Welcome this month of September 2015
Pope Francis has declared that 2015 should be considered the Year of the Family. There will be a special synod on the family in Rome in October as well as meetings in the United States in September.
For each of us, this declaration can offer an opportunity to make improvements within our own families. After all, a change in the world has to begin within each of our own households. We cannot expect to pray for world peace if there is no peace within our own hearts. We have no peace in our individual families if we are struggling to forgive someone who has hurt us, like a brother or sister, a mother or father, or someone else close to us in our own neighbourhood. Remember how Jesus spoke about forgiveness and said we have to be willing to forgive not just seven times, but seven times seventy. That means we have to forgive one another often.
When we are angry and hold a grudge, it is within our own hearts that there is suffering, sadness and bitterness. The person we are upset with is not feeling all these emotions; we are doing that all by ourselves. So we help ourselves first by letting go of negative feelings and giving these troubles to God the Father, and His Son Jesus. They will take them from us and heal the pain inside our hearts.
Then when we encounter that person who wronged us we do not have a heavy heart. Instead, we can look at them and believe that they deserve another chance. No words need be said. Your relationship can improve through God's grace and your open heart. This is especially true for married couples. Happiness can return with a simple smile and one "I am sorry."
The family is a special haven where we can feel protected, loved and even cherished. In our church community, we can find this same compassion at times when we need it the most. How blessed we are when we are believers, and we practise our faith through regular attendance at a place of worship.
No matter what the circumstances of life that we will have to face, we know we will always find comfort from the family of God.
Joan Levy Earle.