Tag: Forgiveness

The Fifth Sunday of Lent: Saint Mary of Egypt

 

What is repentance? Can one truly repent if one has sinned greatly? Repentance is a turning back to God, and so long as we draw breath, no matter how low we may have sunk, we can turn back. But that turning back may be arduous and painful. On the final Sunday of Great Lent, we are reminded that, so long as we choose to repent, the door is open.

On the final Sunday of Great Lent, we commemorate Saint Mary of Egypt. The account of Saint Mary comes to us through Saint Sophronius of Jerusalem (himself an interesting figure in his own right), which he transcribed as it has been verbally passed down for perhaps a hundred years at that point. Mary was from Alexandria and had lived as a prostitute for 17 years, from the age of 12. Moreover, she claimed that she lived that way as much for pleasure as for the money. Yet in a moment she changed.

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Lent Part 2: The Triodion

 

In the first part I gave a brief overview of the services of the Orthodox Church that signal that Great Lent is not far off. But these were still basically “regular” services. In the three weeks and four Sundays before Great Lent, however, we enter into a new phase in the liturgy that carries all the way through Great And Holy Pascha (Easter), a phase that departs from the regular service orders and is called the Triodion (the canons chanted during this time originally had but three odes each, hence the term). In the Orthodox Church, this is the most sacred and special time of year, far exceeding Christmas in its significance, and in the physical and spiritual preparation we undergo. 

However, we’re not quite there… yet. There is something of a joke that I heard a priest say. If Lent is a preparation for Pascha, the three weeks beforehand are a preparation for the preparation. There are four rather special services, the first three of which each begin a week of this pre-preparation. First there is the Sunday of the Pharisee and the Publican, then the Sunday of the Prodigal Son, followed by Sunday of the Last Judgement, and concluding with the Sunday of Forgiveness. As I heard another priest put it: these services are like your mother calling out to you to get inside as it’s getting dark.

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But I heard this in today’s sermon, and thought it was worth sharing: “Burning down others’ opinions doesn’t make us right. It makes us arsonists.” ― Bob Goff, Everybody, Always: Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People More

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Exorcising Valentine’s Day: It All Works Out in the End

 

Surgeon General’s Warning: This has feelings in it, and it’s personal. You’re probably better off reading @cliffordbrown. In fact, it’s a little creepy to think you’d want to know a stranger this well; but I’m going to do this anyway. Damn the torpedoes, no sleep ’til Hammersmith!

Most of us don’t wait as long as I did to finally grow the hell up. I’ve mostly been a responsible sort for much of my life, but that’s hardly a marker of adulthood. You can save for retirement and still be a wretched hedonist with no understanding of the grace of God or mercy for His creatures. That was me in my 30s: too much Ayn Rand, fetish clubs, and waking up hungover on the floor.

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As far as Christmas Carols go I’m mostly a fan of the old hymns. The older poetry had to conform to a stricter set of rules. You have to spend a lot more effort on your word choices when you’re constrained like that, and the effort shows in the quality of your writing. They also […]

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Musings of a Third-Generation Wagon Circler

 

Writing here at Ricochet last week, @KateBraestrup expressed her opinion that “even without the sixfold imprimatur of the FBI, it would be virtually impossible to make a circle of wagons tight enough to conceal the kind of lurid behavior that Kavanaugh has been accused of.” She continued: “It’s not that it doesn’t exist; rather, when it exists, people know about it. Louche, lascivious or predatory men (alcoholic or otherwise) over time become well-known for being so.” While I’m relieved Kavanaugh has been confirmed, and I dreaded the precedent that would have been set if he had not have been, I can’t agree that men’s wagon circles are virtually never this tight. I know because I’m part of more than one man’s wagon circle, as was my mother, and her mother before her. Three generations of conservative American women, all three with little inclination to laugh off predatory behavior as just “boys being boys” — and all three with just as little inclination to name and shame men for having stories like those alleged about Kavanaugh in their past.

Men become notorious for sexual predation by persisting in it for long periods of time, especially if they become shameless about it. One reason we caution youth to postpone sex is because immature sexual misadventures are often exploitative. As Mark Regnerus has documented in his books Premarital Sex in America: How Young Americans Meet, Mate, and Think about Marrying and Forbidden Fruit: Sex & Religion in the Lives of American Teenagers, boys usually find it considerably easier than girls do to self-servingly and callously rationalize their “conquests,” even when they’ve had the moral formation to know better. Thank God that boys who should know better and don’t often mature into men who know better and do! Thank God that not everyone who has committed a sexual wrong in his past persists in that sort of misbehavior.

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Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins Sunday night. Unlike our secular New Year, it is the Jewish time for re-establishing our relationship with G-d and acknowledging His kingship. In addition, between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, Jews are directed to ask for forgiveness of all those we have hurt, before […]

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Quote of the Day: On Forgiving

 

Such is the course of my life at the moment that the subject of forgiveness has been running like a river through it. On that particular subject, you might say I’ve hit the jackpot. The big one. The forgiveness challenge to end all forgiveness challenges. A lollapalooza, in fact. Can I do it? I don’t know. But I’m thinking about working my way up to an endeavor in which I make the attempt to try. Maybe.

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Today I saw a film, Jirga, by Australian film maker (and paramedic) Benjamin Gilmour. It’s a film with backstory. From the Sydney Morning Herald: More

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Priest: Forgive me, a sinner Parishioner: God Forgives. Forgive me. More

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Will You Forgive Me?

 

The other day I had breakfast with a dear Jewish friend. We were discussing the month of Elul, the month that includes the High Holidays, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. She told me about a time as a child when she told her father she couldn’t think of anyone she had harmed (which is part of Jewish practice at this time of year). Her father looked at her sternly and simply said, “You aren’t perfect. Think about it.”

In Judaism we must ask those we have harmed for forgiveness before we ask G-d to forgive us. Suddenly I realized that I also had given cursory thought to those I might have harmed—and no one initially came to mind. But at breakfast with my friend, family, friends, even Ricochet friends started to appear in my thoughts: a person I had corrected because I felt they’d done something inappropriate; another had done something foolish and I gave her a piece of my mind. The list went on. I realized I had my work cut out for me!

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But there is more. The Church was historical and involved discrete historical events. The Church was hierarchical. The fishers of men, appointed by Jesus, in their turn created bishops and deacons, who in turn then passed on the authority given to them to their successors. The Church worked from a tradition. When Paul wrote about […]

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Warning: If you haven’t seen many of Hitchcock’s films, there are spoilers. Yes, being yet another exploration of Alfred Hitchcock’s work. Many essays and articles have been written about the influence of Alfred Hitchcock’s Catholic faith on his films. You can find them here, here, here, and here for starters. Rather than offer up an exhaustive treatise […]

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I found this story to be very moving: http://www.skynews.com.au/news/world/europe/2014/12/28/would-be-killer-lays-flowers-on-papal-tomb.html More

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I will be spending this Christmas at work, caring for those who cannot care for themselves. In the high stress world of healthcare, mistakes can come with a cost, and as a result, nurses are notoriously exacting, unforgiving, and sometimes severe. The few times I have made a medication error (it happens, we’re human), I […]

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Is It Possible To Forgive Someone Who Isn’t Sorry?

 

Forgiveness is the central tenant of Christianity, and Jesus is very clear that — if we want to be forgiven — we must be willing to forgive. Even on the cross, He said “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do,” indicating that we must be willing to forgive, even when those who need our forgiveness are not sorry.

But there is a wide gap between being willing to forgive someone, and actually forgiving them. We can be willing to forgive all day and all night — indeed, every day and every night — but the person who has done wrong must be willing to repent and accept forgiveness before love and peace can be restored to a broken relationship.

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