Book: Lebanon Bound To Forgive: The Pilgrimage to Reconciliation of a Beirut Hostage
Author: Lawrence Martin Jenco, O.S.M.
Ave Maria Press, Notre Dame, IN, 1995
For eight years, from 1984 to 1991, more than a dozen men shared in various combinations a series of tiny, often dark and filthy cells in Lebanon. A decade later, most of the survivors have written books about that experience (including myself).
Nearly the same things happened to each of us, often at the same time and in the same place. Yet each of those accounts is very different. Not just different in the sense that our perceptions of what was happening to and around us were not the same, or are different in their essence. “Each of us had to reach inside himself to find that which was necessary to survive,” Brian Keenan told me in a conversation after we were all home and free.
The accounts, therefore, are more about ourselves than about the experiences we shared. As we were different men, so are they different.
This book is a true account of my friend and brother, Lawrence Martin Jenco. He is not a saint, not quite. The occasional sharp edge of his very human tongue, which as the only Catholic member of the Church of the Locked Door, I felt from time to time, is here. So are the doubts and fears we shared for so long.
But mainly his account is filled with gentleness, as he is. The love for others hat spills from him flows also from these pages. Most of all, his faith in a kind and loving God shines brilliantly, as it does always in his presence.
Father Jenco has taught me many things about myself, about forgiveness and humility, about how love for God demands that we love our bothers, even those who believe themselves our enemy.
In this book, he continues the lesson.
Table of Contents:
1. Listen the Children
2. Mistaken Identity
3. Somewhere Over the Rainbow
4. Love Reigns Invisibly
5. Pilgrimages in Time and Mind
6. Trust in the Lord
7. Sweet Togetherness
8. Learning to Fogive
9. Seeing Christ in One Another
10. Sighs Too Deep for Words
11. A Cross to Live
12. Free and Yet Not Free
Two Excerpts from the Epilog:
I. God’s gift of priesthood and the irrevocable call to servanthood have taken me to many peoples: American, Indian, Australian, Aborigine, Mexican, Yemeni, Thai, Khmer, Vietnamese, Hmong, Laotians. To many places, to many cultures, to many religions --- Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Christian.
The Lord Jesus gifted us with the sacraments of Eucharist and priesthood on the evening of his death. I believe that one should not separate these sacraments from his command to be, as he was, a servant, a towel and basin person, a man for others.
II. Some people advise me to forgive and forget. They do not realize that this is almost impossible. Jesus, the wounded healer, asks us to forgive, but he does not ask us to forget. That would be amnesia. He does demand we heal our memories.
I don’t believe that forgetting is one of the signs of forgiveness. I forgive, but I remember. I do not forget the pain, the loneliness, the ache, the terrible injustice. But I do not remember it to inflict guilt or some future retribution. Having forgiven, I am liberated. I need no longer be determined by the past. I move into the future free to imagine new possibilities.
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