A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Maybe This Year

Posted on: December 9, 2013

And maybe forgiveness will ask us to call

Someone we love, someone we’ve lost

For reasons we can’t quite recall

Maybe this Christmas

~ “Maybe This Christmas” by Ron Sexsmith

My husband’s family is close. Not only do they seem to get along well, but also most of the cousins on both sides live just a short drive from one another. It seems strange to me.

For one thing, as a military family, we didn’t always have relatives living close by. But mainly it’s because people in my family seem quick to stop speaking to one another. Sometimes it’s hard to keep track of which relatives are on the outs and whether it’s all right to share news with certain family members.

It saddens me that my relatives can’t be part of one another’s lives, the more so as they get older and their health isn’t what it was, and as the holidays come and another year draws to a close with no reconciliation in sight.

But I think we can be inspired by the example of people like Nelson Mandela, who encouraged forgiveness and reconciliation among the people of his country, and take some advice from this quote by G. K. Chesterton, which appeared in the calendar in November’s issue of Catholic Digest:

Love means to love that which is unlovable, or it is no virtue at all; forgiving means to pardon that which is unpardonable, or it is no virtue at all.

With parish reconciliation services being held during Advent, we have the opportunity to ask God’s forgiveness for our failure to forgive others. We can pray for healing and restored family ties. And maybe this is the year we ask someone to forgive us or try mending fences with a phone call, a message on Facebook, a Christmas card. What a gift for that person—and for us.

For those of us with estrangements in our families, I pray that this would be the time we’d ask for and extend forgiveness, whether or not it’s the first time we’ve reached out.

Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.”

~ Matthew 18:21-22*

(*Scripture quote taken from the Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition.)

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Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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