Archive for November, 2015
Vatican City, Rome, Italy – Pope Francis spoke on the role of forgiveness in helping families become a force for the betterment of society during his Wednesday, Nov. 4 general audience address in St. Peter’s Square.
“The practice of forgiveness not only preserves families from division,” but allows them to aid society in becoming “less evil and cruel,” the Pope said. He compared the family to a gym in which “reciprocal forgiveness” is exercised and he expressed his desire for families to rediscover the “treasure” of reciprocal forgiveness.
“No love can endure for long,” without forgiveness, he said, reflecting on the “Our Father” prayer which calls us to forgive as we ourselves are forgiven.
“We cannot live without forgiveness – or, at least, we cannot live well, especially in the family.”
Forgiveness should be exercised every day, the Pope continued, saying we must take into account our fragility and pride. He also warned against allowing too much time to pass before forgiving; otherwise, it becomes more difficult.
“Do not allow the day to end without saying ‘I’m sorry,’ without making peace between husband and wife, between parents and children, between brother and sister… between daughter-in-law and mother-in-law!”
In learning to forgive and ask forgiveness, wounds are healed, marriage is strengthened, and the family becomes fortified against our own acts of meanness, both small and great, the Pope said.
“Don’t finish the day at war, understand? Forgive.”
– Papal audience: importance of family as place of forgiveness
– Pope speaks on importance of forgiveness within families
– Families must forgive and not ‘end the day in war,’ Pope says
– Forgiveness in family has power to rebuild society, Pope says
I sometimes wonder if people need first to forgive themselves instead of others. Here is what I mean: Person A is dissatisfied with herself for past failings and so gets angry at others. Person A is displacing her anger now onto these others. If she could forgive herself, then maybe she could see that these others were not as unjust to her as she once thought.
This is definitely possible, but surely is not always the case. Sometimes, as we know, people are unjust to us and our disappointment within ourselves is not the cause of our anger toward these people .Yet, if you sense that Person A, someone you wish to help, is continually finding fault with many people and your sincere judgement is that these others are not behaving nearly as badly as Person A is saying, then yes, your plan of action seems reasonable. Gently ask Person A if she is dissatisfied with herself, perhaps she has broken her own standard. Self-forgiveness then may be the best place to start.
Let us not allow one truth of forgiveness to obscure another of its truths.
One truth seems to be this: When we forgive, we often suffer. We bear pain on behalf of the one who hurt us, as one example of how we suffer as we forgive.
A second truth of forgiveness is this: As we forgive, we experience joy. We see this in our scientific studies, as people shed anxiety and anger and depression and become more hopeful.
Suffering and joy—-together. Enjoy the forgiveness journey.
Are there movies for 10-to-12 year old boys that you could recommend? I am looking for a forgiveness film for my sons. Thank you in advance.
I would recommend the 1999 film, October Sky.
October Sky is a heartwarming tale of a boy and his father, who have much tension between them. The boy, Homer Hickam, is fascinated by rockets, which his father thinks are impractical. Near the story’s end, the rockets play a part in the offer of forgiving and the receiving of forgiveness between father and son.
There are many misconceptions about forgiveness. Here are 5 worth noting:
1. Forgiveness places the burden for healing on the one who was the victim. For example, if someone is assaulted and now is feeling depressed, the burden for healing falls on the one who was assaulted. Our answer: Of course the burden of healing rests with the one hurt. That is always the case whether the hurt is emotional (as in the case of depression) or physical (a broken leg, for example). When we have an injury of any kind, we should never rely on the one who injured us to somehow fix the consequences of our injury because too often the injurer is not concerned one way or the other with our healing.
2. Forgiveness foreswears punishment of the injurer and lets him or her off the hook. Our answer: Forgiveness and justice grow up together.
When one forgives, one should seek justice. In the case of punishment, if the injurer broke the law, the injured one should not take the law into his/her own hands, but leave the punishment to a neutral, third party judge.
3. Forgiveness is morally suspect because one “lets go” of the other’s injustice. Our answer: Forgiveness is not a “letting go” of an offense but instead is a merciful overture to the one who had no mercy on the victim.
4. Forgiveness makes the one injured develop a victim-identity, in essence crippling his or her self-esteem. Our answer: Forgiveness helps one to thrive and rise above the injustice, thus helping the forgiver to shed the victim mentality.
5. Forgiveness is dangerous because it puts the injured one in harm’s way again as he or she reaches out to the injurer. Our answer: Forgiveness is not the same as reconciliation. To forgive is a moral virtue. To reconcile is a negotiation strategy of developing once again mutual trust. One can forgive without reconciling.