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THEOSIS

Nº1 - JUNE 2019


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T R A N S F O R M A T I O N
Where Your Journey Becomes Deeper

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FORGIVENESS:
Your Path to Freedom and Well-being

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Online Monthly Magazne onBible, Psychology, and Spirituality

Human Flourishing
and Well-being
in the Bible (Old Testament)

Why Does Forgiveness Matter?


The Personal andCollective Value
of Forgiveness

Deconstructing
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and Defining
Forgiveness

Theosis - Transformation - Issue no 1 | June 2019 |1


About Theosis
Transformation

Theosis — Transformation is an edu-


cational resource focused on the dia-
logue between the Bible (Old and New
Testament), Spirituality, and Psychol-
ogy. Its goal is to gather high quality
resources from the Internet in a sin-
gle repository within its pages and to
make them available to its readers. In
so doing, Theosis seeks to encourage
an integral form of Christ-Centered
spirituality within the Catholic faith
tradition; promote a holistic approach
toward human beings and creation;
and, foster growth in faith in Jesus the
Christ. Such spirituality, far from be-
ing disconnected from our daily lives,
and through the prompts of the Holy
Spirit that we have received from the
Father and that dwells in us (Romans
8:9) can actually sustain our process
of transformation into the image and
likeness of the Son, Jesus the Christ,
whose life, death and resurrection are
meant to give us fullness of life and re-
veal the essence of our journey toward

well-being: “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).
As such, Theosis — Transformation endorses only the content of the article/video/podcast to
which it directly links. Any other links or embedded material within such content or external
to the content of the article/video/podcast itself and/or that may lead to other websites, online
platforms, pop-up windows, online ads or banners and/or anything else that is not directly the
content to which Theosis — Transformation directly links are not approved of, recommended,
or endorsed in any way by the magazine.
theosismagazine@gmail.com

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There is a nobility in compassion
a beauty in empathy,
a grace in FORGIVENESS

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— John Connolly —

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If we really
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want to love,
we must learn
how to forgive.
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MOTHER THERESA
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TABLE OF CONTENTS

02
INTRODUCTION

About Theosis — Transformation.

08
CHOICE OF THE MONTH

Our Four Featured Articles.

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10
BIBLE

Human Flourishing & Well-being in the Bible. Part 1 - The Old


Testament.

19
BIBLE

Jesus, Peter & Forgiveness: A Gospel-centered Perspective.

24
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PSYCHOLOGY & SPIRITUALITY

How Forgiving Are You?.

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PSYCHOLOGY & SPIRITUALITY

Why Does Forgiveness Matter? The Personal & Collective Value of


Forgiveness.

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PSYCHOLOGY & SPIRITUALITY

Which Two of the Following Is Forgiveness?

30
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PSYCHOLOGY & SPIRITUALITY

Explanation for Non-Forgiveness Options.

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PSYCHOLOGY & SPIRITUALITY

Deconstructing and Defining Forgiveness.

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PSYCHOLOGY & SPIRITUALITY

What Is Forgiveness?
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37
PSYCHOLOGY & SPIRITUALITY

Forgiving: An Art & Process We Can Learn?

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PSYCHOLOGY AND SPIRITUALITY

The Invisible Barriers to Forgiveness.

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RESOURCES

PSYCHOLOGY & SPIRITUALITY

Keys to Unlock Forgiveness

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PSYCHOLOGY & SPIRITUALITY

The Key of All the Keys: Let It Go, Let It Be.

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PSYCHOLOGY & SPIRITUALITY

Forgiveness: Is It Worth to Forgive?

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Featured Resources of the Month.

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45
RESOURCES

Resource List of the Month.

46
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Upcoming Events (Retreats, Seminars, Workshops).

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50
CONTACT US

We’d love to hear from you.

52
GETTING ORGANIZED

Monthly Goals Template.

53
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GETTING ORGANIZED

Monthly Planner.

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Featured Articles

ISSUE No 1 — JUNE 2019


Issue number 1 of Theosis—Transformation focuses on the topic of Forgiveness.

Human Flourishing & Well-being Jesus, Peter and Forgiveness:


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in the Old Testament (Part 1) A Gospel-centered Perspective


Biblical Spirituality Biblical Spirituality
What does the Bible have to say about human In Matthew 18:21-35 Peter approaches Jesus
flourishing and well-being? In the first of a with the question: “Lord, how many times
three-part article, Fr. Flavio Gillio, m.s. and shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins
Dr. Sally Riconscente explore the way the Old against me? Up to seven times?” (v. 21). Jesus’
Testament speaks about human flourishing answer offers challenging insights about for-
and well-being. giveness from a Gospel-centered perspective.
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Deconstructing and Forgiving: An Art and Process


Defining Forgiveness We Can Learn?
Psychology & Spirituality Psychology & Spirituality
When you hear the word “forgiveness,” or You do not have to succumb to your past hurts
the verb “to forgive,” what comes to your and anger. You can learn to practice forgive-
mind? Find out the essential features of ness. Renowned author and director of the
forgiveness and dismantle some prejudices Stanford University Forgiveness Project, Dr.
that shape the “how” we understand and Fred Luskin, presents the nine main steps
live forgiveness. structuring the healing process of forgiveness.
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Section # 1

Bible
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Human Flourishing & Well-being in the Bible


Part 1 - The Old Testament

I
ntroduction. In our ongoing effort to make the La Salette Retreat and
Conference Center a space where people of every walk of life, belief, and
religious affiliation can integrate a mature spirituality into their own daily
lives and experience life in abundance, we have created the new-born magazine,
Theosis – Transformation. Theosis is the transliteration of a Greek word that
means divinization. This concept is also known as the term, apotheosis, ‘making
divine.’ Theosis implies, therefore, a transformative process whose aim, we
believe, is to let Christ reach adulthood in us. Here at Theosis magazine, we
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believe that Jesus the Christ is the exemplar of human flourishing and well-being.

The purpose of this trifold


study is to inquire into how the
Bible and the Early Christian
Tradition speak about human
flourishing and well-being.

T
he first part of our study
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will be focused on the Old


Testament; the second on
the New Testament writings, and
the third on the theological and
spiritual concept of divinization
elaborated on by some of the most
influential Fathers of the Church.

AUTHORS: The concept of human


flourishing and well-being is a pan-
Fr. Flavio Gillio, m.s.
anthropological idea, i.e. one of
AND those major concerns that is found
in every culture, religious belief, and
Dr. Sally Riconscente
civilization. In the Western World,
ever since the two great Greek
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philosophers Plato and Aristotle,


human flourishing and well-being
have been two of the major ideas

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studied through the centuries. And the Hebrew term. In our every-day
it is easy to understand why: we language, ‘peace’ usually connotes
have a natural unquenchable thirst a situation that does not register
and insatiable hunger for abundant conflict or tension, or an inner state
life. Human flourishing and well- of tranquility and serenity. The
being are two powerful motivating problem is that the same term in
forces and goals for everything Hebrew bears a deeper and more
we hope for, choose, and do, both involved meaning, conveying the idea
individually and corporately, of ‘completeness’ and ‘overall well-

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regardless of our belief, ethnicity, being.’ I emphasize ‘overall’ because
worldview, culture, and/or education. the Old Testament, when speaking of
human flourishing and well-being,
So, what does the Old Testament does not adopt a dichotomist view
say about human flourishing and that clearly separates the spiritual and
well-being? The first thing that stands material, but rather, it addresses the
out is the fact that the Old Testament question of our flourishing and well-
doesn’t encompass in a single being through a holistic approach
definition either human flourishing that includes and values body,
or well-being. Rather, it describes psyche, and spirit. The Old Testament
them through intentional and specific doesn’t recognize the distinction
lexicographic choices, favoring three of spiritual as opposed to material
key-words: shalom, ashrê, and tamîm. which is still very widespread in the

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West among Christians (Catholic).

H
uman flourishing, well-
being, and the biblical The semantic richness embedded in
shalom. The concept of shalom the concept of shalom is witnessed by
is one of the most prominent ideas of the Greek Old Testament (Septuagint
the Old Testament related to human or LXX) that needs two words to
flourishing and well-being. Indeed, translate the Hebrew term into
65% of its occurrences are related to Greek: teleios and eirênê. The former
one of the two concepts or to both of means ‘complete,’ ‘undivided,’
them, whereas only 25% to a state/ ‘whole,’ and ‘unblemished.’ It
relationship without conflict, and only overlaps with another Hebrew word,
10% to the standard form of greeting. tamim, that we will consider later on.

The Hebrew shalom is usually The second Greek term, eirênê,


like the Hebrew shalom, is generally
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translated in English as ‘peace.’


Such a rendering can fail to capture rendered in English as ‘peace.’ Like
the semantic value and depth of shalom, eirênê means a lot more than

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simply ‘absence of conflict,’ ‘tranquility,’ or ‘inner serenity.’ In the Greek


version of the Old Testament, human flourishing and well-being are not
identified with or limited to the absence of conflict, personal happiness, inner
serenity, and/or tranquility. Rather, the way both the Hebrew and the Greek
Old Testament make use of shalom/eirênê, allows us to infer that both human
flourishing and well-being sprout forth from God’s saving work. For example,
in the book of the Prophet Isaiah, shalom/eirênê are two distinctive key-words
that describe Adonai’s redemptive action (see Isaiah 9:5-6; 32:15-20; 48:18; 52:7;
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60:1-22). In this light, shalom/eirênê blossoms thanks to the coming of a Son-


King (Isaiah 5:6-9) and through the outpouring of the Spirit, whose effects also
reverberate over creation (Isaiah 32:15-20; 48:18; 60:1-22). The climax of this
dynamic is found in the New Testament, with and through Jesus the Christ.

Jesus the Christ discloses to us the possibility of eternal human flourishing


and well-being through His life, death and resurrection. The mystery of the
Incarnation bears the unheard good news that, in Jesus of Nazareth, God makes
himself totally present; as a consequence, in Jesus of Nazareth, the divine life
enters the human realm and takes a human shape. In coherence with this
point, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, quoting St. Athanasius’ work, On
Incarnation, states: “The Word became flesh to make us “partakers of the divine
nature” - “For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became
the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and
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thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God.” “For the Son of
God became man so that we might be deified.” “The only-begotten Son of God,
wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he,
made man, might make men gods” (see Catechism of the Catholic Church, § 460).

Human flourishing, well-being and the biblical ashrê. The second term
that the Old Testament relates to human flourishing and well-being is
the Hebrew word ashrê. The term appears mostly in the third section of
the Old Testament (Writings), with 26 occurrences in the Book of Psalms
and 8 in the Book of Proverbs. Besides that, the other 11 occurrences are
scattered among the other sections of the Bible (Pentateuch and Prophets).

Modern English translations of the Hebrew Bible usually render ashrê


with ‘blessed.’ Similar to the translation of the Hebrew shalom with ‘peace,’
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such a rendering creates a certain confusion because the Hebrew language


knows another word for ‘blessed,’ i.e. baruk —euloghetos in Greek. Even

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though both ashrê and baruk are appears in the Prophet Isaiah
rendered in English as ‘blessed,’ the (Isaiah 30:18; 32:20). Post-biblical
two words are not synonyms. Indeed, and Rabbinic literature continue
the first one, ashrê, emphasizes preserving this way of understanding
the state of flourishing and well- the term ashrê. According to the
being. This is clearly the case of Rabbis, a life marked by human
Psalm 1, where the ‘ashrê’ person flourishing and well-being is
is described as “[…] a tree planted a life that is shaped, inspired,

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beside rivulets of water, which brings and guided by Adonai’s Torah.
forth its fruit in its season, and its
leaves do not wilt; and whatever When, from the Old Testament, we
he does prospers” (Psalm 1:3). The turn to the New Testament, we witness
second term, baruk, emphasizes great and clear coherence with the
the fact of being the recipient of previous ashrê tradition. The Greek
Adonai’s blessings and graces. (both in the Septuagint and in the
Gospels) renders the Hebrew ashrê
Such a distinction is further with makarios. An exemplary passage
strengthened by the remaining from the New Testament is Matthew
occurrences of ashrê in the Writings. 5:3-12, i.e. the Beatitudes. Jesus;
Both the contexts and the ways the term here, while instructing and sharing
is used let us infer that ashrê usually His wisdom with the crowd, Jesus
refers to the state of well-being and illustrates what God-centered human

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human flourishing that characterizes
those who live wisely by listening to
the Torah. Living wisely and listening
to the Torah: two irreplaceable keys
to human flourishing and well-
being (see for example, Psalms 1
and 118, the long acrostic hymn
of praise in honor of the Torah).

The book of Proverbs maintains


the same belief, since both human
flourishing and well-being are
understood to be the fruits of living
wisely, namely listening to the Torah
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and revering Adonai. Outside the


Writings, the term ashrê mainly

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flourishing and well-being look like, in continuity with the previous ashrê
tradition witnessed by the Psalms, Proverbs, and the Prophet Isaiah. Besides
this continuity, the New Testament also bears a novelty: accomplished human
flourishing is found in and through Jesus the Christ. Such a statement makes
human flourishing and well-being much more than simply an experiential
satisfaction or a state of personal happiness. Human flourishing and well-
being are less the result of a series of temporary favorable circumstances,
and more a lifestyle inspired by Jesus the Christ’s life, death and resurrection.
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Human flourishing,
well-being and
the biblical tamim.

T
he Hebrew word tamîm is the
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third relevant term associated


with the concept of human
flourishing and well-being. Its
parallel in Greek is teleios. Among
its different meanings, the Hebrew
word also bears the meaning of
‘righteous’ and ‘perfect’ in the sense
of ‘singleness,’ ‘integrity of heart’ or
‘wholeness of heart’ (see 1 Kings 9:4).

Very interestingly, the Old


Testament often connects tamîm
with the idea of holiness. Such a
connection reverberates through
both concepts and enriches their
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meaning. Whereas we are often


inclined to think about holiness
in terms of moral purity, the Old

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Testament, through this connection, regards holiness more as a matter of
‘wholeness of heart,’ or ‘undivided heart;’ more specifically, as a matter of
‘wholehearted devotedness’ to Adonai, or ‘undivided commitment to God’s
work,’ as Peter J. Gentry pointed out in his article, “The Meaning of ‘Holy’
in the Old Testament” (see Peter J. Gentry, “The Meaning of ‘Holy’ in the Old
Testament”, Bibliotheca Sacra 170, 2013). Similarly, another outstanding Old
Testament scholar, Mary Douglas, came to the conclusion that holiness means
‘to be one,’ implying both ‘unity’ and ‘integrity’ [see Mary Douglas, Purity and

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Danger: An Analysis of Concepts of Pollution and Taboo, London (1966) 55].

Because of this link between holiness / righteousness / godliness and


wholeness / completeness / wholehearted dedication to God, the Old Testament
is not uncomfortable in considering characters such as Abraham, Jacob,
Moses, David, and others, as teleios, even though they cannot be identified
with the embodiment of ‘moral perfection,’ and even less of ‘moral purity!’

Following the understanding of the Old Testament, the New Testament


stresses the relevance of the idea of ‘wholehearted dedication’ and
‘commitment’ in relation to discipleship. Such a perspective gives new light
to a frequently misunderstood passage of the Gospel of Matthew, and that
betrays our pre-conceived understanding of the concept of biblical holiness:

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the call to be teleios found in Matthew 5:48 – an intertextual reworking
of Leviticus 19:2 and 20:26, frequently misunderstood as a call to moral
perfection, is actually a call to be wholeheartedly committed and oriented to
God by following the Son in the Spirit. This leads us to say that [God-centered]
wholeness is holiness. Such an understanding is found throughout the entire
New Testament (see, for example, James 1:4.17.25; 2:8.22; 3:2; Hebrew 2:10;
5:9.14; 6:1; 7:28; 9:9; 10:1.14; 12:23; 1 Corinthians 2:6; 14:20; Ephesians 4:13;
Philippians 3:12.15; Colossians 1:28; 4:12). In so doing, both the Old and the
New Testament interconnect human flourishing and well-being with holiness,
and holiness with wholehearted commitment to Adonai. In this way, the Bible
avoids the risk of identifying human flourishing and well-being with moral
perfection, and, rather, points out that human flourishing and well-being are
connected to the idea of ‘whole hearted orientation of one’s own life to God.’

C
onclusion. The present inquiry started by asking two basic questions: are
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human flourishing and well-being relevant to the biblical mind? If yes,


what does it mean to live well and to flourish from a biblical perspective?

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The discussion that followed allows us


to present a summary and consolidation
of the most relevant points.

1
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Along with other trends of human flourishing and well-being, on


thought, ancient, modern and the other. There cannot be a godly life
contemporary, the Bible is very without a flourishing life in all of the
interested in human flourishing and dimensions of our existence. There is
well-being. Human flourishing and no such alternative as ‘either God or
well-being are indeed two central human flourishing and well-being.’
ideas of the biblical world. The God of the Bible revealed in
and through Jesus the Christ doesn’t
2. What is unique is a) the way compete against these two concepts.
the biblical mind portrays both of The Bible tells us exactly the opposite:
them and b) the path that it offers to we don’t have to choose between
experience both human flourishing God or human flourishing. If human
and well-being. flourishing and well-being are a real
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possibility for us, it is because of


God’s work in history. God is not an
3. Despite the variegated
‘excluding’ alternative to our human
lexicography related to human
flourishing and well-being, and he
flourishing and well-being, the Bible
doesn’t take anything away from us
privileges three terms: shalom, ashrê,
that is related to abundant life.
and tamîm. Together, these three
concepts offer a holistic view of
human flourishing and well-being, 5. From the biblical perspective,
without artificially juxtaposing or human flourishing and well-being
separating the spiritual and material. have to do more with ‘living’ and
Human flourishing and well-being ‘being’ rather than with ‘having.’
involve our bodies as much as our Indeed, both human flourishing and
psyche and spirit. well-being point to a ‘way of living’ or
a ‘way of being in the world,’ without
being of the world (see John 17:14).
4. For the biblical mind there is no
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tension or conflict between a godly


way of living, on the one hand, and 6. Biblical wisdom is meant to

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encourage and unveil how to experience both human flourishing and well-
being. It does so by reminding us of the only three really relevant keys that are
able to open the doors of abundant life: our relationship with God, with others,
and with creation. It is the quality of these three relationships, taken together,
that prevents or fosters human flourishing and well-being. Therefore, human
flourishing and well-being imply a lot more than simply absence of conflicts/
tensions, inner satisfaction, tranquility, and peace. The biblical mind conceives
human flourishing and well-being as fruits of a proper relationship with God,

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neighbor, and creation. Whereas in the Old Testament this is believed to be
possible by listening to and living both the Written and Oral Torah, in the New
Testament, it is Jesus of Nazareth who is the way to human flourishing and
well-being. Torah (oral and written) and Jesus are the explanation, description
and model of what human flourishing and well-being are all about.

7. The God of Israel revealed in and through Jesus of Nazareth is the answer
to the radical question of how to flourish and thrive. Jesus’ life, death and
resurrection represent the climax of God’s redemptive work, aimed at restoring
each of us to full humanity and well-being, by flourishing in and through Jesus
the Christ. In and through him both human flourishing and well-being are
fully revealed.

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8. Human flourishing and well-being are at the very core of God’s redemptive
work. And they should also be at the core of the mission of the Church.
Whereas we can discuss the various ‘hows and means’ to fulfill such a mission,
it is clear that both human flourishing and well-being should be included in
today’s mission of every Christian community striving to walk and grow in the
footsteps of the Master from Nazareth.

Having portrayed human flourishing and well-being from the perspective


of the Old Testament, with some hints to the New, in the next issue of Theosis
—Transformation, we will explore in more depth the relationship between
human flourishing, well-being, Jesus the Christ and the New Testament.
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“I tell you:
Not seven times,
but seventy-seven times [...]”
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Matthew 18:22
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W
e are all familiar with the
beginning of the narrative
in Matthew 18:21-35: Peter
approaching Jesus with the question:
“Lord, how many times shall I forgive

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my brother or sister who sins against
me? Up to seven times?” (v. 21). It
is not hard to imagine, looking at
the way Peter shapes and frames
his question, what was going on
in his mind. What is a little more
challenging, perhaps, is to imagine
Peter’s feelings and thoughts after
Jesus’ unsettling answer: “I tell you,
not seven times, but seventy-seven
times.” (v. 22). Was Peter frustrated
by Jesus’ words? Discouraged?
Perplexed? Silent? We can only infer

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a possible reaction, since the episode
is silent on this detail of the narrative.
A Gospel-centered Perspective
Jesus, Peter & Forgiveness:

It is an eloquent silence because it


emphasizes Jesus’ answer even more
and keeps the attention focused
not so much on Peter but on Jesus.

The article offers original insights


regarding Jesus’ answer to Peter,
digging deeper than the ‘standard’
understanding of Jesus words as an
invitation to forgive without limits.
Making use (deliberately or not) of a
hermeneutical Jewish principle known
as Stringing Pearls, or in Hebrew
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‘Gezerah Shevah’ (Comparison of


Equals – Scripture interprets Scripture

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in the sense that a passage of the Bible can expand on another biblical passage
if they share the same word), the author of Echoes of Forgiveness explores
the implied richness of Jesus’ answer by delving into three other biblical
passages that echo each other: Luke 4:16-21; Genesis 4:23-24 and Daniel 9:1-24.

The way the three readings resound allows us to grasp something about the
value of forgiveness from a Gospel-centered perspective. Juxtaposing Jesus’
answer to Peter, with the so-called Nazareth Manifesto (Luke 4:16-21), Jesus
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is confessed as the One inaugurating the Jubilee Year, forgiveness is placed

at the core of the biblical


Jubilee Year,
and Jesus’ followers
are called to be
“Jubilee-celebrating people,”

i.e. people who are ready and open to


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receive and give the gift of the Jubilee


Year: forgiveness. In this perspective,
forgiveness is not an ‘optional’ item
added to our Christian identity; it
belongs at the very core of our own
identity, be it individual or collective.

T
his is not all though. By
recalling the episode of Lamech
and his wives, Zillah and
Adah (Genesis 4:23-24), the author
advances the thesis that Jesus’
words about forgiveness subvert
and invert the “principle of revenge”
implied in the words of Cain’s son,
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into ‘the principle of forgiveness.’


Such a literary outcome is meant to

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call Jesus’ disciples and their communities to embrace and witness the ‘the
creative and unpredictable injustice of forgiveness’ and reject or refuse
‘the destructive—and all too predictable—justice of mimetic violence.’

By the end of Kevichusa’s article, readers will have a clearer understanding


of the relevance and centrality of forgiveness in Jesus’ spirituality and in
the life of every Christian community. Forgiveness sanctions the death
of death, and celebrates the life of life. Forgiveness covers sin, rebellion,

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revenge, and wrongdoing with the clothes of true righteousness. And, as
Jesus’ followers, we are all called to share the power and the benefits of
forgiveness, both at personal and community levels. As Jesus followers
we share the vocation of embodying forgiveness and witnessing both
its power and benefits, both at personal and at political or social levels.

SOURCE: Kevichusa, Aniu. “Echoes of Forgiveness.” RZIM, ND. Read the full
article here.

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“To forgive is
to set a prisoner free
and discover that the prisoner was you.”
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Lewis B. Smedes
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Photo by Olga Vyshnevska on Unsplash Section # 2

Psychology &
Spirituality
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How Forgiving
Are You?

“The only way out of the labyrinth


of suffering, is to forgive...”
— John Green —

B
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efore diving into the


theme of Forgiveness, stop
for a couple of seconds.

Have you ever wondered how


forgiving you are? The quiz provided
by the website Greater Good in Action
(https://ggia.berkeley.edu/) helps you
to better understand how you respond
to those who do you wrong. The quiz,
inspired by forgiveness research
pioneer Michael McCullough, has
twelve questions. At the end, once
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you have submitted your answers,


you will be led to a new URL page
displaying your score with a short
comment regarding your typical
response when someone hurts you.

To take the quiz, please, click here.

“When you forgive, you in no way change the past,


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but you sure do change the future.”


— Bernard Meltzer —

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Why Does Forgiveness Matter?
The Personal & Collective Value of Forgiveness

“Love is an act of endless forgiveness;


a tender look which becomes a habit.”

— Peter Ustinov —

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hallenging by its nature, spiritually transformed. Even if the
forgiveness can become even transformation that occurs through
more challenging as we all forgiveness concerns the individual,
know how easy it is to become fixated it has a value and an impact that goes
on our grievances. As Desmond Tutu beyond the mere personal sphere.
and Mpho Tutu write in their article Forgiveness has social repercussions.
Why We Forgive, “The traumas we As Paul reminds us when he writes
have witnessed or experienced live about the unity and diversity of
on in our memories. Even years the body of Christ (1Cor 12:12-27),
later they can cause us fresh pain we are not an island; we are part of
each time we recall them” and, and belong to a delicate network
most of the time, with all the best of interdependence, and one part
and “logic reasons” of the world!. affects all the others: 12 Just as a
body, though one, has many parts,

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But, dwelling on our wounded but all its many parts form one body,
memories, when forgiveness so it is with Christ. 13 For we were
has not yet occurred, nurses the all baptized by one Spirit so as to
desire of wanting to ‘get back at’ form one body—whether Jews or
the wrongdoer. Dwelling on our Gentiles, slave or free—and we were
past wounded memories without all given the one Spirit to drink. 14
forgiveness imprisons us in the Even so the body is not made up of
invisible cage of our pain, locked out one part but of many…. If one part
of the possibility of being healed, of suffers, every part suffers with it;
regaining both freedom and peace, if one part is honored, every part
of being mentally, emotionally, and rejoices with it.” (1 Cor 12:12-14.26)
And this is the point that Desmond

“Forgiveness is the key


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to action and freedom.”


— Hannah Arendt —

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Tutu and Mpho Tutu try to make: forgiveness doesn’t only mark a point
of healing of healing in our personal journey, because it also brings
healing to our families, communities and our world. In other words,
forgiveness has both an individual and collective value and relevance.

SOURCE: Tutu, Desmond & Tutu, Mpho. “Why We Forgive.” Spirituality &
Health, 17 Feb. 2014. Read the full article here.
ARTICLES
RESOURCES

“A life lived without forgiveness is a prison.”

— William Arthur Ward —


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Which Two of the Following
Is Forgiveness?

S
ome of the following ideas have been used to describe forgiveness
in the past. Two of them are accurate definitions of forgiveness.
Some of them are not quite right, and some of them are just plain
wrong. Which are the right ones? What are the others if they are
not forgiveness? Select your two answers at the bottom of the page.

Telling yourself that what happened wasn’t really that bad, and that you ought
to just forget what happened and move on.

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Yes
No
I don’t know

Forgetting that anything bad happened, simply pushing the event or relationship
out of your memory.
Yes
No
I don’t know

Starting up your relationship with the person who hurt you again, as if nothing
happened.
Yes
No

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I don’t know

Opening yourself to be hurt again.


Yes
No
I don’t know

Accepting an excuse or explanation for what someone did or is doing to you.


Yes
No
I don’t know

Doing whatever you can to smooth over conflict.


Yes
No
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I don’t know

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A voluntary release of your right to condemn and get revenge on the person who
hurt you because you have different feelings toward the person.
Yes
No
I don’t know

Tolerating negative things that someone has done or continues to do to you.


Yes
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No
I don’t know

Accepting people despite their flaws.


Yes
No
I don’t know

Blaming and confronting the person who hurt you.


Yes
No
I don’t know

Getting someone who hurt you to believe that everything is still okay.
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Yes
No
I don’t know

Getting even with the person who hurt you.


Yes
No
I don’t know

Voluntary decision to give up the right to revenge and release a person from any
interpersonal debt incurred by wronging you.
Yes
No
I don’t know
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Having the other person apologize, express regret, or beg forgiveness until the
balance of justice has been restored.
Yes
No
I don’t know

I choose _______ and _______ as the definition(s) of forgiveness. Here’s why: (write
your reasons here below).

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RESOURCES
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Explanation for
Non-Forgiveness Options

H
ere are reactions to each incorrect definition of forgiveness. Read the
definition on the previous page. Then read the reactions, on this page
and the next one.

1. This is denial. If you are hurt and you try to deny it to yourself, the denial
almost never works. The hurt keeps resurfacing and you never seem to be
free of it.
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2. Forgetting is impossible. A memory has been formed. The memory may


shift with time. It may change. Or the pain you associate with the memory
may even diminish or disappear. But you simply won’t be able to completely
forget. The disturbing part of trying to forget is that the harder you try, the
less you will succeed.

3. Trying to start over might actually smooth out the relationship. But
smoothing out the relationship is not forgiving. In addition, pretending that
the event didn’t matter might communicate to the person who hurt you that it
is okay to hurt you the same way again.

4. Opening yourself to be hurt again is possible if you continue or restart your


interaction with the person who hurt you. That decision is separate from a
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decision to forgive or not. You can forgive and restore the relationship (called
reconciliation) or forgive and not restore the relationship. Or you can not
forgive but choose to interact with the person (and risk further hurts) or not
forgive and not choose to interact.

5. You can accept an excuse or explanation (whether a valid excuse or


explanation or an inadequate one) and still not forgive the person for hurting
you.

6. Smoothing over conflict can be done whether or not you forgive.

7. This is emotional forgiveness. It acknowledges that a wrong was done but


chooses not to seek revenge and not to continue to condemn the person who
hurt you. It is the experience of forgiving because you experience different
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feelings toward the person.

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8. Tolerating negative things will generally not stop the negative, and it will
generally keep you angry and unforgiving.

9. Accepting someone (with or without acknowledging the flaws) is not


forgiving. We can accept a person and not forgive a hurtful act by the person.
Or we can forgive a hurtful act and still not accept the person.

10. Blaming a person for hurting you certainly acknowledges the person’s

ARTICLES
guilt but blame keeps the hurt “on the front burner.” Confronting the person,
which is directly talking with the person about the hurt, might help the
relationship (if the confrontation is done gently in love and other person talks
instead of attaching or defending). Confronting the person might also damage
the relationship. Confronting is not forgiving.

11. Getting someone who hurt you to believe everything is okay when you feel
hurt is not forgiving; it is deception. The deception might be done for good
motives (such as to spare feelings or prevent being fired by a boss). Or the
deception might have more complex or even evil motives (such as setting the
person up so you can hurt him or her).

12. Getting even is revenge, not forgiveness.

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13. This is decisional forgiveness. It involves your pledge that your behavior will
not be aimed at revenge, but that you will try to behave as if the transgression
never happened.

14. While having the person apologize, express regret, or beg forgiveness
might make you willing to put the offense behind you and might allow you
to feel at peace, it is more like getting justice than like forgiving. If the other
person humbles himself or herself enough to satisfy your sense of justice,
often the other person will feel resentful and feel that you might have asked
for too much.
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Deconstructing and
Defining Forgiveness
ARTICLES

W
hen you hear the word “forgiveness,” or the verb “to forgive,”
what comes to your mind? In the article, Forgive Me, Forgive Me
Not. 8 Things that Forgiveness is and 8 Things it is not, Neil Faber,
adjunct Professor of Psychology at Arizona State University, outlines the
essential features of forgiveness and dismantles some prejudices that shape
the “how” we understand and live forgiveness. Indeed, depending on our
perspective on forgiveness, there will be a big difference in the way we offer,
receive, and perceive forgiveness. Finally, the author also presents some of
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the benefits (spiritual, psychological, and physical) flowing from forgiveness.

Before moving forward, consider the following points and ponder


whether you can recognize yourself in one, some, or all of them.

If he/she asks for forgiveness, I think I could forgive him/her.

Forget about forgiveness: I do not want to be weak!

I don’t know why I should forgive him/her. In fact, I didn’t do anything wrong.

I do not want to forgive: he/she does not deserve my forgiveness.

Well, I guess I should forgive, because, after all, the offense and the pain caused
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by it are not so big.

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Even if I forgive him/her, our relationship would never be like it was before.

I would love to be able to forgive, but the problem is that I’m not able to forget.

If you recognized yourself in one, some, or all of the above statements, you
probably misunderstand what forgiveness is all about.

ARTICLES
T
he author defines forgiveness we forgive. In thinking this way,
as a challenging and slow we forget that forgiveness is not
process of healing, the first dependent on this expectation (it
step of which implies recognizing could never happen), and it doesn’t
the pain and wounds received. require an acknowledgment of the
Through this acknowledgement we wrong done by the wrongdoer. An
activate a journey toward freedom. apology doesn’t need to be asked
Feelings of vengeance, resentment, for. Forgiveness is unconditional
or of anger fade away, leaving room because it is not restrained by any
for peace, rather than mere justice, specific conditions related to the
proximity with others, and renewed wrongdoer (his/her repentance,
connections. Through forgiveness we request of forgiveness, awareness,

RESOURCES
experience both stress reduction and etc.). Forgiveness is totally gratuitous.
improvement in our quality of life.
A second common misunderstanding
By its very nature, forgiveness is one presumes that forgiveness is a one-
of the significant and real challenges time action: that once it is done, it
we all face at some point in our lives. is done. Now, we have to keep in
Often, though, we make it more difficult mind that one of the reasons why
than it is due to our misconceptions forgiveness is challenging is exactly
about forgiveness. It is very easy to because rather than being an action, it
misunderstand, and, consequently, is a process: a process of healing whose
to misapply and misuse forgiveness. length depends on many variables.

Among the common stereotypes A third misleading stereotype is


and false assumptions regarding thinking that forgiving is synonymous
forgiveness, the author mentions with forgetting. If we forget, we don’t
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the fact that we often think that we have anything to forgive. Forgetting
need to receive an apology before should never be a requirement

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for forgiveness to happen. of the Good Samaritan (see Luke


10:25-37), forgiveness transforms us
A fourth stereotype, connected with from resentful wounded people to
the previous point, is that forgiveness wounded “neighbours,” or wounded
does not imply repressing our painful brothers or sisters. Normally and
memories or denying, diminishing naturally, the harm we have received
or ignoring the gravity of the wrong becomes a kind of invisible lens
received; likewise, forgiveness does through which we look at the person
ARTICLES

not mean condoning or tolerating who harmed us. We look at the person
injustice and wrong behavior. as “the one who harmed me,” as “the
one who wounded me,” as “the one
who did me wrong.” The pain we
Forgiveness is not a feeling. We
have experienced makes us short-
do not have to wait for the feeling
sighted: with seemingly plausible
to forgive to well up in us. This
and sensible reasons, our pain and
might never happen! And while we
wounds distort our way of relating
wait for this to happen, we remain
to the wrongdoer. The process of
chained by bitterness and anger.
forgiveness transforms this point
of view. And prayer becomes very
Finally, forgiveness does not have handy and relevant.
to be identified with reconciliation.
Forgiveness might lead to
Praying for the well-being of the one
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reconciliation, but it does not imply


who did wrong (more challenging
it. We can offer forgiveness without
than what you might think) leads us to
reconciliation.
perceive him/her less from the vantage
point of the pain we have experienced,
As far as the beneficial effects and more from God’s perspective,
of forgiveness are concerned, the that is a forgiving one. In doing so,
author outlines three: first, as much prayer creates proximity, connection,
as receiving God’s forgiveness and it helps to heal and strengthen
sets us free, so too does extending relationships that have been harmed.
forgiveness set us free from the
chains of resentment, anger, and
Finally, forgiveness can impact our
revenge. It brings peace leading to joy.
health. Forgiveness brings physical
and psychological benefits to the
Secondly, forgiveness creates person who forgives: both medicine
proximity between the one who did and psychology have proven that
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wrong and the one who received it. forgiveness lowers stress levels,
To borrow the language of the parable implements well-being, and even

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Forgiving people are less prone to suffer heart disease, high blood pressure,
and other chronic and stress-related illnesses than unforgiving people.

SOURCE: Farber, Neil. “Forgive Me, Forgive Me Not. 8 Things that Forgiveness
is and 8 Things it is not.” Psychology Today, 29 Oct. 2015. Read the full article
here.

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"Forgiveness is not
an occasional act,
it is a constant

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attitude."

MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.


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What Is
Forgiveness?

F
orgiveness is a matter of accepting life as it comes to us especially
when things go differently from what we have been hoping for and
our expectations are frustrated and hurt. Acceptance, for Fred Luskin,
is not developing a fatalistic attitude toward life. It is, rather, the result of
a choice that evolves through a process of progressive acceptance. This
process is activated by grieving, but without clinging to the negative part
of the experience, i.e. that of having been hurt. Healthy grief implies three
stages: it requires us to acknowledge the harm received, to experience those
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feelings that normally accompany the negative experience, and to share the
harm and the negative experience with a trusted confidant. Through this
tri-fold process acceptance can sprout and hopefully lead us to forgiveness.

SOURCE: Luskin, Fred. “What is Forgiveness?” Greater Good Magazine, 19 Aug.


2010. Read the full article here.
RESOURCES

“Sometimes forgiveness
is the hardest thing to give,
but the most cherished thing
to receive.”

— Maya Banks —
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P
ain, disappointment, and
disillusionment are part of our
everyday experience. And yet, it
is not written in stone that they have to
define us and direct our lives because
we have a choice. We can choose to
succumb to our negative experiences,
or choose the opposite path, i.e.

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we can choose to not let past hurts
determine how we feel in the present.

Indeed, for renowned author and


director of the Stanford University
Forgiveness Project, Dr. Fred
Luskin, forgiveness is the result of a
deliberate and intentional choice to
enter and start a process of healing
articulated in nine progressive stages
(see the link to the second article) that
provide us with the necessary skills
to become more forgiving people.

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An Art & Process We Can Learn?

Forgiveness, for Dr. Luskin,


is something we can learn to
practice. Starting from the smallest
grievances we can learn the skills
to limit the negative effects that
pain and anger can have on us, and
intentionally choose forgiveness
over resentment and bitterness.

SOURCES: Luskin, Fred. “The Choice


Forgiving:

to Forgive.” Greater Good Magazine,


1 Sept. 2004. Read the full article
here; Luskin, Fred. “Nine Steps to
Forgiveness.” Greater Good Magazine,
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1, Sept. 2004. Read the full article


here.

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The Invisible Barriers to


Forgiveness
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RESOURCES

M
ost of us, if not all, find forgiveness challenging to live and practice. We
naturally perceive barriers and invisible walls that, even if we want
to, seem to refrain us from being able to forgive. Such inability, in most
cases, doesn’t have anything to do with a lack of moral or religious values. It is
not even because of our misconceptions regarding forgiveness, i.e., for example,
thinking that forgiving means excusing, overlooking, forgetting, condoning or
diminishing the harm received; or, that we need to be asked for forgiveness by
the wrongdoer, or that forgiveness is a sign of weakness, and so forth. We simply
experience the challenge of forgiving because forgiveness is challenging!
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The article deals with some of the barriers preventing us from giving
forgiveness. But it takes a very interesting route. Rather than following the

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results of previous studies on the psychological impediments to forgiveness,
according to which barriers to forgiving were identified in a lack of compassion
and kindness, the research of Ian Williamson and Marti Gonzales focused
on the fears and concerns of the victims when considering the ‘forgiveness-
option.’ One such concern is ‘unreadiness;’ another is identified with ‘self-
protection,’ and the third one with ‘face concerns.’ Can all of them, or just
one or two of them, explain why you might find forgiveness challenging?
To find out, read the article, “How to Overcome Barriers to Forgiveness.”

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SOURCES: Graham, Linda. “How to Overcome Barriers to Forgiveness.” Greater
Good Magazine, 13 May 2014. Read the full article here.

“Never forget
the three powerful resources

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you always have available to you:
love,
prayer,
forgiveness.”

— H. Jackson Brown Jr. —

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Keys to Unlock
Forgiveness

When we decide not to forgive,


we also decide to let our past
wounds and hurts define us
and to influence our choices
“here” and “now”.
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F
orgiveness, on the contrary, acts exactly in the opposite direction. It gives
us back our life by making us free - free to reach the highest point. In the
Gospel of Luke one episode speaks for itself in this regard: Jesus on the
cross (Luke 23:24).

Freedom is not the only benefit of forgiving. Forgiveness bears other fruits
too. Nancy Radford, author of the article Forgiveness: The Key to a Happier
Future, mentions among them: the cleansing of our mind and heart to give
up thoughts such as “I will make him/her pay,” “I’ll just wait to see him/her
unhappy or in trouble,” and to let go of our grudges.

Nancy Radford’s article, besides mentioning briefly some of the benefits


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of forgiveness, lists some specific steps or keys that can help us in becoming
more forgiving people.

SOURCES: Radford, Nancy. “Forgiveness: The Keys into a Happier Future.”


Positive Psychology Program, 22 Nov. 2018. Updated on May 23, 2019. Read
the full article here.
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The Key of All the Keys:
Let It Go, Let It Be.

We all know this truth: forgiveness is a


vital decision to make because

ARTICLES
i
t requires the ability of letting go. We do not have too many choices: letting
go is the “conditio sine qua non” for forgiveness to happen. If we want to
forgive, we need to learn to let go. But why and how? With this question in
mind, Nancy Radford’s article unfolds six basic points, three for the “why” and
other three related to the “how.”

From her perspective, the “why” discloses three different answers: letting
go saves us from more unnecessary pain, i.e. the pain of seeing our wounds
go unrecognized and unnoticed by the wrongdoer; it prevents us from
developing a “victim complex;” and it protects us from the danger of self-
pity. Finally, in the last section of the article, Nancy Radford deals with the
“how.” She outlines a basic threefold process structured around the following

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essential stages: acknowledgement of our pain, recognition of our needs, and
resolution to take action.

SOURCE: Radford, Nancy. “Letting Go of Resentment: How and Why.” Nancy


Radford Mediation and Coaching, 6 Mar. 2018. Read the full article here.

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Forgiveness:
Is It Worth Forgiving?

I
n our current cultural context, forgiveness is a counter-cultural
phenomenon; because of that, it can be easily mistaken for an act
of madness, an unreasonable choice that does not bring any kind of
advantage. The article written by Everett L. Worthington challenges this
assumption: considering how challenging forgiveness is, do you think it is
really worth it to forgive? What do we get back in exchange for letting go
of our pain and wounds? Why should we forgive, rather than give back the
wrong received?
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The author’s thesis, supported through references to some of the most


exhaustive studies in this matter, is that forgiveness actually brings a four-
fold benefit: physical, psychological, social and spiritual. Indeed, findings
from current research on forgiveness established that forgiveness can
change our own physiology, including lowering blood pressure, heart rate,
sweat activity, as well as lower tension and improve both cardiovascular and
immune systems.

Forgiving people also show a lower degree of stress, a higher degree of self-
esteem and satisfaction, less risk of psychological distress caused by feelings
such as nervousness, restlessness, and sadness, and happier relationships.
It has also been found that forgiveness contributes to reducing levels of
RESOURCES

anxiety, anger and grief.

As far as the social aspect is concerned, forgiveness seems to foster the well-
being of those relationships that demand a strong degree of commitment; it
restores more benevolent and cooperative goals to relationships.

Finally, forgiving people are more prone to consider things from the other
person’s perspective and less prone in dwelling on how fair or unfair a
transgression was, or how just or unjust a solution might be.

If you still wonder, if and how worthwhile forgiveness might be for our
pursuit of well-being, read Everett L. Worthington’s article to find out more
details about the benefits that forgiveness has in store for you. Isn’t it worth
it to cultivate forgiving attitudes?
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SOURCES: Worthington, Everett. “The New Science of Forgiveness.” Greater


Good Magazine, 1, Sept. 2004. Read the full article here.

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ARTICLES
RESOURCES
Section #3

Useful
Resources
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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Resources:
Featured Resources of the Month
ARTICLES

To watch the video “Dr. Fred Luskin Talks To watch the video “Forgive For Good”,
About The Power of Forgiveness”, click on featuring Dr. Fred Luskin, click on the picture.
the picture.
RESOURCES
EVENTS

To visit the website Greater Good in To preview the book “The Art of Forgiving.
Action, click on the picture. When You Need to Forgive and Don’t Know
How”, click on the image.

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Resources:
Resource List of the Month

In each edition of the magazine, THEOSIS - Transformation


will offer its readers multimedia resources for their continued exploration and reflection.
Such resources will be related to the theme of that particular edition.

Web Books Videos

ARTICLES
Greater Good in Action. Allen R. Hunt
University of California - Berkeley Everybody Needs to Forgive Forgive For Good
Website Homepage Somebody Dr. Fred Luskin
Preview the book here Watch the video here

The Forgiveness Project Lewis Smedes How and Why to Forgive


Archbishop Desmond Tutu & Dame Forgive and Forget: Healing the Dr. Fred Luskin
Anita Roddick, Founding Patrons Hurts We Don’t Deserve Watch the video here
Website Homepage Preview the book here

Ignatian Spirituality.com Lewis Smedes Joseph Forgives


A service of Loyola Press The Art of Forgiving: When You (Genesis 42-45)
Website Homepage Need to Forgive and Don’t Know Kids’ video
How Watch the video here
Preview the book here

RESOURCES
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Upcoming Events — Days of Prayer, Retreats, Workshops,


June - July 2019

For more info about the upcoming events, contact La Salette Retreat & Conference Center
by writing to office@lasaletteretreatcenter.com or by calling 508.222.8530 or by visiting our
website @ www.lasaletteretreatcenter.com
We’d love to hear from you! Thank you.
ARTICLES

7
JUNE
15
9 JUNE
JUNE
RESOURCES

Under the Wings of God Thomas Merton:


is the Field of Grace: Spiritual Pilgrim
The Story of Ruth
WEEKEND WOMEN’S RETREAT DAY OF REFLECTION
FRIDAY, JUNE 7 - SUNDAY, JUNE 9, 2019 SATURDAY, JUNE 15, 2019
PRESENTERS: PRESENTER:
Fr. FLAVIO GILLIO, m.s. & DOTTIE LEVESQUE Sr. MARILYN SUNDERMAN, RSM, Ph.D.
For more info and registration click here For more info and registration click here
EVENTS

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225$ ALL INCLUDED.
45$ LUNCH INCLUDED.

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From Mourning
to Morning
DAY OF REFLECTION

19 WEDNESDAY, JUNE 19, 2019


PRESENTER:
JUNE DOTTIE LEVESQUE
For more info and registration click here

PER PERSON.
45$ LUNCH INCLUDED.

ARTICLES
23 14
JUNE JULY

RESOURCES
A Day on Balancing Prayer &
God’s Shore Work: Dancing the
Delicate Dance
ONE-DAY WOMEN’S RETREAT ONE-DAY RETREAT
SUNDAY, JUNE 23, 2019 SUNDAY, JULY 14, 2019
PRESENTER: PRESENTER:
Bestselling author CAROL HAMBLET ADAMS MICHAEL BOOVER
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45$ MASS INCLUDED.
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Living the Psalms,


Living in God’s Presence
14 8-DAY PREACHED AND GUIDED RETREAT
SUNDAY, JULY 14 - SUNDAY, JULY 21, 2019
JULY
PRESENTERS:

21 Fr. FLAVIO GILLIO, m.s. & DOTTIE LEVESQUE


For more info and registration click here
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550$ ALL INCLUDED.
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COMING UP
27 DURING THE
JULY
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Journaling 3 WORKSHOPS ON
My Journey BIBLE & WELL-BEING

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SATURDAY | AUGUST 10
SATURDAY, JULY 27, 2019
PRESENTER: SATURDAY | SEPTEMBER 28
DOTTIE LEVESQUE
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SUNDAY | OCTOBER 20

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Yearnings of the Heart:
Enhancing Well-being
Through Grateul Living
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10 SATURDAY, AUGUST 10, 2019


PRESENTERS:
AUG
Fr. FLAVIO GILLIO, m.s. & Dr. SALLY RICONSCENTE
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28 20
SEPT OCT

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Breaking the Chains Clothed in
That Bind Us: Art & Compassion... Donning
Process of Letting Go Garments of Mercy
WORKSHOP WORKSHOP
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2019 SUNDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2019
PRESENTERS: PRESENTERS:
Fr. FLAVIO GILLIO, m.s. & Dr. SALLY RICONSCENTE Fr. FLAVIO GILLIO, m.s. & Dr. SALLY RICONSCENTE
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NATIONAL SHRINE OF
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you, your group, or team. The compound includes the National Shrine of
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more info about our facilities, how to rent them, and more info about the
top-quality programs offered by our friendly staff

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