Monthly Message from Fr. Ghassan - January/February 2024

On Forgiveness

Several years ago, Brother Gabriel joined a monastery and began his monastic life with seriousness and enthusiasm. This brother began to advance, day after day, in virtue, obedience, and meekness. One day, the head of the monastery noticed Brother Gabriel passing by the cells of his fellow monks every Saturday after evening prayer, asking them forgiveness, saying: “Bless and forgive me.” He heard the monks response to him: “May God bless and forgive you.” So, he thought, at first glance, that brother Gabriel had committed a crime or sin, and was asking forgiveness for it. 

However, when the matter repeated itself for weeks and months, the abbot summoned the struggling monk and asked him: “I see you, my son, frequently passing by the monks cells, asking them forgiveness. Have you sinned against them? If so, why have you not confessed it to me?” Brother Gabriel responded: “No, Father. With God’s help and your prayers, I am very careful not to upset my fellow monks, neither in word nor in action.” “But why then do you do this every Saturday?” responded the Abbot.

“Forgive me, Father, I had previously read in an old spiritual book that I found in the monastery library, that every Saturday after evening prayers, the guardian angels gather before the throne of God to present reports on human actions; each guardian angel comes and prostrates before the Divine Throne, upon which sits Jesus Christ our Lord and Judge, and they inform Him of the deeds of the people. The Lord rejoices at the good deeds and blesses those who do them, and grieves over the bad deeds, hoping that those who commit them will repent, lest they be judged with the wicked on the terrible day of judgement, where Hell will become their portion if they do not repent. Therefore, you see me, O holy father, forgiving others for their slightest lapses on their part, and I, too, ask forgiveness of my transgressions towards them that I might escape God’s terrible and eternal judgement.” -Fr. Ghassan Haddad

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