The primary act in sacrament as well as in meditation is that of reception, listening to what is said and intended and opening ourselves to its divine dimensions. Meditative listening requires silence...Never to meditate on God's self-giving without recalling this self-giving to all ("the least of you") is the precondition for avoiding a cleft between my meditation and my daily work in this world.
Forgiveness is the essence of peacemaking and begins with ourselves. First, we find the wisdom to be gained from whatever mistakes we have made or failures we have experienced and give thanks for it. Then we forgive ourselves by releasing blame, guilt, and pain. We also need to forgive others who have hurt us. We do not have to condone what they have done, but we do need to release our anger and resentment toward them... Since our inner world is reflected in our outer world, peace, joy, and love (the fruits of forgiveness) will flow into the world's environment and help people who are having difficulty forgiving themselves or others.
~from "Creating Good in the World" by Theresa Magness, in Sacred Journey, Dec. 2000
Authentically empowered people forgive naturally. They forgive because they do not want to carry the burden of not forgiving like heavy suitcases through a crowded airport…Forgiveness and harmony go together. When you forgive someone, nothing stands between you and that person. Even if the person you forgive does not like you, you have laid your suitcase down. You travel lightly.
God's forgiveness is unconditional; it comes from a heart that does not demand anything for itself, a heart that is completely empty of self-seeking. It is this divine forgiveness that I have to practice in my daily life. It tells me to keep stepping over all my arguments that say forgiveness is unwise, unhealthy, and impractical. It challenges me to step over all my needs for gratitude and compliments. Finally, it demands of me that I step over that wounded part of my heart that feels hurt and wronged and that wants to stay in control and put a few conditions between me and the one I am asked to forgive. This "stepping over" is the authentic discipline of forgiveness.
~ from RETURN OF THE PRODIGAL SON by Henri J. M. Nouwen
Perhaps it's possible to forgive in one grand swoop, but I didn't experience it that way. I did it in bits and pieces. You forgive what you can, when you can. To forgive does not mean overlooking the offense and pretending it never happened. Forgiveness means releasing our rage and our need to retaliate, no longer dwelling on the offense, the offender, and the suffering, and rising to a higher love. It is an act of letting go so that we can go on.
~ from THE DANCE OF THE DISSIDENT DAUGHTER by Sue Monk Kidd
What keeps us from forgiving the people who hurt us is that we have not yet healed the wounds they inflicted. Forgiveness is the gift at the end of the healing process. We find it waiting for us when we reach a point where we stop expecting "them" to pay for what they did or make it up to us in some way. Yet, forgiveness is moving on. It is recognizing that we have better things to do with our life and then doing them.
~ from YOM KIPPUR READINGS, ed. by R. Dov Peretz Elkins
A few old trees remain standing in the pasture that had been the schoolyard. In addition, five young evergreens now grow along a nearby fence row... They rise heavenward, quietly pointing to the Divine Grace that somehow enabled the community to forgive within hours of the violence.
~ Donald B Kraybill in "Amish Memorials:The Nickel Mines Pasture and Quiet Forgiveness" HUFFPOST, 2011
Blessed are those who have confessed
their erring ways,
who have asked for forgiveness.
Blessed are those whose burdens
have been lifted,
who are able to respond with love.
For the Beloved walks with them and
speaks to them in the Silence;
With mercy and compassion, they
are held in Love's heart;
All who are at one with Love will
live in peace and harmony.
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