Archive for June, 2012
I wrote a children’s book, Rising Above the Storm Clouds. It is about a bunny family (yes, a bunny family) in which the two bunny children, Freddie and Ezzie, get into a little squabble. The book is a series of similes in which the children are taught what forgiveness is “like.” An excerpt follows:
“Forgiveness is like this. You’ve just had a big blow-up fight with your friend. The world is all gray clouds and gloom. You go out to the meadow with all the wildflowers. The sun is wearing a happy face, and there is your friend with the biggest smile, hoping you would come. You both lie in the meadow, look up at the cotton ball clouds, and talk of the time you took that airplane ride together. When you forgive each other, you might be surprised when you both find a fragrant summer meadow bursting forth in your heart.”
OK, adults, now you are challenged to take forgiveness seriously. You never know if a child is watching what you do…..Pass on the legacy of forgiveness.
The Gospel Herald: Global Chinese Christian News Service – On the 23rd anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, one of the student leaders at the time, Chai Ling, proclaimed her forgiveness toward those responsible for the tragedy.
“Two decades ago, the Chinese government’s crackdown in Tiananmen Square left hundreds of my fellow students dead,” she explains. “Since then a new generation has grown up in China, and many of them are kept in the dark about what happened on this day in China’s history.”
Describing her forgiveness, she says, “I forgive Deng Xiaoping and Li Peng. I forgive the soldiers who stormed Tiananmen Square in 1989. I forgive the current leadership of China….”
“I pray that a culture of grace will arise in China, giving all people dignity and humanity…” Chai Ling said. “I pray that those who have suffered under oppression will not seek vengeance – like King David’s soldiers did when they killed Absalom – but have the courage to forgive. Forgiveness does not justify wrong, but rather yields the power of judgment to God.”
When a person forgives, he or she may or may not trust the other. It depends on the situation. For example, suppose your partner is a compulsive gambler who has squandered the family fortune. This is an offense for which you can forgive him or her. Yet, you can and should withhold trust in this one area of gambling until he or she proves trustworthy. Trust has to be earned by demonstrations and this can take time. The goal of forgiveness is reconciliation, which includes trust. Just to be clear, you can reconcile with a person and trust him or her in most things, with the understanding that work will be done in the one area that hurts the relationship.
Please consider the following quotation from Mother Teresa of Calcutta: “We cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love.” Now for a little homework assignment. Please consider doing one small, seemingly inconsequential act of love toward someone who has annoyed you recently—-maybe a smile or an encouraging word or an act of service of some kind (such as holding a door open for him or her). Practice forgiving through a small act that has great love attached to it.
Dr. Robert Enright, founder of the International Forgiveness Institute, is one of the featured speakers at the 50th International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) being held in Dublin, Ireland, from June 10-17.
A Eucharistic Congress is an international gathering of people which aims to promote an awareness of the central place of the Eucharist in the life and mission of the Catholic Church, to help improve understanding and celebration of the liturgy, and to draw attention to the social dimension of the Eucharist. Read more about the IEC.
In his session at the IEC on June 14, Dr. Enright will share a pathway to forgiveness that can help reduce anger and sadness and increase happiness despite injustices suffered in the world. This is the second consecutive year that Dr. Enright has been invited to present at the IEC. Read a description of Dr. Enright’s presentation.
Together with Prof. Geraldine Smyth, OP, (Irish School of Ecumenics, Dublin) Dr. Enright also presented “Becoming Eucharist for One Another through Forgiving” on June 7th during the Theology Symposium held at the Pontifical University of St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth, Ireland. The Symposium, held the week prior to the Eucharistic Congress, features scholars from across the disciplines of theology (scripture, systematics, moral theology, liturgy, pastoral studies, missiology, and ecumenics). Read more about the Symposium.