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Forgiving is one of the most difficult and complex gestures and yet, 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 another essential quality of our humanness — free will. We have a God-given ability to choose, to be and to do as we please, and how we choose defines the level of our being. In seeking to live a contemplative life in the modern world, we are invited to make conscious, loving choices.
Contemplative Outreach, founded by Fr. Thomas Keating and best known for its pioneering teaching of Centering Prayer, has developed a workshop on the contemplative practice of forgiveness. Spirituality & Practice is pleased to partner with Contemplative Outreach to bring this teaching to the online community.
This Online Retreat, which was originally presented during Lent 2009, is now available on-demand. It consists of 18 emails. These contain or direct you to the retreat content:
• essays on various aspects of forgiveness by Fr. Carl Arico
• step-by-step instructions in the Prayer of Forgiveness plus an audio version of the prayer for your practice
• an online gallery of scripture passages on forgiveness
• video clips showing examples of forgiveness of ourselves, others, and institutions
• excerpts from an audio conference about forgiveness
• mini-practices to ground the forgiveness practice in your daily life
• answers from the retreat leaders to questions posed by participants during the original offering of the retreat
"How important forgiveness is can't be exaggerated," Father 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."
(4 CEHs for Chaplains available.)
(choose your own start date and frequency)