This course has ended, but we will be putting it into our on-demand system that allows you to schedule a course at your own pace.
This e-course has been updated from an earlier version first offered in 2008 and 2014.
Forgiving is one of the most difficult and complex gestures and, like love, it is one of the things which defines the essence of our humanity. In fact, the contemplative dimension of forgiveness reveals that at its core, forgiveness is a divine gift of love, a movement of love so profound that it reveals the truth of our nature -- fully human and enlivened with the divine potential.
Yet, the very fact that we do not forgive, or find forgiveness so difficult, reveals other essential qualities of our humanness -- the acquired programming of the human condition and our free will. We’ve inherited ways of being and ways of perceiving. And we’ve been gifted with the ability to choose. In seeking to live a contemplative life in the modern world, we are invited to make intentional, compassionate choices.
"How important forgiveness is can't be exaggerated," Thomas Keating reminds us. "One way of putting it is 'to be at peace with everyone.' It also means being prepared to take everyone into your heart, willing to share everyone's pain and joy as if it were your own. . . . This oneness is so close that we are more one than individuals. And so the spiritual journey can never be a privatized set of practices, because whenever you start the spiritual journey, the whole of humanity, and perhaps creation, goes along and shares the journey with you."
During this e-course, formatted to be used during Lent, we will explore a contemplative prayer practice of forgiveness. Twelve emails, delivered on Mondays and Thursdays, will contain and direct you to further retreat content, including:
1. Essays on various aspects of forgiveness, including
- Attitudes toward Forgiveness
- Understanding the Dynamics of Forgiveness
- The Consequences of Not Forgiving
- Forgiving Ourselves
- Practicing the Prayer of Forgiveness
- Victimhood, Forgiving Institutions and God
- Forgiving God
- Leaving Possibilities Open
- The Joy of Forgiveness
- Reflecting on the Process of Inner Resurrection
2. Step-by-step instructions in the Prayer of Forgiveness plus a guided audio version of the prayer for your practice
3. Short video clips showing examples of forgiveness of ourselves, others, and institutions
4. Mini-practices to explore forgiveness and ground the practice in your daily life
5. Recorded audio teachings
6. Live Zoom prayer groups to practice and ask questions.
Zoom Prayer Group Schedule:
- Monday evening, 7 - 8 pm Eastern Time, beginning March 7
- Thursday morning, 9 - 10am Eastern Time, beginning Thursday March 10
A note of caution: We understand that forgiveness is a process that is different for everyone. You are invited to enter the process of forgiveness at your own pace and depth. If you have a history of trauma, it is a good idea to find additional resources to support you throughout this course, such as a counselor or spiritual director, especially someone familiar with trauma. In addition, forgiveness does not mean forgetting, nor does it mean condoning or reconciliation. In forgiving, you are not excusing the person nor minimizing the hurt they have caused you. You are simply working with your own capacity for deepening forgiveness and compassion in the company of Divine Love.
To join us for this Lenten program, click on "subscribe" below.
Partial scholarships available through Contemplative Outreach here.
6 CEHs for Chaplains available.