Parish staff members had a chance to personally practice forgiveness through a prayer meditation offered as a part of a recent Equip Day.
The Equip Day workshop, offered by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee Office of Evangelization and Catechesis, focused on healing through forgiveness and how to help others forgive.
Margaret Rhody, Associate Director for Parish Renewal, offered the Prayer of Forgiveness meditation below to those attending the November workshop at the Mary Mother of the Church Pastoral Center in St. Francis.
Rhody, who previously worked on research on the effects of forgiveness on mental health, adapted the prayer meditation from Dr. Bob Schuchts’ “Healing the Whole Person Workbook Journal.”
Dr. Schuchts will be the primary presenter at an upcoming Healing the Whole Person Conference being held at St. William Parish, Waukesha, from April 11-13. It will be offered in person and by livestream. Registration opens Jan. 8 here: archmil.org/HWP/Conference.
Prayer of Forgiveness
- Ask the Holy Spirit to show you who you need to forgive (could be family, friend, abuser, yourself).
- Picture the person in front of you and pay attention to what you feel in your heart and body.
- Make an account of the debt they owe you (what did they take from you, how did they hurt you? It is OK to feel angry.).
- Imagine yourself telling them what they did to hurt you and how it has affected you. (Have it all out. You don’t have to censor or be “nice.”)
- Bring the person with you to meet Jesus on the cross at Calvary. Look at Christ on the cross. Notice how Jesus looks upon your offender as he offers his life to save them.
- Ask Jesus to be merciful to this person and to forgive them in whatever way they need forgiveness.
- Ask Jesus to give you the grace to forgive the person. (For example: “Jesus, give me the desire to forgive; help me to forgive; forgive in me what I have been unable to forgive.”)
- If and when you’re ready, turn and face the person, and in the name of Jesus, offer them forgiveness. (For example: “In Jesus’ name, I forgive ______ (name).”)
- Pray a prayer of blessing over that person — ask God to bless and heal them. Ask God to bless them in the opposite way that they hurt you.
- Ask Jesus to seal this forgiveness and heal the wounds.
- Thank God for his healing.
Adapted from “Healing the Whole Person Workbook Journal” by Dr. Bob Schuchts. Used with permission.