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Russia: mgr. Pezzi (archbishop of Moscow), Advent letter about forgiveness. “Leaving evil behind”

All focussed on the subject of forgiveness is the pastoral letter that the archbishop of Moscow, mgr. Paolo Pezzi, wrote for his congregation in this time of Advent. The year of Mercy that has just ended “has it been a time in which, having experienced God’s forgiveness in our hearts, we have forgiven our neighbours?”, the archbishop asks at the beginning of his letter. After a short review of forgiveness in the Old and New Testament, he then says: “To love our neighbours, we must learn to really accept and love ourselves. This is what Jesus means when He states: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself’ (Mk 12,31)”. “It is impossible to love and forgive other people, our neighbours, unless we love and forgive ourselves. And it is impossible to love and forgive ourselves unless we let God love and forgive us”, writes mgr. Pezzi, who explains: when we do not forgive, it means “we have not experienced forgiveness yet and we are still driven by the lay principles of the world”. Forgiving, mgr. Pezzi writes on, is a “process that covers the horizon of our life, it is a path of acceptance and inclusion of what we still perceive as alien and hostile”. And, in ending his letter, the archbishop calls his congregation to get ready for Christmas “by leaving offences, gossips, complaints behind on entering the church” and “asking the Church to make us stronger in faith, hope and love”.

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