were unaware that they had sinned. I cannot find anything in His statement to suggest that He absolved them in anticipation of a future repentance.

    In the Gospels there are occasions on which repentance precedes forgiveness, such as with the repentant thief on Calvary, and there are occasions on which the inner disposition of the sinner is undisclosed, but I know of no occasion on which Christ forgave a sinner who was adamantly unrepentant. Based on this written record, I act on the assumption that repentance is necessary for forgiveness, unless culpability is diminished or removed altogether by one or more of the seven circumstances, by ignorance of the facts, or by lack of sufficient reflection upon the act. God bless!

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  2. Thanks for that–I agree; Jesus doesn’t condone sin, or forgive a blatantly unrepentant sinner. But the evidence, even in the Old Testament, suggests that forgiveness precedes repentance: God’s grace makes the way for our repentance. It isn’t that we sin and expect God to affirm us in our sinfulness, but that we know God is a God who forgives, a God who will receive us back, so that we can come to our senses and say ‘I will arise and go to my father…’ Your point is well taken, though. I should be more careful in my account of prevenient grace! thanks again and have a blessed Holy Week.

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    • I understand prevenient grace not to be forgiveness per se, but an inclination to repent in order to be forgiven. Although God offers this grace, we are free to make good use of this gift or to ignore it. Thus, St Augustine observes: “God created us without us, but did not will to save us without us” (Serm. 169). Perhaps Christ’s statement that “sins against the Holy Spirit” shall never be forgiven (Mk 3:29; Mt 12:31) describes the sinner who refuses to make good use of this prevenient grace. How exactly grace, repentance, and forgiveness operate pales in comparison to the fact, which you point out, that God’s grace makes the way for our repentance. Blessings to you and yours!

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