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March 13 - Forgiveness

Colossians: Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

Forgiveness is essential but can be so hard to do. Many of you know my forgiveness story but it bears repeating.

I was married for many years and helped co-create three incredible children. When they were in their developing years when my marriage started falling apart and I didn't know what to do. All I knew was that I was losing my voice and my being. My sense of self had all but disappeared and I was lost.

A wise friend suggested I go to a spiritual retreat and I did. We did yoga morning and evening. During the yoga class that first morning, the instructor said, "Think of someone you love unconditionally and set your intention of the next movement in honor of that person."

Immediately, I thought of one of my sisters who was going through her own struggles. In that moment, in that movement, I offered a prayer for her healing. By setting that intention, my movement became the prayer for her. It was profound and beautiful.

That evening, many of the group gathered for the evening yoga class. The room was dim, and we sat in silence as we waited for the instructor. It had been an intense day of healing and deep reflection and we were spent.

Her voice drifted down the hall, laughing with another as she approached the doorway. She immediately read the room and gently said, "We're going to do some restorative yoga. Move over to the wall and put your legs up against the wall."

We moved through positions slowly and ever so gently. At one point she had us sit cross-legged, with one foot resting on the opposite knee. The idea was to reach out in front as far as we could. I glanced around and many people were splayed over their legs, nearly horizontal. I was stuck at a ninety-degree angle, completely vertical, as grasped at pieces of the carpet as I tried to pull myself into a more horizontal position.

The instructor said, "We carry so much anger in our hips. This morning I asked you to think of someone you loved unconditionally, and now I want you to think of someone you need to forgive."

In that moment, my husband popped into my head. We were in the midst of our divorce and it was ugly. All the things he said to me and the children, his selfishness, and betrayal flooded my soul. I offered up a silent prayer, "Please God, let me forgive him."

In that instant, with every cell of my being, I felt a complete release and utter calm. My body instantly moved into that position like I was water. In that moment, I knew forgiveness. I was forgiveness.

If we don't forgive, we get stuck. If we forgive, we become fluid.

Years later, my wasband called and was being horrible so I hung up on him. I went to Mass and the homily was all about forgiveness. The priest said, "If Jesus was on the cross and was able to say, 'Forgive them for they know not what they do,' what is bigger in your own lives than what Jesus had to forgive? If Jesus forgave all who wounded him, why can't we forgive those who have wounded us?"

Immediately after Mass, I called my wasband back and left a message, "You know, I forgave you many years ago. Now it's time for you to forgive me. It's the only way you can move on."

Of course, I have no idea if he listened to it (though I think he did), but ever since that time, we have been civil to one another.

I've learned that life is all about forgiveness. There's freedom when we release the wrongs and forgive.

March 13

Matthew: Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him.

Mark: He went up the mountain and called to him those whom he wanted, and they came to him.

Luke: He said to them, “Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you.”

John: No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.

Acts: The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our ancestors has glorified his servant Jesus, whom you handed over and rejected in the presence of Pilate, though he had decided to release him.

Romans: “Their throats are opened graves; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of vipers is under their lips.”

1 Corinthians: the work of each builder will become visible, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each has done.

2 Corinthians: not like Moses, who put a veil over his face to keep the people of Israel from gazing at the end of the glory that was being set aside.

Galatians: Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”—

Ephesians: I pray therefore that you may not lose heart over my sufferings for you; they are your glory.

Philippians: Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,

Colossians: Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

1 Thessalonians: And may he so strengthen your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.

2 Thessalonians: Brothers and sisters, do not be weary in doing what is right.

1 Timothy: for those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and great boldness in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

2 Timothy: But wicked people and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving others and being deceived.

Titus: Make every effort to send Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way, and see that they lack nothing.

Hebrews: But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” so that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

James: Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom.

1 Peter: Now who will harm you if you are eager to do what is good?

2 Peter: But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.

1 John: Do not be astonished, brothers and sisters, that the world hates you.

Revelation: Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.

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