Fourth Sunday of Lent: Embracing Forgiveness

Photo: Sister Nancy A. Sell

I took this picture on a beautiful summer day many years ago while hiking along Lake Michigan in Door County, Wisconsin.  The roaring waves intrigued me as they bounced against the water’s  edge inviting me to climb from rock to rock.    It was this tree formation though that drew my attention the most.  I paused and sat down to gaze at its simple beauty.  Branches which endured the test of time graced the stately trunk while roots exposed above the earth spoke of times past and the search for newness of life.  I reflected on the many invitations in my life to let go of what was no longer life-giving and to embrace new life.  The water’s tremendous energy bounced against the rocks reminding me of God’s enduring energy beckoning to let go of past hurts and to embrace forgiveness.  Embracing forgiveness was not a momentary decision but a culminating moment after continually muddling through thoughts of who was right and who was wrong.

I realized later that forgiveness does not involve determining who is right or wrong.  Forgiveness in many ways has little to do with the other involved in our hurt, it is about us and our well-being.  In the chapter “Promoting Forgiveness Through Restorative Conferencing” from the book  Forgiveness and Reconciliation Augustine Nwoye offers:  “Forgiveness is a willingness to abandon one’s right to resentment, negative judgment, and indifferent behavior toward one who unjustly hurt us, while fostering the undeserved qualities of compassion, generosity, and even love toward him or her.”  Forgiveness calls us to a new place in our lives.

Forgiveness is a gift of peace we give ourselves.   Bitterness, thoughts of revenge, holding grudges, ignoring someone only hurts us.  Obtaining peace isn’t something we do alone.  The Wisdom of God enfolds us through all times and seasons.   God’s energy pulsates through us like water rhythmically rolling against the shore.  Our energy shifts giving birth to new life through forgiveness.

Lent calls us to still our thoughts to “hear” another way through the dilemmas and changes of life.  Lent invites us to pause in the midst of full days to open ourselves to the Divine spirit enfolding us in love, care and compassion.

We continue our Lenten journey embracing forgiveness.

Blessings and peace,

Suggestion for Reflection:  How does the picture speak to my life?   Does forgiveness involve letting go of something in my life and allowing life to evolve?  What newness of life do I seek?

About SisterNancy

I am a Catholic Sister, a member of the School Sisters of St. Francis from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I enjoy swimming and nature: hiking in the mountains and along rolling hills, sitting by water and walking through the various seasons of life. I am a spiritual director, spirituality consultant, chaplain and retreat director. You can contact me at
This entry was posted in Catholic Sister, forgiveness, Inner Wisdom, Lent, Nun, Opennes to Life, Spirituality and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Fourth Sunday of Lent: Embracing Forgiveness

  1. Marian says:

    Forgiveness brings us peace. I need to think more about that, because I know from experience that it is true. Peace, the deep enduring inner peace, is such a wonderful gift. It can be a gift that I give myself, if I am big-hearted and will forgive someone. I liked your reflection today, but I need to ponder more on forgiveness.

  2. Theresa Held says:

    The sentence that really holds a lot of thought is “Forgiveness is a gift of peace we give ourselves.

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