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For Your Marriage

“Marriage And Mercy” Retreat Day Seven: Forgiveness In The Family

Quote for reflection:
“One cannot live without seeking forgiveness, or at least, one cannot live at peace, especially in the family. We wrong one another every day. We must take into account these mistakes, due to our frailty and our selfishness. However, what we are asked to do is to promptly heal the wounds that we cause, to immediately reweave the bonds that break within the family.” – Pope Francis, Wednesday Audience (11.4.15)

Breaking open the theme:
Do Pope Francis’ words ring true to you? “We wrong one another every day.” We are frail and selfish. Unfortunately, sin affects all of us and all of our relationships. The communion of persons in marriage and the family is a sign of God’s love, so division and strife strike at its very meaning and mission. However, the realization that we fail our family members, perhaps even daily, is not a cause for despair. It is an invitation to receive God’s mercy and to offer that mercy to our loved ones – “immediately,” says Pope Francis!

Real-life example:
After a long day of work, both Samuel and Angela felt tired and out of sorts. When they realized that neither of them had thought to make babysitting arrangements for the following travel weekend, the incriminations started. Ten minutes later, they both felt even worse and now misunderstood and blamed. “Is this what marriage is supposed to be like?” thought Angela to herself. Samuel was about to storm out of the room with an angry word when he stopped and checked himself. He had been trying to get into the habit of offering forgiveness quickly, before a situation escalated. “I’m sorry, honey,” he said. “Look – let’s get some dinner and wind down, and then figure something out.” The words were welcome and healing to Angela, and she too was grateful for an about-face that prevented the couple from another dead-end argument.

Put it into practice:

  1. Pray: Ask the Lord’s healing for situations in your marriage and family that aren’t peaceful.
  2. Reflect: What areas of selfishness do you struggle with the most? How do they affect your spouse?
  3. Do: Don’t hesitate to speak healing words into a tense situation as soon as possible: “I love you,” “I forgive you,” “I’m sorry.” These can defuse tension and re-focus the conversation.

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.

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