Lord Jesus, you have invited me to your banquet table,
though I deserve to be thrown into the dungeon.
So I accept your invitation in fear and trembling,
encouraged only by your mercy and goodness.
My soul and body are defiled by so many sinful deeds.
My tongue and my heart have run wild without restraint,
causing misery to others and shame to myself.
My soul bleeds with the wounds of wrongdoing,
and my body is like a temple of Satan.
If I was to come before you as my judge,
you could only condemn me to eternal torment,
for that is what I deserve.
Yet I come before you, not as a judge,
but as a saviour.
I depend not on your justice,
but on your mercy.
As you look upon the wretched creature that I am,
I ask that your eyes be filled
with compassion and forgiveness.
And as I sit at your table,
I beg you to renew within me
a spirit of holiness,
that I may be worthy to share your supper.
St Ambrose, c. 339 – 397, Bishop of Milan
Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.