“Marriage And Mercy” Retreat Day Five: Mercy And Patience
Quote for reflection:
“Brothers and sisters, God’s face is the face of a merciful father who is always patient. Have you thought about God’s patience, the patience He has with each one of us? That is His mercy. He always has patience, patience with us, He understands us, He waits for us, He does not tire of forgiving us if we are able to return to Him with a contrite heart.” – Pope Francis, Angelus (3.17.13)
Breaking open the theme:
Have you thought about God’s patience, like the pope asks? Think of all the times in the Old Testament when the Lord gave the Israelites another chance after they sinned. Think of Jesus’ words that we should forgive others “not seven times but seventy-seven times” (Matt 18:22). Even now, there is no point during our life when it is “too late” for God to forgive us. We shouldn’t put off asking God’s forgiveness, but neither should we fear that he will grow tired of our pleas for mercy. This same patience should be shown to our family members, too.*
*This does not mean that spouses or children should endure domestic violence. If you or someone you know is in danger in their home, please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233.
For Kathy, one of the biggest challenges in her marriage was forgiving her husband of forty-two years, Dave, when he did the same inconsiderate thing, again. “Why can this man not learn?” she would grumble to herself. At the same time, she knew that she, too, struggled with the same selfish tendencies now as when they were newlyweds, and Dave time and again offered his forgiveness to her. In other words, a good dose of humility and self-knowledge helped Kathy realize that Dave was in fact trying and that her willingness to forgive (seventy times seven did not seem far-fetched for one lifetime!) made their marriage ever-stronger.
Put it into practice:
- Pray: Ask the Lord for patience like his, especially for the daily opportunities to forgive your spouse.
- Reflect: Is there anything you are holding back confessing to God, or to your spouse, because you’re not sure if they will forgive you?
- Do: Thank your spouse for the forgiveness he or she offers you.
Prayer for married couples:
Almighty and eternal God,
You blessed the union of husband and wife
So that we might reflect the union of Christ with his Church:
look with kindness on us.
Renew our marriage covenant.
Increase your love in us,
and strengthen our bond of peace
so that, [with our children],
we may always rejoice in the gift of your blessing.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.