Seventy Times Seven

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With every thought, tantrum, or trigger — Jesus encourages us to do it one more time, forgive! No, the offense is no more pleasant than Day 1. A simple reminder that you have forgiven him or her is all it takes. Whatever your forgiveness journey looks like, God, who is Alpha and Omega, is with you from beginning to end. Hand over the counter to God and direct the ledger towards yourself, not the one who hurt you.

God forbid. Likewise, we are not called to count and ration our forgiveness. But, in the same manner in which God forgives us — numerous times and for much greater offenses — we forgive one another Ephesians Lifestyle Bible Study to GO! Friday, Sep 27th. Is yours a merciful, forgiving heart? Is yours a giving heart, especially to those close to you, rather than a critical or judging heart? These people encourage us to be tolerant of diverse lifestyles and tempt us to make tolerance the basis of relationships rather than forgiveness.

Ever keep in exercise the principle of mercy, and be ready to forgive our brother on the first intimations of repentance, and asking forgiveness; and should we even forgive our brother, or even our enemy, before he repent or ask forgiveness, our heavenly Father would be equally merciful unto us. The nearer we get to our heavenly Father, the more we are disposed to look with compassion on perishing souls; we feel that we want to take them upon our shoulders, and cast their sins behind our backs.

If you would have God have mercy on you, have mercy on one another. What does forgiveness mean? Does forgiving mean that we forget the offense? In fact, it may be that our beliefs about forgetting sometimes get in the way of forgiving. Daniel Wegner, a psychologist, has conducted research on persistent thought. He had undergraduate students imagine a white bear. Then he told them to try not to think about the white bear. Each time they thought of the white bear, they were to ring a bell. The more students tried not to think about the bear, the more they rang the bell see Wegner, D. Have you tried to put some unwanted event out of your mind, only to find that your thoughts were even more filled with the event?

It is possible that over time our memory of a hurtful event may fade, but it is not necessary for us to lose our memory of an event to transform our hearts to forgiveness.

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But forgiveness means that we are able to put the offense in broad perspective with the rest of our life. Certainly all of us are much more than simply someone who has been hurt. There are many more events in our lives than hurtful ones.

When we become forgiving, we are not obsessed with thinking about the offense all the time. Yes, we can remember it, but we are not obsessed with it, and it does not consume our emotional energy. Thoughts and feelings about it do not distract us from doing other important things.

It means we do not spend time harboring fantasies of revenge, wishing another would suffer as much as we have. It means that we escape from becoming a cynic about the world and our relationships. It means that we become less focused on blame and judgment and more focused on transforming our own heart. Forgiveness means that we develop a mature understanding of what happened and leave punishment and judgment to a wise Heavenly Father.

Is forgiving more for the other person or for ourselves? Developing a forgiving heart will do far more for you than it ever will for the person who has hurt you. It is a gift you give yourself. Are we required to forgive even mean, bad people who may never repent and may never come asking for forgiveness from us? Are we required to forgive even those who have knowingly sinned and in the process wounded our heart, our very soul? What if a person who has wronged me never comes to beg? If forgiving is more a gift we give ourselves rather than for the other person, the answer is yes, we are required to do all of this—for ourselves if for no one else.

It is impossible for family members to live together without occasionally hurting each other. During our married life I have given my wife numerous opportunities to develop forgiveness. I have given so many opportunities that she has an enlarged heart, one crammed full of forgiving. I have seen the results of unmerciful hearts in my clinical practice.

Oh, if we would learn to be the first to seek forgiveness with our marriage partner! It is easier to blame and judge than it is to work on major heart surgery. We often think the responsibility for such healing rests with the other person. He holds my heart in his hands, she says, and until he apologizes or pays for what he has done, I cannot free my heart from his grip. Is your heart captive in such a way to someone else? I determined early in our married life to use apology liberally, and my heart has thrived because of my decision. Through a forgiving temperament you make the Atonement a daily, even hourly, commitment in your relationships.

Your own forgiven-ness permits you to forgive.

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said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. New International Version Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. New Living Translation “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied .

I have seen divorced persons struggle to get balance in their minds and hearts. They often find thoughts of bitterness and unforgiving occupying too much space in their minds. The anger and blame have pressed themselves into every crevice of their hearts, leaving little room for more healing feelings. I have seen adult children who find that their pain, a consequence of imperfect parents, takes over their lives.

Of course parents are imperfect, even when they try to do their best. This last year my teenage daughter registered for several AP and honors courses. At the end of a particularly difficult term, as she faced finals week and was under maximum stress, I asked one morning what I could do to help her.

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She replied that she needed to finish a sculpture, a covered bowl in the shape of a turtle, later after school. I could help by soaking the turtle in water so that the clay would be more pliable when she came home from school. She left for school, and I proceeded to unwrap the turtle dish.

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I filled the sink with water and submerged the turtle. My daughter had told me to let it soak for a few minutes. I determined that 10 minutes would be good and went about other business. I lost track of time, eventually realized my error, and returned to the bathroom sink. I reached into the water with both hands, and, as I removed them, the shapeless turtle dripped through my fingers and disappeared back into the water. In wanting to help, I had made things far worse. How would I explain this when my daughter came home?

Would this be one of those events that would damage her for life? Would she look back on her high school years and remember nothing but how her father murdered the clay turtle by drowning it in the sink? You see, I believe our greatest fear as parents is that our children might in some way be like us.

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About Johann Christoph Arnold. Zachary Zimmerman rated it really liked it Apr 22, Matthew NASB In the parable we are told that the king had a number of debtors who owed him money. Do you remember what Jesus did while on that cross? Keep track of everything you watch; tell your friends. And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt.

When my daughter arrived home from school, I was anxiously waiting. I had practiced many speeches in my mind. Some of them were more filled with admissions of responsibility than others. I started by telling her that I had something awful to tell her. Early in our married life my young family and I were laboring through graduate school at a university in New England. Pat was the Relief Society president in our ward, and I was serving in our stake presidency. I was going to school full-time and teaching half-time. We had two small children then, with little money and lots of pressures.

One evening I came home from long hours at school, feeling the proverbial weight of the world on my shoulders. Everything seemed to be especially demanding and discouraging and dark. I wondered if the dawn would ever come. Then, as I walked into our small student apartment, there was an unusual silence in the room. A childish indiscretion had been noted, a painful confession had been offered, the growth of a five-year-old was continuing, and loving reconciliation could have been wonderfully underway.

Everything might have been just terrific—except for me.


If you can imagine such an idiotic thing, I lost my temper. He got the whole load of bricks. I told him how disappointed I was and how much more I thought I could have expected from him. I sounded like the parental pygmy I was. Then I did what I had never done before in his life: I told him that he was to go straight to bed and that I would not be in to say his prayers with him or to tell him a bedtime story. Muffling his sobs, he obediently went to his bedside, where he knelt—alone—to say his prayers.


Then he stained his little pillow with tears his father should have been wiping away. If you think the silence upon my arrival was heavy, you should have felt it now. Pat did not say a word. I felt terrible! Later, as we knelt by our own bed, my feeble prayer for blessings upon my family fell back on my ears with a horrible, hollow ring. I wanted to get up off my knees right then and go to Matt and ask his forgiveness, but he was long since peacefully asleep.

My own relief was not so soon coming, but finally I fell asleep and began to dream, which I seldom do. I dreamed Matt and I were packing two cars for a move. For some reason his mother and baby sister were not present. This five-year-old very obediently crawled up on the seat and tried to grasp the massive steering wheel. I walked over to the other car and started the motor. Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review. Read reviews that mention seventy times times seven salvatore sapienza catholic church final vows salvatore sapienza service center aids service main character look forward brother victor live life openly gay life and love novel seventy author salvatore character is vito religious young struggle.

Seventy Times Seven

Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Format: Paperback Verified Purchase. So much of this story is right on: the tension of trying to be a spiritually-grounded person in a world that spins more and more toward the anything-goes principle. Also, the difficulty of trying to be celibate when the attractions of sex are all around and more accessible than ever.

And how to reconcile happily a burgeoning gay sexuality with the call permanent or temporary to a religious community where the vow of chastity is taken seriously. The fact that the action takes place in the late eighties makes the struggle even more poignant. I think Sapienza's ideas about Brother Vito are reflective of what many young religious go through as they struggle to live up to their aspirations while acclimating to a growing self awareness that, inevitably, must lead to a fuller, healthier embrace of their sexuality, whether straight or gay.

Many nuns and monks do this well and thrive in their religious identities.

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Others, especially those who identify as gay, sometimes have a harder time because of the church's positions, the traditional temperaments of their community members, and the implied scandal to those they serve, if discovered. Actually, we lay folks are more open to this than the church hierarchy who would like to believe homosexuality is an "unnatural orientation".

In any case, the book portrays well the struggle of this young Brother. His world opens and he comes to see and accept himself in a healthy way, away from the strictures of his communal life. While I think some of the supporting characters could have been less stock or more fully portrayed, overall the experiences ring true.

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Mr Sapienza captures the broad span of men whose vocations have taken various forms and who have learned to live - healthily or otherwise - with their gayness. Brother Vito makes a good choice for himself and we learn a lot from his struggles. Well worth the read. One person found this helpful. At a time when the debate about gay priests is still far from settled, first time author Salvatore Sapienza spins a timely story about a 27 year old gay man who is also a member of the Catholic clergy, but as a brother teaching religion in a Queens NY high school.

Brother Victor Fortunato has some doubts as to whether his vocation can coexist with his nonsecular life, in which he still enjoys partying at gay bars with his friends. Openly gay since he was a teenager, Vito has been honest with his superior in the Divinity Brothers about his orientation, who has tried to convince Vito that, even though he has not technically violated his vows, his chosen nonsecular activities are bound to be hurting his ability to commit himself entirely to his vocation.

Vito doesn't see it that way, enjoys teaching and serving God, and doesn't want to lose either aspect of his life, although he suspects that his superior may be correct. Vito looks forward to that summer, when a volunteer assignment at an AIDS service center in San Francisco would provide a change of scenery and a time to put his life in perspective, before taking his final vows that fall. Everything he sees and hears, everyone he meets including a lesbian former nun tells Vito to "live life" but don't clarify his vision of what that life should be. But after he meets Gabe, a recently divorced man who is also volunteering at the AIDS center that summer, the picture starts to come into focus.

A remarkably intelligent, poignant, sexy, amusing, romantic and entertaining tale for all, which also brilliantly illustrates and analyzes some of the dilemmas facing the Catholic Church and religions in general trying to be relevant and supportive in today's world!

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Not surprisingly, the book is at least semi-autobiographical, as the author is a former Marist teaching brother at a Queens high school, who left the order and currently runs a gay bed-and-breakfast in Saugatuck MI with his lover. The book may have hit me on a personal level as well, as I am the product of twelve years of Catholic education, including the last four at a Marist-run high school, although my tenure was a good decade before the author's time.

But I see the book's appeal as pretty much universal, and recommend it highly. It is a rare day when I give a book five stars. Why this book? For several reasons. First of all, the author, Salvatore Sapienza, is able to craft a readable story, and by readable I mean a story that unfolds with a certain pleasing ease and believability.

The mark of a successful writer is the ability to make the reader forget they are reading fiction. I kept finding myself assuming the main character, Vito, was a proxy upon whom the author had projected his own struggle with integrating faith into an otherwise fractured life. Secondly, although the author is no Donald Windham or Alexander Chee neither of who by the way, received five stars from this reviewer , it is of no matter provided the message is important.

Which brings us to the reason for five stars: There is a dearth of authorship offering readers a chance to see that Jesus is perfectly relevant in contemporary individual lives, especially GLBTQ lives.