- Telling the Story
- Naming the Hurt
- Granting Forgiveness
- Renewing or Releasing the Relationship
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Wednesday, February 5, 2020
Thursday, February 6, 2020
WINTER FASHION WEEK
Sirach, Chapter 15, Verse 1
Whoever fears the LORD will do this; whoever is practiced in the Law will come to Wisdom.
Practiced in the law means to follow the commandment of God and the commandment of God is love.
Your freedom is a gift from God but with it comes human responsibility. God, who sees everything, is neither the cause nor the occasion of sin. We have the power to choose our behavior and we are responsible for both the good and the evil we do.
Deceivers are those who hold the Lord responsible for their sins.
We can choose to harm, or we can choose to heal.
As the former Archbishop of Cape Town, Desmond Tutu became a leading human rights advocate who has championed causes such as poverty, racism, homophobia, sexism, HIV/AIDS and war. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 and the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009. In his newest work, The Book of Forgiving (co-authored with his daughter, Mpho Tutu), he offers four steps to forgiving and healing:
Here, we discuss this process, how his experiences with apartheid relate to it, and how he answers those who’ve criticized it.
· Your first step to forgiveness and healing is to “admit the wrong and acknowledge the harm.”
Doesn’t that just dredge up old pain? For both the offender and the victim, the pain is there, often unacknowledged and that is when it can cause harm through festering. When I ignore a physical wound, it does not go away. No, it festers and goes bad. It may be initially painful to open up a wound, but then it can be cleaned out and cauterized. And you can pour a healing balm.
· Another step you list is “asking for…and granting forgiveness.”
How do you forgive someone who doesn’t think they’ve done anything wrong? That is a very important issue. If forgiving depended on the culprit owning up, then the victim would always be at the mercy of the perpetrator. The victim would be bound in the shackles of victimhood. That is why forgiving is a gift to the forgiver as well as to the perpetrator. As the victim, you offer the gift of your forgiving to the perpetrator who may or may not appropriate the gift, but it has been offered and thereby it liberates the victim. Jesus prayed that His Father should forgive the men who were nailing Him to the cross even as they were doing so; He even found an excuse for them and so really offered His forgiveness thereby. He did not wait until they asked for His forgiveness. Of course, it would have been far better if they had been penitent and asked for His forgiveness. It was a gift He was giving to Himself as well, which released Him from being filled with self-pity, an unhealthy psychological state. It would be grossly unfair to the victim to be dependent on the whim of the perpetrator. It would make him or her a victim twice over. The gift has been given. It is up to the intended recipient to appropriate it. The outside air is fresh and invigorating and it is always there. If you are in a dank and stuffy room, you can enjoy that fresh air if you open the windows. It is up to you.
· RNS: In a post entitled, “Why Desmond Tutu is Wrong,” Lesley Leyland Fields suggests that your notion that we forgive “for ourselves” is “killing biblical forgiveness.” She says, “Biblical forgiveness is a gift first to the offender and to Christ.” How do you respond?
I have already pointed how it is important, very important to give oneself that gift, of letting go of resentment and anger which diminish oneself. The self is quite important in who we are. Jesus quoting the Torah answers the question, “Which is the greatest law?” by saying, “The first is Thou shalt love The Lord thy God with all….” And then He adds, “The second is, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself”. That is the highest approbation one can hope for about a proper self-love. We know the havoc that has been caused by those with a feeble self-image, weak self-esteem. They will usually throw their weight around trying to fill the hollow inside them. Offering forgiveness prevents us from being destroyed by a corrosive resentment. It helps us grow in being magnanimous.
· RNS: Fields also says that Biblical forgiveness is “not about letting go of the past, but about redeeming the past.
If “redeeming the past” means “not allowing the past to haunt you, to have a stranglehold on you” then I’m happy to let her use her phrase.
· RNS: You mention that sometimes the final step is “releasing” rather than “renewing” the relationship. How do you know which is the right path?
There are the fairly obvious ones: an abusive relationship should be easy to identify though often one of the most difficult to end; or one where you are likely to be misled into risky behavior–like excessive drinking, experimenting with dangerous substances, etcetera. But there are other more subtle ones such as friendships that can lead to infidelity and other things. In the end, we know the relationships we should end.
US Disunion of State and Faithful Citizenship
Our redemption has a social dimension because "God, in Christ, redeems not only the individual person, but also . . . social relations." To believe that the Holy Spirit is at work in everyone means realizing that he seeks to penetrate every human situation and all social bonds. . . . Accepting the first proclamation, which invites us to receive God's love and to love him in return with the very love which is his gift, brings forth in our lives and actions a primary and fundamental response: to desire, seek and protect the good of others.
(Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, no. 178)
As a nation, we share many blessings and strengths, including a tradition of religious freedom and political participation. However, as a people, we face serious challenges that are both political and moral. This has always been so and as Catholics we are called to participate in public life in a manner consistent with the mission of our Lord, a mission that he has called us to share. As Pope Francis teaches,
An authentic faith . . . always involves a deep desire to change the world, to transmit values, to leave this earth somehow better than we found it. We love this magnificent planet on which God has put us, and we love the human family which dwells here, with all its tragedies and struggles, it hopes and aspirations, its strengths and weaknesses. The earth is our common home and all of us are brothers and sisters. If indeed "the just ordering of society and of the state is a central responsibility of politics," the Church, "cannot and must not remain on the sidelines in the fight for justice." (Evangelii Gaudium, no. 183)
In this fight for justice, God gives us a special gift, hope, which Pope Benedict describes in Caritas in Veritate as "burst[ing] into our lives as something not due to us, something that transcends every law of justice" (no. 34). Thus, we take up the task of serving the common good with joy and hope, confident that God, who "so loved the world that he gave his only Son," walks with us and strengthens us on the way (Jn 3:16). God is love, and he desires that we help to build a "civilization of love"-one in which all human beings have the freedom and opportunity to experience the love of God and live out that love by making a free gift of themselves to one another. Pope Francis encourages us in Evangelii Gaudium to meditate on the inseparable bond between our acceptance of the message of salvation and genuine fraternal love . . . God's word teaches that our brothers and sisters are the prolongation of the incarnation for each of us: "As you did it to one of these, the least of my brethren, you did it to me" (Mt 25:40). The way we treat others has a transcendent dimension: "The measure you give will be the measure you get" (Mt 7:2). It corresponds to the mercy which God has shown us: "Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you . . . For the measure you give will be the measure you get back" (Lk 6:36-38). What these passages make clear is the absolute priority of "going forth from ourselves toward our brothers and sisters" as one of the two great commandments which ground every moral norm and as the clearest sign for discerning spiritual growth in response to God's completely free gift. (no. 179)
Love compels us "to 'go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation' (Mk 16:15)" (Evangelii Gaudium, no. 181). "Here," Pope Francis continues, "'the creation' refers to every aspect of human life; consequently, 'the mission of proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ has a universal destination. Its mandate of charity encompasses all dimensions of existence, all individuals, all areas of community life, and all peoples. Nothing human can be alien to it'" (Evangelii Gaudium, no. 181). This "mandate" includes our engagement in political life. Series will Continue…
Walk the Runway at Fashion Week
Fabulous fashionistas stay ahead of the fashion curve here. Officially known as Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, this biannual bash is New York City’s single-largest media event, attracting more than 100,000 fashion-industry insiders from around the world.
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