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When People Don’t Forgive

Published by Pemptousia Partnership, June 1, 2017 Abbot Tryphon There are people who insist on holding on to resentment, often inventing situations in their minds that never happened, justifying their bad behavior, and putting the blame on others. They see themselves as the abused party, always quick to take offense. Rarely are they able to have healthy relationships, for they are in reality, the abusers. Their world centers around them, and any attempt by others

When Words Don’t Come

Fr John Breck, July 2, 2009 An elderly woman recently broke down during Confession and began sobbing. She had attempted to offer to God what she felt was her sinful neglect in raising her son. Throughout his childhood and adolescence, she had taken him to church services on Sundays and feast days, and each day she had prayed with him and for him. Apparently, she had done all she could, gently and supportively, to lead

ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ! CHRIST IS RISEN! The Fourth Tuesday of Pascha: The Great Gain [1]

Published by Pemptousia Partnership, April 26, 2017 Archimandrite Theofilos Lemontzis, D. Th. Forgiveness is the effort and exercise of a love that is, in the end, transformed into joy and leads to salvation, as Saint Païsios the Athonite notes: ‘There’s no greater joy than that which you feel when you’re hard done by. I wish everybody would treat me unfairly. I can honestly tell you that the sweetest spiritual joy I’ve ever felt was through

The Fifth Friday of Great Lent: The Danger and Shame of Forgiveness

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, February 27, 2017  Forgiveness is so terribly hard. On a psychological level, it feels dangerous. The shame engendered by any insult or injury is our experience of vulnerability, and we instinctively react to protect ourselves. That, we must understand, is not a sin, it is an instinct that is a gift from God. The example of Christ, who did not “turn His face from the spitting and the shame,” is also

The Fifth Monday of Great Lent: Forgiveness for All the Sundays to Come

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, February 23, 2017  I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; (John17:20-21) The Elder Sophrony, together with St. Silouan, wrote about the “whole Adam.” By this, they meant all the human beings who have ever existed and those yet to come. They were, for them, something known in the present tense, a “hypostatic” knowledge of the fundamental unity of the human

The First Monday (Pure) of Great Lent: It’s a Crying Shame

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, March 2, 2016 Orthodox Christians make a beginning of their Lenten discipline with the forgiving of everyone for everything (theoretically). This is expressed in the rite of forgiveness which is part of Vespers on the Sunday of Cheesefare. The ritual expression of forgiveness can easily and often be little more than a ritual. It reminds us of the need to forgive, but does not, on its own, achieve what it expresses.

Justice, Forgiveness and Bearing a Little Shame

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, March 15, 2016  This morning I read a headline in the newspaper: “We will get justice.” In the relentless cycle of the daily news, the report was of the discovery of a young woman who had been murdered. It seemed a completely appropriate response by the law officer in charge of the investigation. His words doubtless echoed the sentiments of everyone who knew the young woman. The desire for justice is

Why We Forgive

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, March 14, 2016  There are many ways to think about forgiveness, not all of them true or helpful. It is easily the most emotionally and psychologically difficult aspect of the Christian life revealing both the power of trauma as well as the tenacity of lingering memories. The directness of Christ’s commandments (“forgive your enemies”) and the consequences of ignoring them (“if you do not forgive others neither will your heavenly Father

Forgiveness for All the Sundays to Come

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, March 10, 2016  I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; (John17:20-21) The Elder Sophrony, together with St. Silouan, wrote about the “whole Adam.” By this, they meant all the human beings who have ever existed and those yet to come. They were, for them, something known in the present tense, a “hypostatic” (the term Sophrony preferred) knowledge of the fundamental

Forgiveness – The Hardest Love of All

By Stephen Freeman, March 9, 2016  I cannot think that any of my readers is a stranger to forgiveness, either the need to be forgiven or the need to forgive. The need to forgive, according to the commandment of Christ, extends well beyond those who ask for our forgiveness: we are commanded to forgive our enemies – whom I presume would rarely want to ask for our forgiveness. Of course, our experience of those who