In the following section we find some basic resources centred on forgiveness. As Fr Jim McManus cssr says, “Forgiveness is at the heart of the Gospel!”
The article above, ‘The Healing Power of Forgiveness’ is from the work of Scottish Redemptorist priest, Fr Jim McManus. In this powerful article Fr Jim breaks open what forgiveness is and what it is not. True forgiveness has great power to heal and to ‘free’ and to transform. This article is an excellent resource for all of us for we are all in need of healing.
The link above is to an Examination of Conscience. It was written to be used by young adults preparing them for the Sacrament of Penance. It begins with the key Scripture about love of God, neighbour and self. It then invites us to ‘see ourselves as God sees us!’ This is then followed by a series of questions aimed at inviting the penitent to become more aware of where and how they have failed in love. The Examination of Conscience then addresses just what forgiveness is and its power. The examine concludes with a simple way of ‘being’ on the forgiveness journey in your everyday. The Rosies prayer, “O Jesus, make our hearts so human ….!” concludes the Examination of Conscience. This resource may be of use with adolescents and young adults.
Forgiveness is a sacred journey – but one which we do not walk alone. Our God of total and unconditional love walks beside us and lives within us.
Sharing of Story: One can never doubt the power of sharing of one’s story in a respectful context. When working with young people I will sometimes use the following process. This process works best in small groups of about 8 young people aged 15+. The simple ‘rules’ for a Trust Circle are:
- Only a volunteer can set in the ‘hot seat’.
- What is said within this circle of trust must remain here. (If the facilitator senses that this may not happen then the activity is definitely not entered in to.)
- When a question is asked of the volunteer they must answer truthfully. (Again, if the facilitator senses that the group are not taking the process seriously it is either not entered into or stopped immediately – story is too sacred to be used or abused.)
- The person in the hot set may pass on any question.
- If they choose to answer a question (they must do so truthfully) then they have the right (should they wish) to ask the same question back of the questioner and the questioner cannot pass. This is simply to ensure that no one asks a question that they are not prepared to answer themselves.
- When the facilitator senses that the questions have dried up, they thank the person who has shared and invite any volunteer to take a place in the hot seat.
- It is vital that the facilitator remind the group that not everyone has to be in the hot seat and only volunteers. This is especially to be revisited when there may only be two or three in the group left who have not volunteered. “It is more than OK not to volunteer!”
What will naturally happen is that the group will find it own level depending upon their emotional maturity. Some groups will stay at a relatively surface level and that is OK. Some will go deeper and that too is OK.
The attached questions (above) are merely a guide as especially early on, some young people, need assistance in knowing what to ask.