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Two acclaimed filmmakers open this issue of Parabola: Martin Scorsese, director of Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Casino, Kundun, Silence, and other masterpieces including this Fall’s offering, The Irishman; and Kent Jones, creator of this year’s Diane and director of the New York Film Festival. Scorsese writes of forgiveness; Jones discusses how forgiveness informs and illuminates Scorsese’s movies.

What stands out in both men’s essays and in their art is an understanding that we each exist in a web of meaningful relationship; that what we do matters, that we each have a responsibility to others and to the world. This critical point is explored further in the issue’s next essay, by Sufi master Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, who details his evolution toward spiritual activism.

That activism—taking responsible action toward a noble aim—finds no more fertile ground than in the practice of mercy and forgiveness. “Forgive us our debts,” Jesus taught, “as we forgive our debtors.” He also taught that the Kingdom of God is within; and so it follows that we should practice mercy and forgiveness not only toward others but toward ourselves as well. As Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu points out in this issue, failure to forgive “locks you in a state of victimhood,” and when you forgive “you are no longer chained to the perpetrator.”

These ideas are explored throughout the issue in entries ranging from Mirabai Starr on the art of mercy to Seane Corn on forgiving the unforgiveable; from a meditation on why whales forgive us their slaughter to the story of an Israeli woman forsaking vengeance for her son’s murder; from a consideration by Pope John Paul II of the Parable of the Prodigal Son to a remarkable gallery of paintings celebrating the merciful Heart Sutra, and much more.

May this Fall 2019 issue of Parabola benefit us all in our search for peace and understanding, for mercy and forgiveness.

—Jeff Zaleski

Cover Description: The Good Samaritan (after Delacroix — detail). Vincent van Gogh, 1890. Oil on canvas. Kröller-Müller Museum. Otterlo, Netherlands

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VOL. 44:3 Mercy & Forgiveness THUMBNAIL
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