Sunday, March 31, 2013

Finding My Way Back To God - A Blessed Easter Sunday

I would like to wish everyone who has come into my life a Happy Easter, however you view and spend this special day.
As a practicing Catholic, I am grateful of my Christian values, beliefs, and traditions. In this, I have maintained that in order for a Christian to embrace their faith, they must embrace so much of their Jewish faith, tradition, and history too.  Nevertheless, I must say that I have not always embraced my faith nor the lessons that are shared in my faith. In fact, I have denied God's existence. And in the midst of my denial - the anger, rage, and betrayal I felt allowed me to act in ways I am not proud of. I

In denying God's existence, I did more than reject Him - I rejected myself too.
Before I go any further, I want to reiterate that in order to be a good Christian it is necessary to embrace much of Jusiasm. This view has been one I have held for a long time. In fact, one of the main protagonists in the Christian spiritual novel 'Cloning Christ' is in fact a remarkable Rabbi - one inspired by one of the most incredible, kind, and loving individuals I have ever known.
The message Rabbi Morton Kohn, my adopted grandfather shared, is one that Pope Francis is not only preaching, but demonstrating by act: to act in humility, love, and connected kindness toward everyone around you.
The message shared by Pope Francis and Rabbi Kohn are the same message of Jesus Christ.
Speaking of Pope Francis, I must say I am so deeply inspired by the Pontiff's accessibility, humbleness, and belief in our equality.  His Holiness has reached out to his flock in ways not seen in a very long time.  He is leading his Catholic Church in ways that are indeed demonstrating change that is needed - and I am thrilled.
With an open heart, I celebrate Easter Sunday. I thank the God I worship for the blessings I have been given, and ask Him to continue to guide me in my life. In my humble request, I take deep thanks in Jesus Christ, who sacrificed his own life so that my sins would be forgiven. Just like yours.
I acknowledge that I  have not always been the picture of a person of faith. My beliefs in Christ and God's existence have wavered. I have denied God's existence.
But how blessed are we to know that God has never denied our existence, nor withdrawn His love.
So here on Easter Sunday, I would like to share a very personal day that changed my life forever. It was a day that I denied His Existence. It was a day He showed up.
I remember the day the way a person remembers their deepest secret: Friday, December 7th, 2001.

I had been continuing my work documenting the hoped-for rescue and ongoing recovery efforts taking place at the World Financial Center due to the terrorist attacks on freedom that occurred nearly three months early on that perfect blue-skied morning of September 11th, 2001.

Three months had gone after the attack, and though the 'pit' - Ground Zero was draped in thick layers of floating carbon and ash that ascended past the clouds, the weather had not interfered with the indefatigable first-responders and steel worker efforts that were taking place.

Then December 7th showed up, and with it hail ice balls as big as golf balls that pounded on your body while you tried to balance your feet in the grey sludge of broken-down carbon that could have been just about anything. My mind still shudders at this thought.

It was in the early evening while I was in the middle of the pit that something happened to me that till this day still remains deeply personal. Perhaps one day I will share it, but for now, I will keep it to myself.

Needless to say, what occurred was very difficult for my sensors - my sight, my smell, my taste, my taste - I wish I never experienced what I did.

Literally and figuratively in shock, two friends I was with were smart enough to take me to Trinity Church - one of the oldest and grandest cathedrals in New York - that sits atop the slopping hill of Wall Street.

It was there, and upon entering the church and seeing the symbolic cross of Jesus of Nazareth that I began to rage within. My anger caused me to begin screaming at the crucifix that if God existed, he would not have allowed for the September 11th, 2001 attacks - when I lost 72 friends - to have occurred. 

My words were harsh, crude, and cruel. They were words not simply doubting God's existence, how the whole thing - faith - was just one big horrific joke played on humanity.

And on and on I raged, screaming in the middle of the night dimly light in candles, the scent of the floating carbon of Ground Zero filling my nostrils, covering my face, my hands, and any other part of flesh exposed to the burnt air.

I remember throwing dozens of the church missalette's toward the alter as I voiced my anger over the suffering and horrors of Ground Zero.

In the middle of my rage, I remember shouting (with lots of vulgarity) that I simply wanted to go home - and that I no longer wanted to play the role requested on me to record for prosperity the events that were taking place.

In the middle of my rage - I remember feeling something very surreal cloak my spirit, covering my spiritual body in a warmth and love I have ever known.

It was so strange: literally at the height of my rage God shows up.

And everything was okay.

Now I must say, I was not looking to begin a journey on the road to Damascus. Far from it.

But in His own way, He had other plans for me, and that included an understanding that His plans are much more extensive than anything I could ever understand.

In coverning me with His love, He provided to me a deep sense of strength and clarity.  Some of what He provided to me are strenghts that I use today with my work trying to assist families in crisis.

Moving forward nearly 10 hours, and near 7:00 a.m. that morning, I remember leaving Trinity Church. Yes - I was inside Trinity all night.

What was I doing?

Seated in the second row inside Trinity, I was writing the story that God does exist in each of us - and that our God - is much bigger than one religion.

Whatever you may want to think covered me in the midst of my rage - causing my anger to immediately stop and have my heart open - I know it was God's touch coupled with my belief in each of us.

So I share with you today where and why I wrote CLONING CHRIST.  It is a multi-layered theological thriller I am very proud to share with each of you for it is a story more than anything about a man coming back to the House of God. 

And in the spirit of the God I worship, please know that should you desire to purchase a copy of Cloning Christ,  100% of all e-book purchases are donated to the I CARE Foundation in order to assist children at risk. Also know that if you can't afford a copy of this book, write to me at and I will do what I can to get you a free copy.

On this Holy Easter Sunday, I wish to each of you God's Blessings.

-Peter Thomas Senese -

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Friday, March 29, 2013


Of all the things I have talked about or tried to emulate in my life there is nothing more important outside of living free in kindness toward one another than to know forgiveness.

Of all the challenges we face in our humanity, perhaps knowing forgiveness is the most difficult trait to embrace.  But it very well may be the one that provides us with the deepest connections of all.  Unquestionably, it takes a great deal of courage and self-assurance to forgive another person. And surely it may not be easy, especially when we consider the concept of forgiving someone knowing there is a high possibility that the person or group we are trying to forgive will do the same thing to cause you hurt, loss, or suffering once again.

Today, in my faith as a practicing Catholic, I celebrate Good Friday. a religious holiday observed primarily by Christians commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary.

In my faith, I am reminded of what exactly Jesus Christ did on that cross: He acted and gave of his life so that our sins may be forgiven.

Forgiveness. It is a key element that allows you to live in Uhuru - to live in freedom by being unbowed to your morals, ethics, and values.

In my life, I know I have made my fair share of mistakes, just like each of us except one. In part my own life has evolved to understanding the concept of forgiveness because I have needed to be forgiven.  I still do. I make mistakes.

In the philanthropic work I try to put forth helping families in crisis, I often find myself overloaded with multiple cases of international child abduction and trafficking where real lives are at stake. This world is dark, unfair, filled with malice and injustice, and removed of light.  And I travel there often. It is not easy. And at times, knowing the risks and exploitation of children that occurs, I know there are times when my disbelief of the circumstances children and targeted parents face has led me at times to close my heart from the concept of forgiveness.  Thank goodness, I am reminded of the idea of forgiveness each and every day by Christ, who is in my life, along with my loving memories of my remarkable grandfather, Rabbi Morton Kohn, who truly reinforced Christ’s teachings of forgiveness to me by living a life of forgiveness.

So today is Good Friday.  And I celebrate Forgiveness. For anyone I have ever hurt I am sorry if my actions or lack of them may have caused you hurt.  And to anyone who may have caused me hurt, I forgive you and wish you happiness.
One other thing: it is okay to forgive yourself. You are not perfect. You are not expected to be. You, like me, and the neighbor next to you, will make many, many mistakes. Forgive yourself. Christ did.

In the spirit of forgiveness I thought I would share a little history taken from Wikipedia about Forgiveness.
And to each of you who happen to be celebrating this Holy Week of Passover and Easter, I wish each of you the wonderment of giving and receiving forgiveness.
And if there is one special prayer that I have been holding in my heart that I would like to share with you, it is that all parents in conflict with one another truly attempt to find common ground necessary in the best interest of their child.


The holiday is observed during Holy Week as part of the Paschal Triduum on the Friday preceding Easter Sunday, and may coincide with the Jewish observance of Passover.

Based on the details of the Canonical gospels, the Crucifixion of Jesus was most likely to have been on a Friday (John 19:42) ] The estimated year of the Crucifixion is AD 33, by two different groups, and originally as AD 34 by Isaac Newton via the differences between the Biblical and Julian calendars and the crescent of the moon.   A third method, using a completely different astronomical approach based on a lunar Crucifixion darkness and eclipse model (consistent with Apostle Peter's reference to a "moon of blood" in Acts 2:20), points to Friday, 3 April AD 33.

Forgiveness is the renunciation or cessation of resentment, indignation or anger as a result of a perceived offence, disagreement, or mistake, or ceasing to demand. punishment or restitution. The Oxford English Dictionary defines forgiveness as 'to grant free pardon and to give up all claim on account of an offence or debt'. The concept and benefits of forgiveness have been explored in religious thought, the social sciences and medicine. Forgiveness may be considered simply in terms of the person who forgives including forgiving themselves, in terms of the person forgiven or in terms of the relationship between the forgiver and the person forgiven. In most contexts, forgiveness is granted without any expectation of restorative justice, and without any response on the part of the offender (for example, one may forgive a person who is incommunicado or dead). In practical terms, it may be necessary for the offender to offer some form of acknowledgment, an apology, or even just ask for forgiveness, in order for the wronged person to believe himself able to forgive.

Most world religions include teachings on the nature of forgiveness, and many of these teachings provide an underlying basis for many varying modern day traditions and practices of forgiveness. Some religious doctrines or philosophies place greater emphasis on the need for humans to find some sort of divine forgiveness for their own shortcomings, others place greater emphasis on the need for humans to practice forgiveness of one another, yet others make little or no distinction between human and divine forgiveness.


Factors determining the likelihood of forgiveness in an intimate relationship.

Although there is presently no consensus for a psychological definition of forgiveness in the research literature, agreement has emerged that forgiveness is a process and a number of models describing the process of forgiveness have been published, including one from a radical behavioral perspective.

Dr. Robert Enright from the University of Wisconsin–Madison founded the International Forgiveness Institute and is considered the initiator of forgiveness studies. He developed a 20-Step Process Model of Forgiveness. Recent work has focused on what kind of person is more likely to be forgiving. A longitudinal study showed that people who were generally more neurotic, angry and hostile in life were less likely to forgive another person even after a long time had passed. Specifically, these people were more likely to still avoid their transgressor and want to enact revenge upon them two and a half years after the transgression.

Studies show that people who forgive are happier and healthier than those who hold resentments. The first study to look at how forgiveness improves physical health discovered that when people think about forgiving an offender it leads to improved functioning in their cardiovascular and nervous systems. Another study at the University of Wisconsin found the more forgiving people were, the less they suffered from a wide range of illnesses. The less forgiving people reported a greater number of health problems.

The research of Dr. Fred Luskin of Stanford University shows that forgiveness can be learned. Dr. Frederic Luskin's work is based on seven major research projects into the effects of forgiveness, giving empirical validity to the concept that forgiveness is not only powerful, but also excellent for your health. Dr. Fred Luskin author of the book "Learning to forgive was presented with a Champion of Forgiveness award by the Forgiveness Alliance for his groundbreaking work with forgiveness, reconciliation and peace.

In three separate studies, including one with Catholics and Protestants from Northern Ireland whose family members were murdered in the political violence, he found that people who are taught how to forgive become less angry, feel less hurt, are more optimistic, become more forgiving in a variety of situations, and become more compassionate and self-confident. His studies show a reduction in experience of stress, physical manifestations of stress, and an increase in vitality.

Religious views


In Judaism, if a person causes harm, but then sincerely and honestly apologizes to the wronged individual and tries to rectify the wrong, the wronged individual is religiously required to grant forgiveness:

  • "It is forbidden to be obdurate and not allow yourself to be appeased. On the contrary, one should be easily pacified and find it difficult to become angry. When asked by an offender for forgiveness, one should forgive with a sincere mind and a willing spirit. . . forgiveness is natural to the seed of Israel." (Mishneh Torah, Teshuvah 2:10)

In Judaism, one must go to those he has harmed in order to be entitled to forgiveness. [One who sincerely apologizes three times for a wrong committed against another has fulfilled his or her obligation to seek forgiveness. (Shulchan Aruch) OC 606:1] This means that in Judaism a person cannot obtain forgiveness from God for wrongs the person has done to other people. This also means that, unless the victim forgave the perpetrator before he died, murder is unforgivable in Judaism, and they will answer to God for it, though the victims' family and friends can forgive the murderer for the grief they caused them. The Tefila Zaka meditation, which is recited just before Yom Kippur, closes with the following:

  • "I know that there is no one so righteous that they have not wronged another, financially or physically, through deed or speech. This pains my heart within me, because wrongs between humans and their fellow are not atoned by Yom Kippur, until the wronged one is appeased. Because of this, my heart breaks within me, and my bones tremble; for even the day of death does not atone for such sins. Therefore I prostrate and beg before You, to have mercy on me, and grant me grace, compassion, and mercy in Your eyes and in the eyes of all people. For behold, I forgive with a final and resolved forgiveness anyone who has wronged me, whether in person or property, even if they slandered me, or spread falsehoods against me. So I release anyone who has injured me either in person or in property, or has committed any manner of sin that one may commit against another [except for legally enforceable business obligations, and except for someone who has deliberately harmed me with the thought ‘I can harm him because he will forgive me']. Except for these two, I fully and finally forgive everyone; may no one be punished because of me. And just as I forgive everyone, so may You grant me grace in the eyes of others, that they too forgive me absolutely."

Thus the "reward" for forgiving others is not God's forgiveness for wrongs done to others, but rather help in obtaining forgiveness from the other person.

Sir Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, summarized: "it is not that God forgives, while human beings do not. To the contrary, we believe that just as only God can forgive sins against God, so only human beings can forgive sins against human beings."

Jews observe a Day of Atonement Yom Kippur on the day before God makes decisions regarding what will happen during the coming year. Just prior to Yom Kippur, Jews will ask forgiveness of those they have wronged during the prior year (if they have not already done so). During Yom Kippur itself, Jews fast and pray for God's forgiveness for the transgressions they have made against God in the prior year. Sincere repentance is required, and once again, God can only forgive one for the sins one has committed against God; this is why it is necessary for Jews also to seek the forgiveness of those people who they have wronged.


In the New Testament, Jesus speaks of the importance of Christians forgiving or showing mercy towards others. The Parable of the Prodigal Son is perhaps the best known instance of such teaching and practice of forgiveness.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus repeatedly spoke of forgiveness, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” Matthew 5:7 (NIV) “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:23-24 (NIV) “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” Mark 11:25 (NIV) “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also.” Luke 6:27-29 (NIV) “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” Luke 6:36 (NIV) “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” Luke 6:37 (NIV)

Elsewhere, it is said, "Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. Matthew 18:21-22 (NKJV)

Jesus asked for God's forgiveness of those who crucified him. "And Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.'" Luke 23: 34 (ESV)

Benedict XVI, on a visit to Lebanon in 2012, insisted that peace must be based on mutual forgiveness: "Only forgiveness, given and received, can lay lasting foundations for reconciliation and universal peace"


Islam teaches that God is Al-Ghaffur "The All-Forgiving", and is the original source of all forgiveness (ghufran غفران). Forgiveness often requires the repentance of those being forgiven. Depending on the type of wrong committed, forgiveness can come either directly from Allah, or from one's fellow man who received the wrong. In the case of divine forgiveness, the asking for divine forgiveness via repentance is important. In the case of human forgiveness, it is important to both forgive, and to be forgiven.

Islam does not teach universalism, however, and the Qur'an states explicitly that God will not forgive idol worship (shirk):

God does not forgive idol worship (if maintained until death), and He forgives lesser offenses for whomever He wills. Anyone who idolizes any idol beside God has strayed far astray. (Qur'an 4:116)

The Qur'an never allows for violent behavior on the part of Muslim believers, except in the cases of defending one's religion, one's life, or one's property. Outside of this, the Qu'ran makes no allowances for violent behavior. From time to time certain Muslims have interpreted such Qur'anic allowances for "defensive violence" to include what other Muslims have viewed more as unwarranted and overly aggressive violence. This interpretative debate about when to forgive and when to aggressively attack or defend continues to this day within the Muslim community.

The Qur'an makes it clear that, whenever possible, it is better to forgive another than to attack another. The Qur'an describes the believers (Muslims) as those who, avoid gross sins and vice, and when angered they forgive. (Qur'an 42:37) and says that Although the just requital for an injustice is an equivalent retribution, those who pardon and maintain righteousness are rewarded by GOD. He does not love the unjust. (Qur'an 42:40).

To receive forgiveness from God there are three requirements:

  1. Recognizing the offense itself and its admission before God.
  2. Making a commitment not to repeat the offense.
  3. Asking for forgiveness from God.

If the offense was committed against another human being, or against society, a fourth condition is added:

  1. Recognizing the offense before those against whom offense was committed and before God.
  2. Committing oneself not to repeat the offense.
  3. Doing whatever needs to be done to rectify the offense (within reason) and asking pardon of the offended party.
  4. Asking God for forgiveness.

There are no particular words to say for asking forgiveness. However, Muslims are taught many phrases and words to keep repeating daily asking God's forgiveness. For example:

  • Astaghfiru-Allah, "I ask forgiveness from Allah"
  • Subhanaka-Allah humma wa bi hamdika wa ash-hadu al la Ilaha illa Anta astaghfiruka wa atubu ilayk, "Glory be to You, Allah, and with You Praise (thanks) and I bear witness that there is no deity but You, I ask Your forgiveness and I return to You (in obedience)".

Islamic teaching presents the Prophet Muhammad as an example of someone who would forgive others for their ignorance, even those who might have once considered themselves to be his enemies. One example of Muhammad's practice of forgiveness can be found in the Hadith, the body of early Islamic literature about the life of Muhammad. This account is as follows:
The Prophet was the most forgiving person. He was ever ready to forgive his enemies. When he went to Ta’if to preach the message of Allah, its people mistreated him, abused him and hit him with stones. He left the city humiliated and wounded. When he took shelter under a tree, the angel of Allah visited him and told him that Allah sent him to destroy the people of Ta’if because of their sin of maltreating their Prophet. Muhammad prayed to Allah to save the people of Ta'if, because what they did was out of their ignorance.

Bahá'í Faith

In the Bahá'í Writings, this explanation is given of how to be forgiving towards others:

"Love the creatures for the sake of God and not for themselves. You will never become angry or impatient if you love them for the sake of God. Humanity is not perfect. There are imperfections in every human being, and you will always become unhappy if you look toward the people themselves. But if you look toward God, you will love them and be kind to them, for the world of God is the world of perfection and complete mercy. Therefore, do not look at the shortcomings of anybody; see with the sight of forgiveness."
`Abdu'l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 92


In Buddhism, forgiveness is seen as a practice to prevent harmful thoughts from causing havoc on one’s mental well-being. Buddhism recognizes that feelings of hatred and ill-will leave a lasting effect on our mind karma. Instead, Buddhism encourages the cultivation of thoughts that leave a wholesome effect. "In contemplating the law of karma, we realize that it is not a matter of seeking revenge but of practicing mettā and forgiveness, for the victimizer is, truly, the most unfortunate of all. When resentments have already arisen, the Buddhist view is to calmly proceed to release them by going back to their roots. Buddhism centers on release from delusion and suffering through meditation and receiving insight into the nature of reality. Buddhism questions the reality of the passions that make forgiveness necessary as well as the reality of the objects of those passions "If we haven’t forgiven, we keep creating an identity around our pain, and that is what is reborn. That is what suffers.

Buddhism places much emphasis on the concepts of Mettā (loving kindness), karuna (compassion), mudita (sympathetic joy), and upekkhā (equanimity), as a means to avoiding resentments in the first place. These reflections are used to understand the context of suffering in the world, both our own and the suffering of others.

“He abused me, he struck me, he overcame me, he robbed me’ — in those who harbor such thoughts hatred will never cease.”

“He abused me, he struck me, he overcame me, he robbed me’ — in those who do not harbor such thoughts hatred will cease.”


The concept of performing atonement from one's wrongdoing (Prayaschittha — Sanskrit: Penance), and asking for forgiveness is very much a part of the practice of Hinduism. Prayaschittha is related to the law of Karma. Karma is a sum of all that an individual has done, is currently doing and will do. The effects of those deeds and these deeds actively create present and future experiences, thus making one responsible for one's own life, and the pain in others.

Addressing Dhritarashtra, Vidura said: "There is one only defect in forgiving persons, and not another; that defect is that people take a forgiving person to be weak. That defect, however, should not be taken into consideration, for forgiveness is a great power. Forgiveness is a virtue of the weak, and an ornament of the strong. Forgiveness subdues (all) in this world; what is there that forgiveness cannot achieve? What can a wicked person do unto him who carries the sabre of forgiveness in his hand? Fire falling on the grassless ground is extinguished of itself. And unforgiving individual defiles himself with many enormities. Righteousness is the one highest good; and forgiveness is the one supreme peace; knowledge is one supreme contentment; and benevolence, one sole happiness." (From the Mahabharata, Udyoga Parva Section XXXIII, Translated by Sri Kisari Mohan Ganguli).

An even more authoritative statement about forgiveness is espoused by Krishna, who is considered to be an incarnation (Avatar) of Vishnu by Hindus. Krishna said in the Gita that forgiveness is one of the characteristics of one born for a divine state. It is noteworthy that he distinguishes those good traits from those he considered to be demoniac, such as pride, self-conceit and anger (Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 16, verse 3).

Village priests may open their temple ceremonies with the following beloved invocation:

O Lord, forgive three sins that are due to my human limitations:
Thou art everywhere, but I worship thee here;
Thou art without form, but I worship thee in these forms;
Thou needest no praise, yet I offer thee these prayers and salutations;
Lord, forgive three sins that are due to my human limitations.


In Jainism, forgiveness is one of the main virtues that needs to be cultivated by the Jains. Kṣamāpanā or supreme forgiveness forms part of one of the ten characteristics of dharma.[24] In the Jain prayer, (pratikramana) Jains repeatedly seek forgiveness from various creatures—even from ekindriyas or single sensed beings like plants and microorganisms that they may have harmed while eating and doing routine activities.[25] Forgiveness is asked by uttering the phrase, Micchāmi dukkaḍaṃ. Micchāmi dukkaḍaṃ is a Prakrit language phrase literally meaning "may all the evil that has been done be fruitless."[26] During samvatsari—the last day of Jain festival paryusana—Jains utter the phrase Micchami Dukkadam after pratikraman. As a matter of ritual, they personally greet their friends and relatives micchāmi dukkaḍaṃ seeking their forgiveness. No private quarrel or dispute may be carried beyond samvatsari, and letters and telephone calls are made to the outstation friends and relatives asking their forgiveness.

Pratikraman also contains the following prayer.

Khāmemi savva-jīve savvë jive khamantu me /

metti me savva-bhūesu, veraṃ mejjha na keṇavi //

(I ask pardon of all creatures, may all creatures pardon me.

May I have friendship with all beings and enmity with none.)

In their daily prayers and samayika, Jains recite Iryavahi sutra seeking forgiveness from all creatures while involved in routine activities:

May you, O Revered One! Voluntarily permit me. I would like to confess my sinful acts committed while walking. I honour your permission. I desire to absolve myself of the sinful acts by confessing them. I seek forgiveness from all those living beings which I may have tortured while walking, coming and going, treading on living organism, seeds, green grass, dew drops, ant hills, moss, live water, live earth, spider web and others. I seek forgiveness from all these living beings, be they — one sensed, two sensed, three sensed, four sensed or five sensed. Which I may have kicked, covered with dust, rubbed with ground, collided with other, turned upside down, tormented, frightened, shifted from one place to another or killed and deprived them of their lives. (By confessing) may I be absolved of all these sins.

Jain texts quote Māhavīra on forgiveness:

By practicing prāyaṣcitta (repentance), a soul gets rid of sins, and commits no transgressions; he who correctly practises prāyaṣcitta gains the road and the reward of the road, he wins the reward of good conduct. By begging forgiveness he obtains happiness of mind; thereby he acquires a kind disposition towards all kinds of living beings; by this kind disposition he obtains purity of character and freedom from fear.

— Māhavīra in Uttarādhyayana Sūtra 29:17–18

Even the code of conduct amongst the monks requires the monks to ask forgiveness for all transgressions:

If among monks or nuns occurs a quarrel or dispute or dissension, the young monk should ask forgiveness of the superior, and the superior of the young monk. They should forgive and ask forgiveness, appease and be appeased, and converse without restraint. For him who is appeased, there will be success (in control); for him who is not appeased, there will be no success; therefore one should appease one's self. 'Why has this been said, Sir? Peace is the essence of monasticism'.

Kalpa Sūtra 8:59


Hoʻoponopono is an ancient Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness, combined with prayer. Similar forgiveness practices were performed on islands throughout the South Pacific, including Samoa, Tahiti and New Zealand. Traditionally Hoʻoponopono is practiced by healing priests or kahuna lapaʻau among family members of a person who is physically ill. Modern versions are performed within the family by a family elder, or by the individual alone.

Popular recognition

The need to forgive is widely recognized by the public, but they are often at a loss for ways to accomplish it. For example, in a large representative sampling of American people on various religious topics in 1988, the Gallup Organization found that 94% said it was important to forgive, but 85% said they needed some outside help to be able to forgive. However, not even regular prayer was found to be effective. Akin to forgiveness is mercy, so even if a person is not able to complete the forgiveness process he or she can still show mercy, especially when so many wrongs are done out of weakness rather than malice. The Gallup poll revealed that the only thing that was effective was "meditative prayer".

Forgiveness as a tool has been extensively used in restorative justice programs, after the abolition of apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission (South Africa), run for victims and perpetrators of Rwandan genocide, the violence in Israeli–Palestinian conflict, and Northern Ireland conflict, which has also been documented in film, Beyond Right and Wrong: Stories of Justice and Forgiveness (2012).


Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Deep Satisfaction Protecting Children From Abduction

This past week the I CARE Foundation had a busier week than usual trying to assist targeted parents prevent the abduction of their children.  In fact, Friday alone included three separate international parental child abduction prevention cases that we directly were involved in litigation with, and one case where we provided important counsel and advice.

None of these cases are easy. All of them however have two elements that keeps us focused on why we advocate the way we do: the innocence of children is worth protecting at all costs, and, when a war called international parental child abduction can be averted, we know first-hand that all parties involved will be spared significant casualties.

On a personal note, I am very pleased to have been able to help a wonderful parent and an incredible family yesterday who was gravely concerned about an abduction threat.  Seeing my  friend hold his children in his arms made all the personal sacrifice required this week well worth it. Words cannot express the joy I felt yesterday walking in my friend's home . . . with his children.

And should my friend who I accompanied yesterday ever read this, I want you to know how proud I am of you.

On a separate but relevant note, the first quarter of 2013 is shaping up to be a very busy one with respect to international parental child abduction prevention cases.  The I CARE Foundation's intake of prevention cases is at 40% of the 2012 case load: clearly more parents are acting in preemptive ways in order to stop an international kidnapping before it happens.  This is very important news as it may represent - I hope - that the number of reported abductions may drop again this year the way it declined in 2012 (A 15.3% decline in reported cases during 2012).

There is no question that the I CARE Foundation's along with other organizations' messages concerning international parental child abduction prevention is working. The number of reported kidnappings is dropping while the number of abduction prevention cases is increasing.

Step by step, we are making a difference.

Best regards to all,

Peter Thomas Senese

Author - Chasing The Cyclone

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Who Is Pope Francis? Read About The 266th Pontiff

Pope Francis Named 266th Pontiff

Just moments ago, Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio of Argentina, a Jesuit, was named Pope Francis of the Holy Roman Catholic Church. 
It took less than two days for the 115 Princes of the Church to elect the new Pope, who will now be known as Pope Frances.  The Pope is the son of an Italian railway worker who previously was the Archbishop of Buenos Aires.
Considered a progressive thinker of with a progressive outlook, Pope Francis offers a new day of hope for the christian world.
As a proud practicing Catholic, I pray that Pope Francis, the 266th pontiff, may lead our church toward a more transparent, open, connected, and loving church in Christ's name.
It was exactly at 8:10 pm Rome time that the white smoke ascended from St. Peter's Basilica, letting the world and its 1.2 billion practicing Catholics know that a descendant of Peter has been names. 
Jean Loui Cardinal Tauran first stepped outside the Vatican window overlooking St. Peter's Square, announcing to the world that a new pope has ascended.
Cardinal Francis became Pope Francis  the moment he accepted the election results and selected the name Francis.

He was then led to the Room of Tears where he was fitted with the appropriate vestments and given time to pray privately about the awesome responsibility of leading the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.

Pope XXX then returned to the Sistine Chapel where the other 114 cardinals each individually pledge their allegiance to him. After that, the cardinal deacon - Jean Louis Cardinal Tauran - stepped out onto the balcony first to announce "Habemus Papem!" -- We have a pope!

The 115 cardinals took five votes over two days to reach their decision, which required a two-thirds majority and came after a week of intense meetings. The cardinal conclave came on the heels of the surprising resignation of Pope Benedict XVI last month.
Pope Francis replaces Benedict XVI, whose surprise resignation last month prompted the cardinals to initiate a conclave, a Latin phrase meaning "with a key," to pick a new leader for the world's almost 1.2 billion Catholics.

In looking at the role of appointing a Cardinal from South America, it is clear that the 500 Million strong catholics from South and Central America have impacted the church.

Most of all, and on a personal note, May God look after Pope Francis and give him the insight to expand our church in accordance to HIS WILL.
For more information on His Holy Father, Pope Francis, please read below.

Pope Francis

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His Eminence Jorge Mario Bergoglio SJ
Cardinal-Archbishop of Buenos Aires
SeeBuenos Aires
Appointed3 June 1997 (Coadjutor)
Papacy began28 February 1998
PredecessorAntonio Quarracino
Other posts
Ordination13 December 1969
by Ramón José Castellano
Consecration27 June 1992
by Antonio Quarracino
Created Cardinal21 February 2001
Personal details
Birth nameJorge Mario Bergoglio
Born(1936-12-17) 17 December 1936 (age 76)
Buenos Aires, Argentina
DenominationRoman Catholic
Previous post
  • Auxiliary Bishop of Buenos Aires (1992 - 1997)
  • Titular Bishop of Auca (1992 - 1997)
Coat of arms
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, SJ (born December 17, 1936) is an Argentine cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He has served as the Archbishop of Buenos Aires since 1998. He was elevated to the cardinalate in 2001.



[edit] Early life

Jorge Bergoglio was born in Buenos Aires, one of the five children of an Italian railway worker and his wife. After studying at the seminary in Villa Devoto, he entered the Society of Jesus on March 11, 1958. Bergoglio obtained a licentiate in philosophy from the Colegio Máximo San José in San Miguel, and then taught literature and psychology at the Colegio de la Inmaculada in Santa Fe, and the Colegio del Salvador in Buenos Aires. He was ordained to the priesthood on December 13, 1969, by Archbishop Ramón José Castellano. He attended the Philosophical and Theological Faculty of San Miguel, a seminary in San Miguel. Bergoglio attained the position of novice master there and became professor of theology.
Impressed with his leadership skills, the Society of Jesus promoted Bergoglio and he served as provincial for Argentina from 1973 to 1979. He was transferred in 1980 to become the rector of the seminray in San Miguel where had had studied. He served in that capacity until 1986. He completed his doctoral dissertation in Germany and returned to his homeland to serve as confessor and spiritual director in Córdoba.
Styles of
Jorge Mario Bergoglio
Coat of arms of Jorge Mario Bergoglio.svg
Reference styleHis Eminence
Spoken styleYour Eminence
Informal styleCardinal
SeeBuenos Aires
Bergoglio succeeded Cardinal Quarracino on February 28, 1998. He was concurrently named ordinary for Eastern Catholics in Argentina, who lacked their own prelate. Pope John Paul II summoned the newly named archbishop to the consistory of February 21, 2001 in Vatican City and elevated Bergoglio with the papal honors of a cardinal. He was named to the Cardinal-Priest of Saint Robert Bellarmino.

[edit] Cardinal

Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio greets President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, December, 2007.
As cardinal, Bergoglio was appointed to several administrative positions in the Roman Curia. He served on the Congregation of Clergy, Congregation of Divine Worship and Sacraments, Congregation of Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Congregation of Societies of Apostolic Life. Bergoglio became a member of the Commission on Latin American and the Family Council.
As Cardinal, Bergoglio became known for personal humility, doctrinal conservatism and a commitment to social justice. A simple lifestyle has contributed to his reputation for humility. He lives in a small apartment, rather than in the palatial bishop's residence. He gave up his chauffeured limousine in favor of public transportation, and he reportedly cooks his own meals.
Upon the death of Pope John Paul II, Bergoglio, considered papabile himself, participated in the 2005 papal conclave as a cardinal elector, the conclave that selected Pope Benedict XVI. A widespread theory says that he was in a tight fight with Ratzinger until he himself adviced crying not to be voted.[1] Earlier, he had participated in the funeral of Pope John Paul II and acted as a regent alongside the College of Cardinals, governing the Holy See and the Roman Catholic Church during the interregnum sede vacante period. Cardinal Bergoglio remains eligible to participate in conclaves that begin before his 80th birthday on December 17, 2016.
During the 2005 Synod of Bishops, he was elected a member of the Post-Synodal council. Catholic journalist John L. Allen, Jr. reported that Bergoglio was a frontrunner in the 2005 Conclave. An unauthorized diary of uncertain authenticity released in September 2005[2] confirmed that Bergogolio was the runner-up and main challenger of Cardinal Ratzinger at that conclave. The purported diary of the anonymous cardinal claimed Bergoglio received 40 votes in the third ballot, but fell back to 26 at the fourth and decisive ballot.
On November 8, 2005, Bergoglio was elected President of the Argentine Episcopal Conference for a three-year term (2005–2008) by a large majority of the Argentine bishops, which according to reports confirms his local leadership and the international prestige earned by his alleged performance in the conclave. He was reelected on November 11, 2008.

[edit] Views

[edit] Liberation theology

Bergoglio is an accomplished theologian who distanced himself from liberation theology early in his career. He is thought to be close to Comunione e Liberazione, a conservative lay movement.

[edit] Abortion and euthanasia

Cardinal Bergoglio has invited his clergy and laity to oppose both abortion and euthanasia.[3]

[edit] Homosexuality

He has affirmed church teaching on homosexuality, though he teaches the importance of respecting individuals who are gay. He strongly opposed legislation introduced in 2010 by the Argentine Government to allow same-sex marriage. In a letter to the monasteries of Buenos Aires, he wrote: "Let's not be naive, we're not talking about a simple political battle; it is a destructive pretension against the plan of God. We are not talking about a mere bill, but rather a machination of the Father of Lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God." He has also insisted that adoption by gays and lesbians is a form of discrimination against children. This position received a rebuke from Argentine president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who said the church's tone was reminiscent of "medieval times and the Inquisition".[4]

[edit] Church and AIDS

His doctrinal orthodoxy emphasizes Christ's mandate to love: he is well remembered for his 2001 visit to a hospice, in which he washed and kissed the feet of twelve AIDS patients.

[edit] Social justice

He consistently preaches a message of compassion towards the poor, but somewho? observers would like him to place a greater emphasis on issues of social justice. Rather than articulating positions on matters of political economy, Bergoglio prefers to emphasize spirituality and holiness, believing that this will naturally lead to greater concern for the suffering of the poor. He has, however, voiced support for social programs, and publicly challenged free-market policies.

[edit] Relations with the Argentine government