Father has a new, weekly free newsletter offering practical help for the Catholic life. It’s part of an initiative for the Year of Faith, called FaithWorks! Articles can be found on subjects such as prayer, forgiveness, worship and authentic Catholic spirituality. You can sign up here.
But beyond that, I encourage you to buy a copy of his books. Father Dwight has a gift of insight, and his writing is consistently inspirational. By way of example, check out this piece on forgiveness from his newsletter:
There is a wonderful detail in the story of the Prodigal Son. When the runaway boy is lying in the frozen mud of the pigpen with only slop to eat, the King James Version of the Bible says he ‘came to himself.’
What a profound psychological insight! At the heart of finding forgiveness is the gift to see ourselves as we really are and then turn to ask for help. Reality–true honesty about ourselves and other people must be at the heart of all forgiveness.
Forgiveness, by it’s very definition, involves a truthful relationship. To be forgiven we must see ourselves as we really are. To forgive others we must see them as they really are. This is difficult because all of us mask our true selves with the person we wish we were or the person we would like others to believe us to be. When we ‘come to ourselves’ we are able, perhaps for the first time to find forgiveness.
The next step for the prodigal son was to decide to get up, dust himself off and head home to the father. This step requires courage. When seeking forgiveness in a relationship with another person it is easy to skirt the issue, avoid the person and hope that the problem will take care of itself. Did they say ‘time heals all wounds’? They were lying. Time, on its own, doesn’t heal anything. Forgiveness doesn’t happen by itself. We need to take action. We need to get up out of the mud and head on home where we will find reconciliation and peace.
This is true in our relationships with one another, but it is also true in our relationship with God. We have to first see ourselves as we really are, then we need to see God as he really is. Here’s the great part! God looks on us with pity not with blame. He is the loving father waiting to welcome us home.
If you want to find true forgiveness ask God for the gift to see yourself as you really are–both the good and the bad–and then ask for the gift to see God as he truly is. When that truth comes thundering into your heart and life you will be on the path to finding forgiveness–that path that leads to the warm welcome of your true home.
– Fr. Dwight Longenecker, Finding Forgiveness – 4
Thanks, Fr. Dwight, for your tremendous work and encouragement!