Cover Image: The Ignatian Guide to Forgiveness

The Ignatian Guide to Forgiveness

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Member Reviews

In The Ignatian Guide to Forgiveness: Ten Steps to Healing, the author Marina Berzins McCoy discussed principles  of Ignatian spirituality (which I knew nothing about prior to reading this book), honesty, and ten steps to forgiveness. Over my lifetime, I have had situations which have caused me to seek out resources on forgiveness and spend time on forgiveness - this resource will serve to add to my thoughts and beliefs about forgiveness. Forgiveness can be incredibly difficult but also very freeing and well worth it. I completely agree with the author's take on being able to forgive people but still feeling hurt. #TheIgnatianGuidetoForgiveness #NetGalley
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The Ignatian Guide to Forgiveness is an interesting book.  I solely chose this book because of the subject of forgiveness.  Despite having different religious views than what was presented in the book, I still learned a lot about forgiveness.  I like how the author said that you can still forgive people and still feel hurt on what was done to you.  Thank you to NetGalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read this book.  (This review is also on GoodReads.)
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Forgiveness is more like a dance. Our first dance partner is God, followed by everyone else at a party. Then, regardless of wealth or social status, all come together to interact as people. The party is by invitation. The mood is celebratory. Call it a ten-step dance or as the author calls it, a "road map." Each step helps to till and loose any hardened soil of bitterness. Not only that, it helps one be more aware of the changes happening inside, to let God draw one closer to Him and His heart. Due to sin, forgiveness is never a default human inclination. That is why we all need God's help, and this book guides us in that direction. Based on the spiritual teachings of St Ignatius of Loyola, this book is a companion to guide readers through the fundamentals of prayer and especially the prayer of examen. After laying down some basic themes of Ignation spirituality, McCoy takes time to commit the book to prayer, praying the concluding prayer of pilgrims traveling along the Camino de Santiago (Way of St James). This is a reminder that prayer is a pilgrimage with God. Like a spiritual expedition, we prepare our hearts to encounter milestones, twists and turns, highs and lows, and all manner of terrain. She then launches into the steps proper, starting with three challenging questions:

    1) What are our most dominant feelings now?
    2) Where and when do such feelings arise?
    3) What are the underlying causes?

Step Two involves an honest appraisal of oneself. On the one hand, we embrace our humanness. On the other hand, we become more aware of the Pharisee in us. McCoy captures this in her phrase the "loved sinner." Step Three follows this dual orientation that promotes healing. Anger is legitimate, but we need to keep it in check with compassion. Step Four prepares us to trust in God's abundant grace, and to let our trust becomes like the one who found a pearl of great price, turning our attitudes from self-focused to others-centered. Step Five is one of the toughest: Forgiving ourselves. Using the image of a locked room, we learn that our tendency to refuse to forgive ourselves is likened to locking ourselves in a room and pout out self-victimization behaviour. Step Six takes a slight breather to ally with time for further healing. Without letting time lead, it is difficult to forge a genuine forgiveness. We often think of reconciliation as a one-shot endeavour. Using the parable of the persistent widow as a guide, we can also see reconciliation as something continual and persistent. Step Seven raises the ante on reconciliation, to learn to create new narratives together! Called a "shared narrative," it really puts our desire toward forgiveness to the test. It is one of the surest ways to authenticate our intent. Step Eight continues the dual-pronged orientation that while there is a stubborn child inside us that refuses to forgive, we can learn to become the parent of grace. McCoy does not rush to the next step. She puts in a "resting point" to help us consolidate and reflect on our journey so far. Step Nine and Ten completes the journey via cultivation of habits and celebration respectively.

My Thoughts
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This book brings to modern readers a brief summary of the classic: Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius. It updates and applies the exercises specifically to forgiveness. On the one hand, we get a deeper grasp on Ignatian spirituality. At the same time, we are given a way to apply these toward a common human need: Forgiveness. Readers get to appreciate both a treatise on Christian Living as well as an application for the betterment of relationships. Perhaps, this might lead some readers to go read the original classics written by St Ignatius directly. There is a lot of incentive to do that and McCoy has just shown us one.

There are many things to like about the book. There is simplicity in the writing; easily understood steps toward peace; clear guidance on what to do and what to do next; and most importantly, the space to be ourselves and to grow toward the persons we would want to be. I like the way McCoy fills each chapter with stories and examples of prayer. These illuminate the principles of forgiveness taught, and make it alive and meaningful. In one practice of forgiveness, we are able to pull together other themes like self-examination, self-awareness, dependence on God, trust, gratitude, confession, and opportunities to wrestle with the teachings of the Bible. This book could also be turned into a book of prayer.

Finally, the prayers in themselves are powerful triggers for growing our spirituality. I like the prayers included in several chapters to help us deepen our dependence on God. Forgiveness is never a one-off exercise but requires the persistence of the persistent widow. It is deeply personal but also involves the acceptance of the ones we are trying to forgive. From the anger of passion to the grace of compassion, it is an opportunity to grow to become more like Christ. Sometimes we think that praying is easy. That is furthest from the truth. True praying requires not just convenience and compassion, but conviction and compunction. May this book guide us more toward that.

Marina Berzins McCoy is a professor at Boston College, where she teaches philosophy and in the BC PULSE service learning program. She and her husband are the parents of two young adults and live in the Boston area.

Rating: 4.75 stars of 5.

conrade
This book has been provided courtesy of Loyola Press and NetGalley without requiring a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.
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This is one of the best books I have read on forgiveness. The author speaks the truth in love; gently reminding readers of the Christian call to love those who wrong us, while accepting Christ's own mercy and compasson in our lives as we work through the process. Readers should be aware that the book recommends certain spiritual exercises that may not feel comfortable for everyone.
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A rich and powerful companion as you work through your own need to forgive. We all have hurts, scars and bruises. Some are easier to deal with than others. None just go away on their own. This book is a beautiful guide to use as you work through the Ignatian ten steps of forgiveness. You will get out of this what you are willing to put into it. Highly recommended for all wounded hearts, counselors and spiritual directors. 
I received a complimentary copy from the publisher via NetGalley and all opinions expressed are my own, freely given.
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Forgiveness is a difficult thing. It is so easy for us to say we forgive. But to actually do it is quite difficult. This book walks you through responsible ways to make this happen. It takes an empathetic approach and gives bite size approaches and allows you to have kindness and patience with yourself when dealing with life. This is so necessary for everyone to read in life. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
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… and forgive us our trespassers as we forgive those who trespass against us …

It can be hard to forgive others who have hurt us; but that is what Jesus has called us to do.  

The Ignatian Guide to Forgiveness outlines Ten Steps (10) to help us with the second half of that plea, using the spirituality methods developed by St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits).  Each step has some connection to the Spiritual Exercises (and Prayer), where you are frequently invited to recite a specific type of prayer and/or asked to visualize a particular scene (typically taken from the Gospel).  The scenes are typically broken down into helpful bullet points to guide you through them.  In addition, the author includes personal vignettes from her own life as examples of how it all can work.

1.    Find your desire
2.    Embrace being a creature and name your inner pharisee
3.    Honor anger but deepen compassion
4.    Trust in abundant Grace
5.    Leave behind the locked room (forgive yourself)
6.    Let go and make friends with time
7.    Create new narratives
8,    Embrace the child but become the parent
9.    Cultivate habits of mercy
10.  Celebrate

The book is well organized and thoughtful and I have no doubt it offers some benefit to anyone truly struggling with forgiveness.  For me personally, I had some trouble connecting to the anecdotal stories (not totally unexpected since my life has taken a different path) and the imaginary exercises (also not surprising since I am very new to Ignatian spirituality).  I would guess that all of this will get easier with practice, and this book was presented in a way to facility such practice.

I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.
#TheIgnatianGuidetoForgiveness #NetGalley
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I enjoyed reading this book. If you have a hard time forgiving people this is a must read. Would make a nice gift for that person you know has issues with this as well.
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