Forgiveness. Been there, done that. I wondered where Genevieve Kineke would take this ‘old, old story’ in her new book, Set Free. She surprised me! Set Free is a comprehensive treatment of the work of forgiveness – focusing on the special role of women in giving this gift to a hurting world. From a practical, step-by-step method, to anecdotes that illuminate and inspire, Set Free covers a lot of ground in a voice at once authoritative and gently maternal.
I found myself saying, “YES!” as Kineke treated one sticky wicket after another: Should you forget what you forgive? Can you forgive yourself? How do you know you’ve forgiven? These, and many more, real-life difficulties in our understanding and practice of forgiveness are handled with great clarity. We need the theological basis for this work. We need stories from the lives of contemporary men and women. We need to see the expanding circles of effects that both wounding and forgiveness bring about. We need advice that is truly Catholic and not counsel that merely makes us feel better. Set Free
gives all this in the context of a wise woman’s admonition that forgiveness is a work of the highest urgency, and one that begins within each woman’s heart.
Though this book should be required reading for spiritual directors, I particularly appreciated the author’s awareness that much more counsel about forgiveness will naturally occur within conversations between friends and within the family. Set Free will help anyone be a better friend and parent, framing the work of forgiveness as a great gift to be given, and as a vehicle of deeply healing grace.
Just as I came to post this recommendation, I noticed that an award-winning, ex-Catholic author has set up an old confessional in her bookstore which, she says, exudes forgiveness! Pardon me for suspecting that the Church’s ‘reality show’ trumps this sort of fantasy. Get Set Free and start freeing yourself and the people around you, REALLY!